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May 6, 2010


Delicious! A Novel

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. MORE


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History in a Glass: Sixty Years of Wine Writing from Gourmet

Published: 2006
Author: Ruth: Reichl

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Published: Spring 2007
By: Shizuo Tsuji
Introduction: MFK Fisher
New Introduction: Ruth Reichl

Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet

Published: 2004
Editor: Ruth Reichl

The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life

By: Angelo M. Pellegrini
Foreward: Mario Batali
Editor: Ruth Reichl

The Anatomy of Dessert

Published: 2006
By: Edward Bunyard
Foreward: Michael Pollan
Introduction: David Karp
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Endless Feasts: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet

Published: 2002
Editor: Ruth Reichl

The Gourmet Cookbook

Published: 2004
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Life á la Henri

Published: 2001
By: Henri Charpentier and Boyden Sparks
Introduction: Alice Waters
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Cooking with Pomiane

Published: 2001
By: Edouard de Pomiane
Introduction: Elizabeth David
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Clémentine in the Kitchen

Published: 2001
By: Samuel Chamberlain
Introduction: Ruth Reichl
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Katish: Our Russian Cook

Published: 2001
By: Wanda L. Frolov
Introduction: Marion Cunningham
Editor: Ruth Reichl

High Bonnet: A Novel of Epicurean Adventures

Published: 2001
By: Idwal Jones
Introduction: Anthony Bourdain
Editor: Ruth Reichl

The Supper of the Lamb

Published: 2002
By: Robert Farrar Capon
Introduction: Deborah Madison
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

Published: 2001
By: Laura Shapiro
Introduction: Michael Stern
Editor: Ruth Reichl

The Passionate Epicure

Published: 2002
By: Marcel Rouff
Introduction: Jeffrey Steingarten
Editor: Ruth Reichl

Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery

Published: 1996
Introduction: Ruth Reichl

The Measure Of Her Powers: An M.F.K. Fisher Reader

Published: 1999
Introduction: Ruth Reichl
Editor: Dominque Gioia

Mmmmmmm….A Feastiary

Published: 1972
Editor: Ruth Reichl



On Cookbooks

February 9, 2010

Rereading Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker piece on cookbooks made me mad all over again. Because it seems to me that in all that overintellectualized hyperventilating he misses the main point. When he asks why we read cookbooks, he assumes that all cooks are like him. And that’s just wrong. Before asking why we read cookbooks, we need to question why we cook in the first place.

He does it in a vain search for perfection. “We reanimate our passions by imagining the possibilities,” he says, “and the act of wanting ends up mattering more than the fact of getting. It’s not the false hope that it will turn out right that makes us go on with our reading but our being resigned to the knowledge that it won’t ever, quite.”

I have to say that this thought is completely alien to me.  What’s “right”?  As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing. For me one of the great pleasures of cooking is that nothing ever turns out the same way twice. Each time you walk into the kitchen you are setting off on an adventure. What will it be like this time?  Will it make people happy?

And that, to me at least, is the crucial question.  Gopnik seems to cook for himself; for him it is an act of wanting. I cook for other people, and to me, cooking is an act of giving. When I leaf through cookbooks or magazines I am imagining all the people who will be sitting around my table, and I am looking for food that will make them happy.

In the end it is their pleasure that will take me back to the kitchen for the next experiment. I love the physical act of cooking – the feel of the knife as it slices through the apples, the scent of the onions as they caramelize in butter, the moment when the cake comes sashaying out of the oven. But more than that, I love to watch as everybody takes the first bite, and then, hurriedly, another. And another. 

Right there at the table, as we all sit there eating, I am already imagining how I might improve upon the recipe. Better ingredients? A different technique? We are constantly learning to cook, both by reading cookbooks and by cooking. But the very first lesson for every cook is this: no recipe is ever perfect. That’s the point.  It’s only a meal, and there’s always the next time.

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A Few Good Books

June 15, 2007

I just came up with this list of food books for NPR, to go along with an interview I did with Steve Inskeep.  So I thought I might as well post it here as well.

