So, it’s January. Maybe you made resolutions. Maybe you just hoped for better. Maybe your credit card bill just appeared in your inbox. Whatever the case, learning to cook more wholesome, simple ingredient foods for ourselves (and others) is something on many of our lists.
I like Ruhlman’s style. He’s straightforward, practical, think-centric. No, not overthink-your-chicken, but instead, think about these (twenty) basic methods/ingredients and feel more empowered in the kitchen. I also like how he teams up with his wife (photographer and graphic designer) to make his books. (I appreciate my in-house photographer/computer genius partner every. single. day.)
His latest book is a gem for beginners on the kitchen scene and Chronicle Books has been kind as to offer up a free copy to readers here.
The twenty in question:
I like how he physically shows you some of the steps, like with the oft elusive bread making.
I appreciate these well-documented basics that many people (with cooking backgrounds) take for granted. If no one has ever shown you what something is supposed to look like, then how are we visual folks to succeed?
But wait, it gets better…
My twin sister and I began a sewing program for women in prison. There we saw the healing power of someone learning she can sew an “outa here bag” to have when she walked out those prison doors. As a handwork teacher in a Vermont Waldorf school I have loved teaching children how to knit, sew, felt, and weave, but more importantly, helping to instill in them at a very young age that they can make and do whatever they decide to do.
Working on my knitting while sitting in waiting rooms or public places, I am often stopped by someone who looks at my project in the making and says, “I could never do that.” My reply, is “Of course you can, if you want to.”
My kind of gals!
Moreover, I think anyone who’s going to be spending time in the kitchen (men included) might enjoy a hand-crafted apron in the mix. Megan and Molly have graciously donated one of their Vermont apples aprons, your choice of color, to this giveaway. (Yeah, I think you can swing it dudes, OR, in the case of a man winner, I bet Blue Star Vermont would let you select a studly Man Apron.)
So, let’s recap, you get a chance to win Ruhlman’s Twenty and a Blue Star Vermont apron by simply leaving a comment below letting us know your ace-in-the-hole dinner (links to blog posts are welcome, but definitely not required). Share what you make when there’s not much time/money/enthusiasm for the kitchen. We all need more resources at hand.
Fine print: Chronicle Books can ship to US & Canada. Blue Star Vermont offered to personally pay for international shipping (a thoughtful measure for our across the pond friends), but to keep this a package deal we’re going to stick with US & Canada. Enter by February 13, 2012 at midnight EST. One winner will be selected via Random.org thusly getting a sweet Valentine’s day email. (If you don’t put your email in the comment form’s box where it asks for it, you won’t win.)
[UPDATE: Well, hell. Ruhlman actually gave his own book away asking the same giveaway question (great minds…?), so pop on over there for further ‘staple meal inspiration’. I’m not changing mine or anything, just thought you’d like to see his post, too!]
Congrats to Lee from Madison, WI. Thanks for all the great responses, what a treasure trove of dinner ideas!