Ruhlman’s Elements Gets the Nod from an Unexpected Source

We weren’t the least bit surprised to see Elements of Cooking, the latest opus from local author and food authority Michael Ruhlman, make the Books of the Year list in Bon Appetit’s January issue. After all, not only is the text – an exacting, sometimes challenging guide to the fundamentals of cooking, complete with detailed glossary – a worthy read, but Ruhlman and Bon Appetit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton spent the past summer hangin’ out together as judges for the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef. On the other hand, when we stumbled across mention of the book on The A.V. Club site – the often-satirical A& E arm of the equally satiric Onion … yeah, it kind of blew our mind, if for no other reason than its suggestion of how broad and deep our foodie fascination has become. Turns out, Elements is included as part of The A.V. Club’s Surprisingly Specific Gift Guide, where the predictably tongue-in-cheek review describes Ruhlman as “a cult cookbook author” and chides him for assuming “that he's speaking to an audience of cooking voyeurs, steeped in the culture of Food Network and Top Chef.” Still, the overall tone is laudatory. And if it should inspire even one 23-year-old slacker living in his or her mother’s basement to step away from the PC and toward the stovetop, Ruhlman’s mission will be accomplished. Or, in the words of the review, Vive la gastronomie! Elaine T. Cicora
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