Monday, October 30, 2017

Garlic and Sapphires - Ruth Reichl

Garlic and Sapphires
Title: Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
Author: Ruth Reichl
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 334
Genre: Food / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I've read some of Reichl's other work
Date Completed: 10/23/17

Summary: Reichl recounts her time working as the restaurant critic for The New York Times: the disguises she wore, the food she ate, and the way the job changed her.

What I Thought: I have really enjoyed the other works I have written by Reichl, fiction and nonfiction. Her prose is easy to read and feels familiar. Though her life experiences have been very different from most of her readers, she invites you into her space and you feel part of her world.

This is especially true here. While many of us would dream of being the food critic for The New York Times, Reichl reveals what it's really like. There are incredible benefits, to be sure. However, it also required incredible sacrifices of her and her family.

The book is a really fun read. Reichl goes into detail about each of her various disguises and what it was like to inhabit that character. They each bring out a different side of her and you can see that Reichl would likely have enjoyed a secondary career in theatre. 

She also includes her reviews of various restaurants. It's nice to have those at the end of each chapter to give you a glimpse of how her work translated to the newspaper pages. 

I really liked that Reichl did not shy away from addressing some of the elitism involved in the job. She talks about how important it was to her to start visiting and reviewing restaurants of all cuisines and not just European-based food. She also has a chapter dealing with the contrast of fine dining and the poverty in New York and the country. While she doesn't have a solution, I do appreciate that she addressed this and acknowledged it made her uncomfortable at times. 

Mostly, this is just a quick, enjoyable dip into a world most of us will never know. Most of us will never dine at these insanely expensive restaurants as Reichl frequently did. However, it's a treat to live vicariously through her for a bit.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe
Other Books By Ruth Reichl: Delicious! / Tender at the Bone

A Reduced Review: A very fun trip into the reality of being the food critic at The New York Times

No comments:

Post a Comment