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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

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?

266 Responses to “A Steamy Interview with Michael Ruhlman”

  1. BentoGirl — 4/27/09 @ 6:17 pm

    I love your blog – it inspires me to make dinner! I came by for some ideas for tonight :)

  2. Faheen Tejani — 4/27/09 @ 6:19 pm

    One word..WOW!

  3. terri — 4/27/09 @ 6:20 pm

    thanks for the book recommendation!

  4. Barbara — 4/27/09 @ 6:20 pm

    I listened to the Podcast,sounds like an interesting book to have, also I need a new updated scale. Thanks for a great webasite!!! :) :) :)

  5. suzie — 4/27/09 @ 6:33 pm

    Please let me win :)

  6. skimmy — 4/27/09 @ 6:49 pm

    the seared tuna post is seriously making me hungry!!

  7. Kristina — 4/27/09 @ 7:02 pm

    You are too funny- nice job!

  8. Shannon — 4/27/09 @ 7:19 pm


  9. MikeW — 4/27/09 @ 8:21 pm

    There are some recipes that are forgiving, so no measure needed at all.

    For others, weight is so much more repeatable! I have some old German recipes from my mother — there are 3 sizes of spoon required, that are different from the US standard of course!

    So once I have a recipe converted, it is weight forevermore!

  10. Joy — 4/27/09 @ 8:33 pm


  11. Henry Kuicki — 4/27/09 @ 8:38 pm

    Excellent book, excellent interview. Ruhlman is right on as cooking is chemistry. Good ingredients + correct proportions = good result.

  12. Hanna — 4/27/09 @ 10:19 pm

    I’ll have to add this book to the others on my list to be shipped from overseas. Thanks for the tip!

  13. Elyse — 4/27/09 @ 10:36 pm

    You are so right Jaden, Ratio is a must-buy!

  14. JessW — 4/27/09 @ 11:33 pm

    Sounds like a very educational book. Usually I don’t like those but I think I would like this one! :)

  15. Shihwe — 4/27/09 @ 11:56 pm

    That Tuna recipe sounds great for spring, and I often have all those ingredients, except the fish, on hand!

  16. PinkDevora — 4/28/09 @ 12:06 am

    Ooh, thanks. I recently discovered Michael Ruhlman’s books and read every single one in the local library system (The Making of Chef, Soul of a Chef, Walk on Water and others). I can’t WAIT to read this one too. Please, random number generator, pick me!!!

    Pics and podcast player aren’t working right now. Grr. I’ll have to come back.

    Double ooh. I didn’t realize Michael had a blog! Woohoo! So much for going to bed early tonight.

  17. Joy — 4/28/09 @ 12:25 am

    I got his book last Friday and I absolutely love it!

    I still haven’t heard the podcast…waiting for the thing to work. :)

  18. Melissa — 4/28/09 @ 12:51 am

    Sounds awesome. My addiction to Borders thinks I need more cook books now.

  19. Alison — 4/28/09 @ 12:53 am

    I’ve been hearing about this book. A kitchen scale is something I’ve been thinking about, too.

  20. Lauriel — 4/28/09 @ 1:06 am

    I haven’t heard about this book before, but now I’m going to check it out!! It’s *all* about ratios… I’ve done way too much unsuccessful experimentation to know that if an expert has an opinion, I’ll listen. :)

  21. Deanna — 4/28/09 @ 2:11 am

    Wow! I can’t believe how easy the seared tuna recipe is. I’m motivated to try this at home!

  22. Pat — 4/28/09 @ 3:20 am

    That tuna looks amazingly good!! Cooked perfectly, dressed well and served up with a simple salad. How much better could it possibly be?
    I totally believe in kitchen scales and a new, not bulky, one would fit very well in our kitchen.

  23. Victoria — 4/28/09 @ 3:34 am

    I’ve been curious about this book for a while. I hope my local library gets it soon so I can check into it and see if it’s worth buying (I’m sure it is, but I’d like to get a feel for the book first, so to speak, before dropping the big bucks ;D)

  24. giabella designs — 4/28/09 @ 7:26 am

    Boy oh boy, would Michael be surprised if I made hime that yummy looking seared tuna……….NOT, I will let him make it, he is the better cook! I would love a food scale, Michael can use it for cooking and I can use it for weighing my food intake!

  25. Jia — 4/28/09 @ 8:00 am

    now im hungry, which is unfortunate because nobody’s making me seared tuna at 8 in the morning

  26. Joanna — 4/28/09 @ 8:37 am

    I agree with you that I never would have picked it up since I like me some pictures and I have a strong aversion to anything that sounds math related. Such an interesting concept though. I will definitely have to give it a try. What a cute scale!I’ve been looking for one for a while.

