Good morning, I hope you all are enjoying your summer and readin’ some great books. If you read the post last week, Comfort Me with Apples, we are going to continue the Ruth Reichl conversation with the second book we had for book club in July. If you are just joining, welcome.
I loved Garlic and Sapphires, what a fun book. Ruth Reichl has been offered the position of food critic for the New York Times, and the story she tells of her interview will start you laughing and you won’t stop throughout the entire book.
Ruth doesn’t seem to want the job, is rather sarcastic in her interview, but finally agrees and accepts the position, starting her and her family on a new journey. Her, her husband and son make the move and settle in to New York City.
Ruth quickly figures out, this job will be harder than she expected. She learns that restaurants have her picture in the back room and employees are told to be on the lookout for her. Given these unfortunate circumstances, she knows that she will never get the true feel of a restaurant and their food if they know who she is, so what would to do? Meet the alters…. time to go in disguise.
I laughed throughout the entire book, as she puts on each disguise. Her alter ego’s are a hoot. Wigs, shoes, an entire disguise wardrobe turns Ruth into someone entirely different. She takes friends along, and oh how I would love to have been one of her friends to watch this take place in front of my eyes. She becomes her mother and the transformation in her soul makes her uneasy. The invisible woman is heart wrenching, but through it all, she quickly realizes that by becoming someone else, her experiences are those of the everyday diner and it isn’t always positive. Not only does she review the big restaurants with the well known chef’s, she goes to the ethnic neighborhoods and discovers some tiny little eateries where the food is spectacular.
Again, Ruth shares recipes throughout the book and the reviews that she posts throughout the book are great. She is honest and authentic, you have the sense that she not only cares about the food, but the experience that people have when spending their hard earned dollar on a meal.
I loved this book and found her to be more fascinating yet endearing. I would love to share a meal with her, that would be an experience in itself.
After reading the two books by Ruth Reichl, I have to read them all, she is fantastic.
Our book club event was just as much fun, it brought Ruth to the table.
Our hostess for the night, dare I say she is in her early 80’s, full of fun, life and pure joy. She spent the entire day of our event in the kitchen, cooking her favorite recipes from both books. When we all arrived, she comes to the door in her apron, chef hat and we can tell she has been sweatin’ it out, we just gotta love her and all the work she went too. We were told that if we wanted to dress up as one of Ruth Reichl’s alter ego’s from Garlic and Sapphires to go for it. A few did and it made for a crazy fun evening. The food, all I can say is every dish was incredible.
Here is the menu for dinner with recipes pulled from Comfort Me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires.
Wine of Course
Mushroom Soup: The soup was so full of flavor, a rich earthiness, yet creamy without heavy cream, so good. This recipe came from Comfort Me with Apples
Warm Salad: Tender greens with bacon and a warm dressing, and a bit of acid after the soup. This recipe came from Comfort Me with Apples
Roast Chicken: Juicy, tender with a bit of a crunch to the skin, yummy!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Option 1, the Brussels were julienned, saute in a little butter with bacon, it doesn’t get any better.
For dessert, we had an Apple Pie, there is no better Comfort food than Apple Pie. So sticking with the book title, we ended an amazing dinner Comforted with Apples.
The discussion was lively, we each pulled a question out of the bowl, discussed it and before we moved to the next person we gave our favorite restaurant, briefly explained why, critiqued our favorite dish and became a food critic even for a moment. It was such a fun evening.
I highly recommend these two books and we will chat about other Ruth Reichl books as I read them.
I will see you back soon to chat about the last book in The Ladybug Farm series, Book 7 is The Hummingbird House, and I loved it too.
Until next time,
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2 thoughts on “Garlic and Sapphires; The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl”
Sounds like such fun and so delicious! Would love to have been part of the group.