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on April 24, 2015
This book is life-changing. My husband said I'm being hyperbolic by saying that, but it's true. When we got married, he was capable of making instant mashed potatoes (blech), Hamburger Helper (Lord, help us all), and frozen pizza. Fast forward 6-7 years--he ordered this cook book after hearing about it on NPR. I started coming home from my shifts at the hospital to savory soufflés, the most perfect pulled pork, fish tacos with fresh salsa, french onion soup, and on and on. He is a science guy and has enjoyed reading WHY certain cooking methods are used. I'm happy to have good food to eat and to see him explore a new hobby he enjoys so much. We rarely eat out anymore because we always have such good food at home.

It really has changed our lives, including both how we eat and how we survive as parents of young children. Sometimes we feed the kids early, then put them to bed so we can have a glass of wine, cook together, and catch up with each other. Ruhlman described near the Bacon Arugula Salad recipe how cooking together strengthens relationships, and I have to agree. I love the nights we stay in and try a new recipe or revisit a favorite one.

There are still some recipes that we haven't tried in the book, but others we use weekly or seasonally. Some of them are a little more involved (fried chicken and pan fried pork chops which both require brining), while other things we've picked up from that book are so simple yet so profound. Like how to scramble eggs. It's just a small change or two, but the result is astounding. Roast chicken. Who knew it could be so easy to cook a chicken and then come up with a delicious pan sauce for that chicken? We make it weekly. The coq au vin is "my" recipe that I like making, and while it feels fancy, it's actually quite simple and doesn't create a ton of dishes for me to clean up after. That is a WIN in my book.

The ONLY thing I haven't been extremely impressed with are some of the baking recipes. Cakes, cookies, etc. I've only tried a few of the recipes, and while they aren't bad, I prefer to find those types of recipes elsewhere.
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on January 4, 2017
This is a book about how cooking works without content overload and with fun recipes that demonstrate what Ruhlman calls a technique. I loved it from the beginning when the first technique taught me far more than I expected. I'm a serious self trained cook. I've been reading complex stuff by Harold McGee and fun books by Alton Brown with stops along the way for Thomas Keller to Julia Child. It took Ruhlman to get me to look at mise en place from a dish's place in preparation to it's arrival at the table. His recipes that illustrate the technique focus on the technique and yield a satisfying dish.

I would recommend this to someone starting out and to someone who with years of experience.
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on April 13, 2013
Michael Ruhlman is a scientist in the kitchen who happens to know a thing or two about cooking. This book, Rhulman's Twenty, was recommended to me by friends who know about my passion for cooking and whose opinions I respect. I knew immediately that I would love this book when I read the chapter on Salt, my favorite seasoning. I have no appreciation nor respect for a cook who proclaims to never use salt in their food as pretention about their understanding of nutrition. Salt is essential to our health and Ruhlman makes clear the importance of this ingredient in the cooking process, and explains how to use it to perfection. My next clue about the relevance of this book to my culinary understanding and enjoyment was the recipe for Peppercorn and Cognac Cream Sauce, my absolute favorite of all meat sauces. I learned to make this sauce early in my culinary explorations, but I had never considered the addition of a bit of fresh thyme leaves to elevate the flavor. Superb! There are many how-to cookbooks on the market, many of them more than credible. But, for ease of reference, understanding process, developing technique and great recipes, this one scores a 10. This is the kind of cookbook you want handy for answering many cooking questions or to share as a perfect gift to the novice cook who is serious about good food. Perhaps you or they will never prepare their own homemade bacon, but they will certainly appreciate a recipe for Weeknight Coq au Vin, or Perfect Meatloaf with Chipotle Ketchup. Anyone will benefit from knowing Ruhlman's Twenty when venturing into the kitchen to prepare the next meal to impress. This one is a keeper.
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on July 23, 2017
Much information and look forward doing some of the recipes. In the grilling section I can only disgaree with one thing. The author talks about sear first, finish on indirect after. The best way is indirect cook first, the sear - especially with beef (Prime rib, NY, Ribeye, Tenderloin, etc). FWIW: Skirt steak should be down direct heat only. Other than that I recommend this book to those interested in learning the technique and art of cooking, Bravo!
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on May 17, 2015
This book was an unexpected delight. First let me say that I don't devote a lot of time to cooking, nor am I a fancy chef. I do try to eat well (real food) but often make a batch of something and eat it all week. The book was offered on BookBub and on a whim I downloaded it on my Kindle Fire. As I read through the recipes, I figured it might be better in book form. (Later, out of curiosity I checked it out from the library to make the comparison. It's a big heavy book.) Surprisingly, I loved it on the Kindle, somehow it seemed more intimate. Of course when it comes time to cook, the book version is the better choice.

