I would of course be remiss in the eyes of my venerable publishers if I did not recommend my own books as being splendid gift ideas for the holidays. So herewith my not-so-humble descriptions of some of the books I’m most proud of.
My favorite and most useful cookbook, especially for young cooks, home cooks who want to get better, or parents who want to help teach their kids to cook, is Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook’s Manifesto. It identifies the twenty fundamental ideas, foods, and techniques required to cook just about anything. It won a James Beard Award in the general cooking category when it came out.
The egg is a miracle of nutrition, economy, deliciousness, and utility. There may be no more valuable food to the cook. So I wrote a book exploring its many uses: Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient. Its publisher, Little, Brown, also created a killer iBook to bring to life the innovative egg chart (which Ferran Adrià called “ingenious”) included in the hardcover version.
Little, Brown also publishes my short how-to books, focusing on technique, because technique is what cooking is all about. The first was Ruhlman’s How to Roast: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes for the Home Cook. Last spring How to Braise came out, and next spring you can look out for How to Sauté.
I’m glad to say that on its 10th anniversary, our book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting Smoking and Curing is still considered “the bible” on the subject by chefs around the country. If you want more, my co-author, Brian Polcyn, wrote a second book called Salumi, all about dry-curing meats. I’m told that these are also some of the most stolen cookbooks in America.
Hanukkah has begun, so how about cooking some latkes in rendered chicken fat with onions? Check out The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat.
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking and The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen also strive to clarify and simplify the work of cooking.
For simply reading about the life and work of the chef: My most popular nonfiction seems to be The Soul of a Chef: The Pursuit of Perfection, closely followed by The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, followed by The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooking in the Age of Celebrity, each book about differing aspects of the endlessly fascinating, brutal, elegant, metaphor-for-life professional kitchen.
Also, I’m very proud to have published this fall my first fiction, In Short Measures: Three Novellas, each story about love and marriage in middle age, and of youthful love and lost love. Sorry, no food here, just love stories.
And, last but not least, a great stocking-stuffer is my essay-long memoir on How I Became a Food Writer Without Ever Wanting to Be One, a Kindle Single called The Main Dish, readable on any device via the Kindle app, including iPads and laptops.
Or, just go to my books page and browse—there are other nonfood, nonfiction books as well. Sadly, due to travel, I’m unable to fulfill requests for signed copies right now.
Thank you for indulging me here, but if I don’t sell these books, I don’t get to write them any more! Happy shopping, everyone!
The shopping links for the week: