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BOOK REVIEW | The Hard-Boiled Truth About Michael Ruhlman’s Newest Cookbook, 'Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient'

Book ReviewsLisa Creatura

Chances are you think you know the greatest scrambled egg chef in the world. Michael Ruhlman would probably disagree. Does that person ensure the eggs never rise above 212ºF? Does he or she cook the eggs in a saucier, round pan, or double boiler? Does s/he use an immersion, handheld, or countertop blender to ensure a thorough blend sans froth? In his new cookbook Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient, Michael Ruhlman scrambles everything you thought you knew about eggs and their possibilities in the kitchen.

Here’s my confession: I do not like breakfast foods. My little experience with eggs is confined to “refrigerator eggs.” This is what my father lovingly calls whatever is in the refrigerator scrambled into some eggs.  Needless to say, refrigerator eggs are not always a success. Thus, I was immediately skeptical of Ruhlman’s new cookbook.

Ruhlman begins the book explaining why the egg is so essential in any kitchen. The seemingly simple ingredient is often underappreciated and is seen more as a tool than the feature of many dishes. Ruhlman creates recipes that feature the egg as the lead, such as a frisée salad with bacon vinaigrette topped with a deep fried egg or classic eggs benedict. However, Ruhlman also proves the egg’s importance as an essential supporting ingredient, including in marshmallows and hollandaise recipes.

The greatest success of the book is its accessibility. Eggs are one of the most common, and least expensive, ingredients in the food market and they appeal to a variety of cooks. The book includes helpful buying tips, corresponding charts and photos, and a section highlighting the necessities of any kitchen. Each recipe begins with an anecdote that not only describes Ruhlman’s experience with the dish, but also provides suggestions for variation. The recipes do no require seeking out the most exotic ingredients, but rather focus on creating unique dishes from everyday ingredients.  The helpfully specific instructions teach an inexperienced cook with an empty refrigerator the skills they need to make a delicious dish.

By assuming the egg was only used during breakfast meals, I have deprived myself of the wonders of the egg until now. This cookbook arms the reader with a number of recipes for varied eating opportunities related to the egg. Throughout Egg, Ruhlman explores the possibilities of eggs beyond breakfast and teaches effective techniques to mastering this truly versatile kitchen essential.

 

 

-Lisa Creatura loves making home cooked meals from a well-organized kitchen. Most importantly, she loves a good book and snuggles from her puppup, Derby Lu.