Chicken that has been given an aggressive salting before roasting. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman


My new book, How to Roast, may have begun in Portland when a fellow scribe claimed that people no longer had time to cook and I called bullshit. And then at some point during my rant-cum-roast-chicken recipe I noted possible activities to while away the hour that the bird was in the oven. That was the beginning of this new book.

But it was fueled by my conviction that the world doesn’t need more recipes, it needs deeper understanding of the fundamental techniques. Because when you know technique, you don’t need to rely on recipes and you don’t find yourself at 5 pm with hungry kids thinking, now what am I going to do?


How to Roast is the first in a series of technique-based books. They’re short. They include only 25 recipes or so. Because we don’t need recipe tomes. There are too many out there already. We’re awash in recipes. We are not awash in technique. Techniques are not water. Techniques are cinder blocks we step on to reach higher. And there aren’t a thousand. There aren’t even a hundred. I would argue that there are in fact twenty. When you know a technique, you know a hundred recipes. And the more you use that technique and refine that technique, you soon know a thousand recipes.

When you know a technique, cooking is a little easier and a little more fun, and if you don’t happen to like cooking that much, and you know a technique, you can think about something else while you make your kids dinner.

Cooking our own food is really important. And if you plan ahead, and know a few techniques, it’s easy, and even fun.

Here’s my recipe for roast chicken: scroll down to The World’s Most Difficult Roasted Chicken Recipe.

Happy cooking all, and thank you Little, Brown for this publication!


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© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.