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reading tiger

Reading and Writing

Except for my column and a single work shift at the bookstore tomorrow, I have the week entirely off from paid labor. So instead I am making cookies.

This week's Earworm Weekly is on my favorite Christmas song, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love. For the record, I never watched Letterman for more than maybe 5 to 10 minutes at a time when it was on the air, so this song came to me via the organic "I am obsessed with girl-group harmonies" route instead.

http://www.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2015/12/23/earworm-weekly-christmas-baby-please-come-home-by-darlene-love

Readingwise, it's been mostly cookbooks as I figure out what cookies to bake and how to handle a split Xmas Eve/Xmas holiday with a work shift in the middle. I decided that next year, I'm making lasagna for Christmas Eve. This year is still up in the air. Christmas Day, though, the children will be at someone else's house and G. and I will split a roast duck.

So while I am here, let me recommend a cookbook: Ratio by Mark Ruhlman. Everything Ruhlman writes is solid; his Ruhlman's Twenty is already a standard around here, and he's also the author of the award-winning French Laundry Cookbook as well as the other two big books in the Thomas Keller Trilogy, Bouchon and Ad Hoc at Home.

I'd always heard good things about Ratio but I am not a math geek and not much of a baker, so I let it slide until I was looking for a solid sugar cookie dough that didn't use vegetable shortening. I picked up Ratio, and not only did he have the perfect recipe plus the perfect explanation of what it does and doesn't do well, he also had a very basic cookie dough recipe plus a zillion suggested variations. I used this dough last night for jam thumbprints, and I couldn't be happier.

So, Ratio! If you bake, you should get it! It's not just for bakers, though. You'll get cream sauces, custards, mayonnaise and its relatives, and even sausages. I am so sorry I ignored the bandwagon for this book for so long. No more.

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