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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reichl Rocks

So I’m a little behind the eight ball on this, but I just finished reading Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples by food writer/editor Ruth Reichl. I have never really followed Reichl’s career or read much of her writing, and what a joy it was to discover such a fantastic storyteller and food lover for the first time. Not only did I devour the books in just a couple of days, I also subjected my boyfriend to several chapters I read aloud to him while he watched muted Miami Heat/Dallas Mavericks games. Oh, and I just ordered her newest book on Amazon today and have been scouring websites (in vain) trying to find archives of her 1970s columns in the LA Times.

I may have to break down and go to the library.

I believe these may be the best memoirs I have ever read. Of course, I haven’t read many. But that’s usually because it is hard for me to really get into the typical memoir format. Reichl’s books read more like a good page-turning fiction novel. Tight, evocative, and touching. Wow, I really can’t say enough.

The way she ties the food experience to people and to the story is really remarkable, since so many people try without nearly this level of success. And her descriptions of food, whether it is a meat counter at a Spanish marketplace, an exotic dish discovered in China, or a dining experience with friends, are remarkable. So inventive, so original, but still true. They seem so dead-on and yet she finds a way to introduce the most mundane thing again and make the reader experience it for the first time. Truly admirable. I found myself rereading descriptions with a mixture of awe and envy.

I just can’t believe I didn’t pick these up sooner. And I will probably pick them up again before the month is over. I just hope an anthology of her columns is in the works (hint, hint)!