Delicious by Ruth Reichl


Delicious by Ruth Reichl

I love food, I love cookbooks and I have a particular soft spot for food writing!

I was therefore, along with many others greatly saddened when Condé Nast decided to close down Gourmet magazine which had been edited for years by the wonderful Ruth Reichl, formerly the food critic at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Fortunately for us all, however, Ms Reichl has a number of books such as Tender at the Bone and Comfort me with Apples, in which she tells the story first of growing up with a mother (the food-poisener, known as the Queen of Mold) and then her own road to a life with food. 

My personal favorite is Garlic & Sapphires about her start and early years as the New York Times food critic at a time when the New York restaurant scene was in its infancy with just a handful of star restaurants and no appreciation or understanding whatsoever for all the different cuisines that would come to be the hallmark of the city’s culinary life. The book is filled with great stories from a bygone age and peppered throughout with Ruth Reichl’s wonderful sense of humor.

With Delicious, Ruth Reichl has moved into fiction territory with a novel about a young girl, Billie Breslin, who grows up in the shadow of her perfect older sister whom she admires tremendously and with whom she starts a small homespun cake shop. The sister is the artist, while Billie has an exceptionally well developed palate. For reasons which shall not be divulged here, Billie decides to move to New York to work at Delicious, an iconic food magazine where she meets a colorful bunch of people from the chefs who test recipes to the Italian deli owner who refuses to compromise on quality. When the magazine folds, Billie stays on answering letters from readers all over the country and finds a long hidden and forgotten correspondence that puts her on a mysterious trail meant - in the end - to help her come to terms with who she is.

If Delicious sounds a bit light, it is. It feels very much like a made-for-television script to be enjoyed on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and a slice of delicious gingerbread cake (check out the recipe in the book) - and for that purpose it is perfect.

If, however, you are looking for some of the best food writing around, then I highly recommend picking up one of Ruth Reichl’s non-fiction books, especially Garlic & Sapphires.

Happy reading! 

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Hannah Gough