Just a quick reminder that I sign and personalize all my books on request. Just go to my books page, scroll to what you want, and click the "Buy a signed copy" button. We can guarantee before-Xmas arrival only if you order by the end of the day Monday, December 16. In the spirit of the holidays, and because I hate shipping charges, I am now offering FREE SHIPPING. But please, and this is really important, tell me who you want the book signed to by clicking the WHAT THE NOTE INCLUDED SHOULD SAY button before you hit the "pay now" button.
Also, I'd like to GIVE AWAY a signed copy of Ruhlman's Twenty AND The Book of Schmaltz to the first person who can guess my favorite 5-digit number. [Update: The winner was Melissa Fujimoto, of Burbank, CA, congrats!]
Just kidding. To enter the giveaway, leave who you want the books signed to in the comments below and a working email so I can contact you for your address. U.S. only, sorry. :^(
Winner will be chosen via Randomizer tomorrow, after I post my picks for new books of the season.
For today, my books. The book closest to my heart is Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, a Cook's Manifesto. All you really need to know to cook basically everything is twenty fundamentals. This is a book for people who want to feel more comfortable in the kitchen, understand how and why cooking works, inside the hood as it were (recipes are the body and trim, techniques are the engine). It's also a book for those who like or need to cook and want to cook better. My wife Donna did all the photography and the food is not styled but shot as I made it so you can see what food can look like when you know the basics. I dislike over-stylized food photography that makes home cooks feel like failures because "that's not how it looked in the magazine." That weekday coq au vin on page 52: our dinner! Ditto the lamb shank. That angel food cake? I couldn't eat it because the kids got to it first!
My latest book, the short and short-subject book is The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat is also one I'm really proud of.
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 simplify the work of cooking, because it is work, but it's really, really important that we cook our own food. Our future in many ways depends on it.
My most beloved culinary 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.
And last but not least, a great stocking stuffer, 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. I wrote this because I wanted to. I mean, how did this all happen, and why? It's important that we stop every now and then and answer these questions.