The Elements of Style , would more accurately have been titled “Selected Elements"/>

The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Art for Every Kitchen

Michael Ruhlman, Author, Anthony Bourdain, Introduction by . Scribner $24 (245p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9978-7

Ruhlman's slim 12th book, inspired by Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style , would more accurately have been titled “Selected Elements of French Cooking.” Organized in dictionary format, the book offers short definitions of culinary terms most likely to be encountered in a Continental restaurant kitchen: à la ficelle , jus lié, lardo, mise en place , oblique cut, oignon piqué , rondeau, roulade. Entries for ladle, rolling pin and other common implements seem almost superfluous, while international items such as wok, tandoor, udon and cardamom are nowhere to be found (though to be fair, nam pla, kimchi and umami are included). An opening eight-page section announces, with finger wagging, that “veal stock is the essential” and discourses on eggs, salt and kitchen tools. Ruhlman (The Soul of a Chef ) is an elegant writer and the entries he does include can be useful and sometimes entertaining. The real problem is the idiosyncratic, highly personal approach: you just don't know what you'll find in this book and what you won't. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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