Lately, Nina has been playing with Duplos, building elaborate homes by constructing rooms with beds, furniture, and, of course, a dining room table out of the big blocks. She's a bit old for Duplos, though, so I told her about Legos. She's now keen on getting them, and keeps saying that she's going to ask for a set for her birthday. It's a little far off, so Santa Claus might have to be enlisted.
Her yearning to work with better materials made me think of Michael Ruhlman's new book, "Ruhlman's Twenty." It's not about materials, per se, but rather about technique. The book outlines the twenty fundamental techniques every cook should master, and over on his awesome blog, Ruhlman is giving away copies of it. He just wants you to comment with your "ah-ha," moment of cooking discovery. Mine was years ago, when I first tasted fresh bluefish that my mother had prepared in a seaside motel. I had no idea fresh fish could taste so good. It's a longer story, and I'll save it for another time. For now, I encourage you to go visit his blog, check out the other cooking tales, and take a chance on getting his book.
The first pages of it, about the importance of thinking in the kitchen, have me intrigued. Ruhlman says "Organize and prepare. These are the two critical acts in the kitchen, and they happen by thinking first." I couldn't agree more, and I think I may even ask for a copy of "Ruhlman's Twenty" for Christmas myself.