  27. Bill — 4/28/09 @ 8:47 am

    Wandered over on a recommendation from Elise of Simple Recipes and realized what I’ve been missing. Thanks for the enjoyable interview.

  28. Deb — 4/28/09 @ 8:47 am

    My son while in culinary academy kept telling me about ratios but I never got any of them written down or organized in a useful way. This book looks like the answer to that (and so much less than tuition for culinary school!). Thanks for interviewing Ruhlman and for the giveaway, Jaded, er, Jaden!

  29. Donna — 4/28/09 @ 9:02 am

    Just found your site…very nice and quite informative.

  30. Michael — 4/28/09 @ 9:43 am

    Oh, I must say thanks for offering the scale, I got Michael’s book and tried the bread ratio last night. I can say for certain that 5 cups of flour and 3 cups of water just don’t work. Have to get a scale and do it right!

  31. Lynn — 4/28/09 @ 10:03 am

    I’ll have to check out this book. It sounds like a liberating approach to cooking.

  32. Steph — 4/28/09 @ 10:08 am

    Aside from being one of my favorite writers, Ruhlman is a hunkie foodie – must order this book *today*. Gotta love a good looking guy who knows his way around a kitchen LOL.

  33. Michelle Tan — 4/28/09 @ 11:31 am

    I am a Malaysian and I am wondering whether I can take part in this giveaway programme ?

  34. Asianmommy — 4/28/09 @ 12:11 pm

    What a cool scale–I could use one!

  35. Liz — 4/28/09 @ 1:18 pm

    This book must be pretty hot right now– you’re the 2nd food blogger to write about it this week! You are the first to interview him though…

  36. Cecile — 4/28/09 @ 1:33 pm

    You are so brave to ask the question. Tuna looks so good!

  37. Dorothy — 4/28/09 @ 1:36 pm

    Yep, some men should never be met by the Mr.

    Scales with that kind of sensitivity also come in handy for weighing yarn. :)

  38. Andrew — 4/28/09 @ 1:53 pm

    Ratio cooking tuna, interesting. I’ve seen it done plenty on bread, but never a main course.

  39. Kari — 4/28/09 @ 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the interview–bringing great info and resources into the hands of “hungry” listeners and readers!

  40. Cynthia — 4/28/09 @ 3:18 pm

    Thanks Jaden. I read a review for Ratio on Homesick Texan and will definitely be getting a copy soon.

  41. Christine — 4/28/09 @ 4:16 pm

    Can’t wait to get the book! I always have trouble with ratios. ^^

  42. matt wright — 4/28/09 @ 4:22 pm

    Dang, you do interview the most interesting people! It was only till moving to the US that I saw that everyone here uses cups to measure out dry ingredients, which just seems insane. Agreed, a scale is a much needed piece of equipment.

  43. Alta (TastyEats) — 4/28/09 @ 5:04 pm

    His book shall arrive at my front door TOMORROW and I can’t wait! My husband will be sad because I will want to read and not watch American Idol with him…guess I’m gonna have to figure out a compromise there! Hmm…maybe I’ll tell him there’s a yummy meal in store for him once the book unlocks my creative juices! ha! I do totally want that scale though, so please make me the lucky one!

  44. Diana — 4/28/09 @ 5:09 pm

    Brilliant! I hate measuring when I cook and do everything by sight/taste, so I think the whole ratio thing would really work for me.

  45. deborah P.S. — 4/28/09 @ 5:24 pm

    Well that’s it! I’m off to order Ratio…thank you for introducing me:)

  46. sreelu — 4/28/09 @ 5:36 pm

    Cool scale, I would love one

  47. Adam — 4/28/09 @ 6:16 pm

    Love Michael’s books … Thanks for the podcast!

  48. Ashley — 4/28/09 @ 6:44 pm

    This book sounds wonderful! I have it on my birthday wishlist, but it’d be great to win it instead ;)

  49. buzz dean — 4/28/09 @ 6:49 pm

    scales are vital in creating(and recreating) seasoning mixes and baking—sure would like a new one!

  50. Peter — 4/28/09 @ 8:22 pm

    I’ve heard a lot about this book, but haven’t had a chance to take a look at it yet myself. Quite cool that you got to interview him though!

    I find it surprising how few cookbooks have those basic core recipes in them anymore and are instead full of fancy-shmancy modern recipes. It’s the classics that I depend on keep me fed day after day, while the fancy stuff gets saved for guests.

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