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Saturday, July 26, 2014


EGG; a culinary exploration of the world's most versatile ingredient (Little, Brown and Company, 2014; distr. Hachette, 236 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-25406-9, $40 US hard covers) is by Michael Ruhlman, who started writing about and collaborating with the lives of chefs two decades ago. His food reference series includes The Book of Schmaltz, Ruhlman's Twenty, Ratio, The Elements of Cooking, and Charcuterie. He co-wrote books with Thomas (French Laundry) Keller. He's a Beard Award winner and an IACP winner. He envisioned the structure for this book as a flowchart with the whole egg at the top; it is included in a pocket, inside the back cover. The egg is the Rosetta stone to the kitchen, and Ruhlman treats it that way, with deep respect. There are about 100 preps here to celebrate basic poached and scrambled eggs, followed by mayonnaise, pasta, custards, quiches, and cakes. The recipes have chapters based on techniques: whole eggs (in shell, out of shell, blended), as ingredient in doughs, and separated (yolk, white, used together but separated). There is an index by technique and a general index, as well as many technique step-by-step photos by his wife. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mostly metric with avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents listed.
Audience and level of use: beginners can use this book
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: shirred eggs Florentine; picadillo meatballs;  corn and sweet pepper fritters; Italian drop cookies with lemon glaze; profiteroles; rum-soaked cherry bread; omelet with creamy moral mushrooms; crepes.
The downside to this book: nothing really, except it is heavy by weight.
The upside to this book: excellent photography by his wife, Donna Turner Ruhlman.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.

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