Well, they do and they don’t. Ruhlman’s Twenty surprised me by winning both an IACP award and a James Beard award this spring. The book’s editor, before the Beard ceremony, wrote, “The book is just unusual enough to break through all the other more standard cookbooks.” True, it is unique, a book organized by techniques rather than by types of dishes. I thought this was a liability in the awards department. Ratio was a completely original book, a book like no other, and was nominated for nothing. The French Laundry Cookbook I thought was truly unique, with its broad mix of story, Thomas Keller’s trajectory, but also the stories of his purveyors, its discussion of critical elements of his cooking (beurre monté, special tools such as the chinois and the tamis, butter poaching lobster), Deborah Jones’s exquisite photography, Read On »

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