2017 Books Read

*Sunset Park by Paul Auster
Invisible by Paul Auster
*Moon Palace by Paul Auster
The Still Life of Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
*One Small Step Can Change Your Life; the Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph.D
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
*Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh
*High Output Management – Story of Intel by Andrew S. Grove
*Thanks for the Feedback – Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen
*Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
*The Letting Go E-book by Leo Babauta
*Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Leviathan by Paul Auster
DotComSecret by Russell Brunson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
Drown by Junot Diaz
Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
*Trevor Noah – Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
To Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster
*Blink by Malcom Gladwell
Exactly What to Say by Phil M. Jones
*Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden
*The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway
*The Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White

*-books are highly recommended.

Ratio by Michael Ruhman

I have finally picked up Ratio, a cookbook written by Michael Ruhman, and read it from front to end for the first time since I made the purchase nearly 5 years ago (part of my unproductive splurge with my ever mounting credit card bill). The book provides basic ratios for common recipes and demonstrate the convenience of knowing these formulas.

I have always been a conservative cook, meaning that I like the tedium of practicing and learning the fundamental of cooking before I unleash my creative juice and innovate dishes. Ratio was an enjoyable read; I reviewed basic recipes I had often practiced and gained knowledge on food or techniques that I rarely use. Ratio is a great book for either a professional or home cook.

I have been a professional chef for eight years, and I have spent majority of my time learning and perfecting (and never perfecting) stock and sauce production. I am humbled and fascinated by some of the basics taught in “Ratio”. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Sweat vegetables before adding water enhances the depth of vegetable stock (why have I not ever thought of it…and I do that for all the animal stock!)
  • Only add aromatics/aromats in the last hour of stock making in order to maximize the yield (aromatics soak up a lot of liquid from prolonged cooking)
  •  The stock should be kept at between 180F~190F (82.2C~87.8C) during the
    making process, which is below simmering. Therefore…don’t simmer your
    stock. (I am in shock…aren’t we all taught to simmer our stock at one point or another? But what is a simmering temperature…has anyone ever asked that?)
  • Leeks and its relatives give body to the stock (Something not so noticeable…but worth of exploring. I am guessing the structure comes from the slime in between the layers of leaves)

Have a great weekend chefs!