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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)!

2 comments:

Jamie said...

You'll love Garlic and Sapphires, her newest. I have it in my to be read pile and picked it up just to flip through a few pages. I opened to the middle of the book and got hooked on it right smack mid-book. It was like walking into the middle of a conversation, yet being totally comfortable and not feeling like you missed anything by not being there from the beginning. If the book can hook one that well mid-book, imagine starting at the beginning! It was with much reluctance that I put it back in the TBR pile while I attended to reading I was contracted to do.

Accidental Foodie said...

I'm so excited! Glad to hear that it is good. I always hate when I really like an author and then read something that lets me down. She really is fabulous. Do you have any other recommendations?