Well-known food writer, Ruth Reichl, began her career in California, before returning to her native New York to become the restaurant critic for The New York Times and, in 1999, the last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. In her second volume of memoirs, Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Reichl recounts her early days as a food critic and development as a writer, as well as the unraveling of her first marriage, a couple of formative love affairs, and her struggle to have a child.
Reichl timed it just right. She was living in a commune in Berkeley in the 1970s when Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse and local ingredients were the new big thing, giving her front line access to America's food revolution. In the 1980s, she moved on to become the food critic at The Los Angeles Times just when Wolfgang Puck and other mavericks were changing the culinary rulebook for good.
Food-wise, these were certainly exciting times, and Reichl captures the spirit of them with her honest, personable prose. As she once explained to her editor, just writing about food is boring; it is writing about the places, people, and experiences that the food is a part of that make it interesting. She is able to tie together a gastronomic history of the times with her own experiences -- travel to Paris, Thailand, and Barcelona; difficulties with her parents; her heartbreaking attempt to adopt a child – in a way that makes all of it come alive.
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, reviewed here on Libby's Book Blog.
If you would like your review of this or any other of Ruth Reichl's books listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.
This is the first of Reichl's books that I have read. It counts as one of my books for the Foodie Reading Challenge, hosted by Margot at Joyfully Retired., and for the Memorable Memoirs Challenge, hosted by Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles.