A Steamy Interview with Michael Ruhlman


Michael Ruhlman’s ratio-small-cover Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking is not a cookbook that I would normally add to my cookbook collection. First off, it’s got no color photos. It doesn’t even look like a cookbook…the front cover has complicated circles with all sorts of numbers and fractions going ’round and ’round. The only time I like big circles with numbers is when I’m in Vegas and the little ball falls snugly in the number that I’ve got $100 riding on.

Yet, I’m telling you that if you enjoy the creative process of cooking, you must get the Ratio cookbook. It’s not because Michael Rulman is like the Anderson Cooper of cooking (Anderson’s so incredibly hot and he’s the only reason I watch TV.) and it’s not because I’ve had a very flirty Twitter exchange with Michael (and if you happened to be on Twitter last Friday, we learned that leaving a “th” out of the word “I should have been forTHcoming with you,” certainly changes the meaning of a tweet.

But I want you to get the Ratio cookbook because Michael is like the most famous food person that I’ve ever asked “Boxers or Briefs” and he totally answered me with a straight face.

Yeah, that’s hot. SO BUY HIS BOOK.

No, but seriously, it’s a fantastic book, in fact, so good that I will do everything in my power to never let my husband meet Michael Ruhlman. Ever. It’s nothing scandalicious, it’s just that….well, listen and find out yourself. Oh yes, are you guessing BOXERS or BRIEFS? You’ll find out!

p.s. I decided that if I was going to interview someone as awesome as Michael Ruhlman, I had to be all serious and stuff. Like a real reporter. Because, I’m sure that someone like Michael is used to being interviewed by serious and influential journalists like the fancy people at Gourmet magazine or New York Times. So, I started the podcast projecting a “well-respected journalist from a big foodie magazine totally scared shitless that my job is in jeapardy because dammit, people aren’t buying my magazines anymore because all these stupid food bloggers are doing my job for free” type of thing.

And I totally ended up sounding like an assclown.

p.p.s. I’m not responsible for any of the image above, just did some fancy Photoshop work to put them all together in a collage for your eye-candy viewing pleasure. In fact, come over to Ruhlman’s blog and watch a video of him talking about his Ratio book.

p.p.p.s. Speaking of eye-candy, I took the Ratio cookbook to heart and made a sesame-seared-tuna_090420__025_web Seared Tuna with Lime-Ginger Vinaigrette with no recipe, just a ratio.

Leifheit Kitchen Scale Giveaway

One of Michael Ruhlman’s essential tools in the kitchen is his scale. I can’t emphasize the importance of using a kitchen scale, as different ingredients measure differently. Leifheit has a wide range of kitchen scales, but I like this one the best: leiftheit-scale. It’s as thin as a magazine…sleek and small. I’m giving one of these away to a random commenter! To enter, just comment right below! (No need to sign up for the Steamy Kitchen newsletter – just comment!) Winner will be announced in a week.

Update 5/3/09: Winner of the Leifheit Kitchen Scale Announced!

Podcast with Michael Ruhlman


2:30 – Why I won’t let my huzb meet Michael Ruhlman
3:30 – What this book is all about – Ratio gives you muscle
4:20 – Bread ratio
5:00 – Where you can get a signed copy of Ratio
5:35 – All photos from book by Michael’s wife, Donna
6:40 – Michael’s next book?
7:30 – Question: his favorite meat pie?
8:30 – Question: what are his kids fav foods?
9:40 – Question: boxers or briefs?

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Comments 266

  1. Big Boys Oven

    oh the podcasts were aseome . . . . . Sis Jaden, can I do without the scale, will you able to get me a autograph boxer of Michael Ruhlman instead? 😉

  2. Justopia

    Well, you made me do it! Or maye Michael Rhulman made me do it. I went right to Amazon and bought the book. Now I’m tapping my fingers on the table waiting for it to arrive! Can’t wait.

  3. Brandi

    I’ve never heard of Michael Rhulman, so I obviously do not have his book, but I’m very open to suggestions, especially one as passionate as yours, so I will definitely give it a look. Thanks!

  4. Pepper

    This is the third rec I’ve seen for this book…. and I’ve got a teeny bit of space left on my cookbook shelf.

