Elements of Cooking I feel hoplessly inept, even as an amatuer home cook because I realize how much I do not know.
I'm reading Elements of Cooking, and so far I'm a bit ambivalent (and startled at how much I do know, since I have never worked professionally in a kitchen. But then, I've read all of Ruhlman's books and I guess I might know much of what he does.)
I find it neither complete enough nor precise enough (those two are typically opposites). The essay of eggs is a good example; it feels to me a bit like an incomplete as if done top-of-head and not edited by someone who understands cooking: hard boiled is covered but not soft, scrambled eggs is oddly didactic with little reflection of variables in taste of the cook or diner. Coddles is confusing, shirred doesn't reference eggs cocette or meuriere. The essay on sauces doesn't cover the mother sauces, but does continue the veal stock praise from the preceding essay.
Ruhlman says it was based on Elements of Style, a book I know almost by heart, and I wish he'd hewn more closely to it. The reference section is useful, but not particularly more useful than say, Larousse, McGee or the web. And I wish he'd written an equivalent to White's Essay on style, since he knows so much about chef's styles from molecular gastronomy to classic French.
But I'm not completely done with it yet. It's not really a sit-down-and-read through, despite what some have said.
Edited by et alors, 20 November 2007 - 08:35 AM.