Ruhlman presents his food "science" in a well written and down to earth manner. In the end, in the vein of "you make me want to be a better man", he has inspired me to try new things, and to marvel at and enjoy the wonder that is cooking. I'm reading it again . . .

(The Pepper Soup, made the second time with a few tweaks since I don't have a fancy blender (roasted, peeled and marinated the peppers first), is wonderful and a definite "keeper". I look forward to trying more of the recipes.)
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Enthusiast: Cookingon April 4, 2015
I've been a dedicated home cook for a long time now, but this book was still a revelation to me. I wish I had had access to this 30 years ago, when I first started to cook. I plan to buy more of these to give to friends who also love dabbling in the kitchen.

By the way, even if you don't think you need to learn anything about the 20 techniques, the 100 recipes in this book are worth the price of admission. I've made about 10 of them now, and I can't wait to keep going. Just when I thought that my macaroni and cheese couldn't get any better, the recipe in here came along to humble me....
.
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on January 10, 2015
I am a pretty good cook, and I have several books on the science of cooking. Ruhlman's Twenty is a practical and easy to understand guide to being an even better cook. He writes in a manner that is concise and easy to understand. The measurements are in both American and metric formats. And each of the Twenty techniques are in separate chapters, so you can read it either in order as written (as I am doing) or you can approach a topic in any order of interest. -- Happy Cooking!
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on November 22, 2014
It's a pretty good book.

The recipe for preserved/confit lemons is straightforward and very effective.

The recipe for "The Perfect Meatloaf" is overly fussy and lacking my opinion from a technique perspective. The use of the milk and bread to make a panade was top notch advice, but the bain marie was unnecessary. Ruhlman states it produces a "moist" meatloaf, and it does, but I prefer a SLAB of meatloaf for both an entree and/or sandwiches.

The breakdown of the sections is very easy to follow and this is an enjoyable cookbook, both from a pictorial point of view and from a technical advice point of view.

Philosophy is very useful. Would like more photos of finished product, especially plated.....plating is an art and there is just not enough advise out there about how each chef likes to see it done.

Techniques for things such as properly seasoning a cast iron pan are significantly absent, and for a book like this would have been appreciated.

Mr. Ruhlman did not want to get into a whole bevvy of kitchen gadgets but one thing I have seen in most professional kitchens missing from discussion in the book is at least one good pair of 10-12 inch stainless steel tweezers. I can't cook shrimp or other similar small items like sauteed chicken medallions without them anymore.

I have over 30 years of cooking experience, and 6 years of combined experience working in professional/commercial food preparation.
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on September 27, 2017
This book will teach you all the Hows and Whys of cooking and provide recipes as examples for each technique. Incredibly useful. I have read more cookbooks that I can think of, this one is by far better and beats my previous favorite - the America Test Kitchen book.
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on May 26, 2014
I'm a home cook who really enjoys learning techniques to maximize the flavor of my food. I occasionally follow recipes, but frequently just dabble with what ingredients I have around the house. Ruhlman's Twenty has chapters dedicated to "techniques". I would say this book has been the single most useful resource for kicking up my culinary skills. I feel like I was in a rut where I wasn't improving in my cooking anymore. After reading this book and implementing its techniques, my skills have been markedly improved.

Other cookbooks are great, but this one truly describes the reasons we do things, like salting food before we cook it, cooking in water to control temperature and extract flavor, how to use ingredients like onions and egg. The recipes are intuitive and can be a good basis for creating more elaborate dishes. Best cooking book I've ever purchased.
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