    I wish though I could find THE definitive list of conversion measurements. Vol v weight. Liquid v dry. *sigh*

  5. Leah

    Looove seared tuna- that looks awesome. And I just had to comment, since I’m desperately in need of a new scale!

  6. Diana

    Read his French Laundry book. Loved it. Looking forward to reading Ratio. The scale is cool!

  7. Britni B.

    Wow, that scale is amazing! I would love one of those! and I’m going to have to look into picking up the book next time I go to borders!

  8. Quynh

    I’ve been hearing so much about this book!! I’ll definitely need to get it now. I’ve been wanting to make macarons lately, but I don’t have a scale.. what great timing 😀

  9. Ulla

    My too favorite food bloggers(personalities) in one post!
    Love it:)
    I do not know how you do it Jaden, you make it seem effortless, but you do it so well! The gorgeous photos, amazing recipes, tv spots, podcasts, and all these awesome food blogger meetings, just amazing!:)

  10. Kelli

    Count me in, I could use a scale. I also recently read a review on this book from another blogger. Im going to have to check it out!

  11. Dania

    Perfect timing and so totally ironic I was just reading his dough and batter ratios on his site a couple of weeks ago! I was amazed at what I didn’t know *sigh* That scale is fantastic too, I need to go out and buy one. Takes up less space than a book! Lord knows my kitchen needs less gadgets and more space! (formoregadgets) Great podcast too!

    I don’t think i’ve ever commented on your site before, but I have on Elise’s when you’ve guest-wrote over there. Just want to say I’ve tried out several of your recipes and they’ve all turned out great, especially the spring rolls..they take a little time, but much cheaper and better than take-out 🙂

  12. MacandCheese

    Interesting book by Michael Ruhlman…..it’s really a “how to” for develping skills and confidence to cook from scratch without reliance on recipes…….great idea!

  13. Amy

    Heard more about this book…definitely sounds like a good starting point. I will totally have to pick this up! Thank you!

  14. Stephen W

    Free gift – super, that scale looks amazing! I would love one of those and I’ll need to look into picking up the book next time I go to Barnes & Noble!

  15. Jo

    What a great idea for a cookbook. I have often thought that there was a need for something like this. Thanks for bringing it to my (and many others’) attention.

  16. Sandra

    So much of cooking depends on proper ratios, and we don’t even know it because we’re used to following a recipe blind. Think of the opportunities to play around if you actually know what you’re doing! ]Besides, I need a new scale; the one I have doesn’t do metric :-)]

  17. Brian W. Jurkowski

    I must have this book! Great podcast, love your site! Could use the scale, as I gave mine to a chef I used to work for. I’ll wind up buying one, I’m sure. Being a disciple of Ruhlman from way back, I tend to cook using the ratios experience has taught me anyway, but the book will help to fill in the gaps in my experience!

  18. Angela

    I just ordered the book. Great interview! I’m just starting to bake more, so the scale would be lovely (or I’m going to have to go buy one of those, too!).

  19. Gina

    Thanks for your blog….I LOVE IT! I just picked up his book at the bookstore and I really can’t stop reading it.

  20. mary

    This book looks great! I’ve been really trying to be more improvisational in the kitchen, and I think this could really help me learn what to play with and what to leave alone (and why). Thanks for the recommendation!

  21. Shirley

    Loved the interview (and love your blog even more!) and asked for the cookbook for Mother’s Day!

  22. Sharle

    I really like cookbooks that give ideas and the ability to cook and create on one’s own. I can’t remember the last time I followed a recipe exactly and look forward to this cookbook.

  23. Stpehanie Downie

    Oh, goody, I could use a new scale. Since my five year-old discovered the joys of weighing stuff, my old scale has disappeared into the abyss known as her bedroom.

  24. Karen Phillips

    A scale would be great. I’ve come across may recipes online that call for weighed ingredients. I just avoid them because I don’t have a scale.

  25. Sarah

    I’ve been meaning to get a kitchen scale for awhile now. I just purchased the “Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” and a kitchen scale is essential!

  26. Brandy

    That’s the second recommendation for this book that I’ve seen. I think I might have to buy it. A scale wouldn’t hurt either…

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