A few weeks ago, Dani wrote a post that inspired me to write a book review of one of my most favorite books, which happens to be written by the former New York Times restaurant critic and Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl. In fact, one of the people who commented on Dani's post mentioned this very book. Kismet!
I admit, I never read Gourmet Magazine on a regular basis before it folded a few years ago. But despite that, I am a huge fan of Ruth Reichl. Her writing is so engaging, so fluid, and I can't help but think she writes the way she eats--with purpose, relish, and passion.
[Side note: if you don't follow Ruth on Twitter, do so NOW. If her first-thing-in-the-morning tweets don't fill you with joy and make you drool at the same time, I'm fairly sure you're not human. Example: "Pink sky. Very still. A ribbon of fog hugging the valley. Small bear ambles across the lawn. Vibrant jamon, so intense, grilled bread."]
Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table is, simply put, Ruth Reichl's memoir of how she learned to appreciate and love food. But it's also a story of the people she grew up with or met during her childhood/adolescence/young adulthood and how each one seemed to teach her a lesson about the special place that food can have in a person's life. I have a few favorite characters in this book. First, Ruth's mother is such an eccentric it's hard to believe she is actually a real person. They call her the "Queen of Mold," which is an accurate moniker for many reasons. And I have a special place in my heart for Mrs. Peavey, the matronly maid/nanny/housekeeper that came to live with the Reichl family when Ruth was a little girl, and who taught her how to make authentic Wiener Schnitzel.
Each chapter includes a recipe of a dish she developed a fondness for through one experience or another. Every time I read it I find myself wanting to quit my job and go to culinary school, or destroy my kitchen in the hopes of creating the perfect cream puff. Neither of which will ever happen, but living vicariously through Ruth's world is good enough for me.