Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Personal news, no media mix and a book review

The good news is that I am able to continue my library science degree. Nothing like waiting to the last minute. A bank came through with a loan to cover my previous semesters and while the rates are only a little better than I could have gotten from my nearby Amish mob connections, at least if I have trouble repaying it I don't have to worry whether the clip-clop in front of the house is a potential drive-by hit.

The money is to make its way to my account Friday and school starts Monday. Nice. I've been scrambling today contacting professors because none of this has been smooth and it will be a minor miracle if I have registered before Monday morning.

Doesn't look like Kelly is posting a media mix for this week. Shucks.

In lieu of that, though, I'll post a review of a book I initially forgot to put on my reading list. I need to get more reviews up. After this book I still have nine books unreviewed and I'm almost done reading two more. Yikes.

The book for today is Michael Ruhlman's The Making of a Chef. I was familiar with Ruhlman's name from my general interest in cooking. Back in July someone, I forgot who, linked to the review on Ruhlman's blog of Cheesecake Factory. As someone who despises chain restaurants, I was impressed by his openness, his acceptance of the quality of the food, but mostly the sadness that he feels that a chain can make this sort of food. Naturally I had to read a book of his.

The Making of a Chef is supposed to be a book about the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). The CIA opened their doors to Ruhlman who took many of the same classes aspiring chefs take. Ruhlman writes about his experiences but finds along the way that he really enjoys cooking and wants to be a chef.

Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, Ruhlman is very open with his emotions and the personal struggles he experiences as he finds himself torn between wanting to be more like his classmates but not willing to make the sacrifices they do. I feel like he finds the right balance in the book between being a writer and a chef and he seems to have continued to balance his two passions since the book was published. A revised edition of the book was issued this past March. I'm not sure what the differences are between it and the edition I read.

For anyone who aspired to attend the CIA. This is an absolute must-read. Ruhlman not only details the classwork, assignments and teachers but really conveys the attitudes and ways of thinking under which the school operates. Even those with a passing interest in food should find this to be an enjoyable book. Ruhlman is a really good writer and everyone eats. It's interesting to learn about what dedicated chefs go through to become masters of their craft.

I'm definitely going to read Ruhlman's newest book Ratio and one of his older ones, House.

No comments: