Michael Ruhlman -- you've heard his name before -- is in love with numbers. His previous book, Ratio, focused less on hard-and-fast recipes and more on the proportions of ingredients to one another.
With his latest book, Ruhlman's Twenty, he zeroes in on twenty culinary techniques and ingredients over the course of 100 recipes. While I haven't read his first instructional cookbook "The Elements of Cooking," his new work seems to be a more expansive, visually-rich book filled with glossy photos taken by his photographer wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman.
From salt to water, roast to braise, Michael gives a thorough run down of methods and terms before launching into the recipes. There's nothing in the book that the average home cook couldn't successfully attempt with a modest amount of effort, and "Ruhlman's Twenty" seems geared more for the beginner cook who'd like to add more sparkle to old favorites. The recipes are a collection of comfort food standards, from "Perfect Meat Loaf with Chipotle Ketchup," "Pulled Pork with Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce," "Mac and Cheese with Soubise" and "Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken" to basic fare such as "Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Chives" and "Tomato Sauce." There's nothing too complicated or exotic within its pages, and it would be a good addition to the bookshelf for any aspiring foodie looking to step up their culinary game.