The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber. I was talking to Diana the other day, and she said, “There’s something safe and wonderful about being raised by a strict father, but it has its drawbacks.” That’s pretty much what this memoir – about growing up partly in Jordan and always with food – is about.

Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey. Madhur is an extraordinary cook with an amazing ability to recall – and recreate – the evocative flavors of the India she grew up in.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. The original bad boy chef – and so much fun!

The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten. Before there was Bill Buford there was Steingarten. Few people are as erudite – and no one is as food-obsessed – as Jeffrey Steingarten, who will follow any food trail to literal absurdity.

The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin. Could be subtitled: Why life is more fun for people who like to eat.

The Apprentice, By Jacques Pepin. There is a reason why Jacques Pepin became one of our most celebrated French chefs. He’s a cook with a remarkably interesting mind.

Talk Talk by T.C. Boyle. A novel about identity theft that contains some of the most wonderful descriptions of cooking that I’ve ever read. And why not? Another Boyle book contains the great short story, Sorry Fugu.

Older Books
Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell. The ultimate writer’s writer, Mitchell is not usually thought of as a food writer. But so many of his stories are about markets, pubs and restaurants. And this book contains my all-time favorite food story, “All You Can Hold for Five Bucks.”

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin. You’ve never read Laurie Colwin? What a treat you have in store.

 Between Meals by A.J. Liebling. Most famous quote: “The primary requisite for writing about food is a good appetite.” Probably our greatest food writer.

Hotel Splendid by Ludwig Bemelmans. An endlessly amusing behind-the-scenes look at a great hotel restaurant by the man who wrote the Madeline books. Bemelmans wrote from experience; he worked at The Ritz.

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Contains a remarkably graphic, and completely unforgettable, behind-the-scenes look at restaurant kitchens.

Coming Soon:Fair Shares for All by John Haney. An extraordinarily affectionate book about growing up hungry in London’s East End.

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Book Tour

March 29, 2019

MONDAY, APRIL 1st – Brooklyn, NY

7:00PM: Books Are Magic at St. Ann’s

Location: St. Ann’s | 157 Montague St, Brooklyn, NY 11201



TUESDAY, APRIL 2nd – New York, NY

6:00PM: Rizzoli Bookstore

Location: Rizzoli Bookstore | 1133 Broadway, New York, NY 10010



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3rd – Raleigh, NC

12:00PM: McIntyre’s Luncheon at the Fearrington Barn

Location: The Fearrington Barn, 500 Fearrington Village Center, Pittsboro, NC 27312


7:00PM: Quail Ridge Books

Location: Quail Ridge Books | 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh, NC 27609



THURSDAY, APRIL 4th – Atlanta, GA

7:30PM: Atlanta History Center

Location: Atlanta History Center | 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305



FRIDAY, APRIL 5th – Houston, TX

7:00PM: Blue Willow at Christ Church Cathedral

Location: Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston, Texas 77002




Cherry Bombe Jubilee



MONDAY, APRIL 8th – San Francisco, CA

12:30PM: Book Passage Luncheon at Left Bank Brasserie

Location: Left Bank Brasserie | 507 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, CA 94939


7:30PM: Copperfields at the Marin JCC

Location: Osher Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903



TUESDAY, APRIL 9th – San Francisco, CA

 12:30PM: Omnivore Books

Location: Omnivore Books on Food, 3885 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, CA 94131


7:30PM: City Arts & Lectures

Location: Nourse Theater | 275 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10th – San Francisco, CA

7:00PM: Bookshop Santa Cruz

Location:Bookshop Santa Cruz |1520 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Save Me the Plums

March 13, 2019

Save Me the Plums

Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet.

“This is the rare case of an amazing writer living an amazing life.”—Ann Patchett

When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.

Order Your Copy: U.S.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-million | IndieBound | Apple Books

Order Your Copy: Canada

Indigo | Amazon.ca | Apple Books Canada | Kobo