I’d like to declare July as “Butter Is a Vegetable” month. We live in an era where our food is being legislated against, so before anyone takes away my freedom to eat as much goddam butter as I want, I’d like to make sure it’s defined clearly, and in a way that makes it difficult for the Supreme Court to shut down or California to outlaw (“Will you look at the awful way they’re treating that cream! They’re churning it to death! No more butter! No more butter!”). Thus my campaign to define butter as the vegetable it is. Dan Barber recently wrote in an excellent Wall Street Journal opinion piece that even vegetables take their toll on the earth, drawing up valuable nutrients that they store and give to us, the eaters  (“there is no Read On »

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Dear Mr. Ruhlman, the email read.  It was the very first one waiting for me this morning. And glancing quickly down and seeing a single word, my stomach turned. I have been a fan since Ratio, the writer continued. It is my first stop on the cookbook train. I got Ruhlman’s Twenty for a gift and was over the moon, have read it cover to cover. And what’s more I have tried several of the recipes with success. But seriously, the Snickerdoodles? One of the best cookies of all time and got my kids all worked up into a lather to make some tonight . . . but I have to say, yuck. Sugar bomb! We doubled the recipe because you can never have enough Snickerdoodles . . . 3 cups of sugar to 2 cups Read On »

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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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When your computer crashes, you find out just how precarious your life is without technology. None of yesterday’s work was backed up, so that’s what’s going on here! Today will be spent trying to restore what I can. Life will be normal again, I suppose, soon but not now. Thank goodness for good partners (viz Donna), wonderful assistants (thank you, Emilia!), and easy staple meals that you can count on, meals that are a breeze to prepare and a comfort to eat at the end of a frustrating day.   The following is a weekly staple dinner in the Ruhlman household, a simple beef stir-fry, published in Ruhlman’s Twenty, which happily just won both a James Beard award and an IACP award.   Wishing all a productive day and good food throughout (and don’t forget to back Read On »

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Twenty wins the James Beard Award, via San Francisco Chronicle!

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