In the book Twenty, Michael Ruhlman condenses decades of cooking, writing, and working with the world's greatest chefs into twenty essential ideas from ingredients to processes to attitudes that make every cook more accomplished. This book is focused on cooking techniques rather than individual recipes. He explains the hows and whys of each concept and reinforces those conclusions through recipes for everything from soups to desserts.
Ruhlman focuses on using some of the more common ingredients in the kitchen, showcasing their versatility, and then giving a few recipe examples that include the item. Through the vast experiences that have made him one of the most esteemed food journalists, Ruhlman's review of solid fundamental cooking techniques is well-written and easy to understand. His twenty elemental concepts make sense of just about anything that can happen in a kitchen.
I am not sure if this is the best cookbook for absolute beginners. However, there are enough clear instructions in Twenty that an enthusiastic newer home cook could find success and improve their culinary skills. If you are an aspiring cook or an experienced chef, this book is a must for you. It is a valuable treatise for any competent cook who is confident in their kitchen abilities and serious about creating very good food in their home. Ruhlman's Twenty book not only teaches, but after you learn or refine your techniques, the recipes are also delicious and great for cooking from again and again.
The book is stunningly presented with over 300 pictures of the food and the techniques being described. The book has a user friendly layout and, for a cookbook, has a pretty interesting narrative. Regardless of your skill level, you will find the information concise, clearly presented and easy to understand. It offers great insight and helps to correct any bad habits or misinformation you may have heard. In addition, Twenty by Michael Ruhlman makes an excellent gift for any cook.