Earlier this week we shared our review of Delancey, a book about a husband and wife team opening up their own pizzeria. We loved that book, written by Molly Wizenberg, who is also a food writer. Today we’re continuing the theme and sharing our review of Delicious, which we also really enjoyed. Like Wizenberg, Ruth Reichl is also a foodie, who once worked as a restaurant critic for both the New York Times and the L.A. Times. She also worked as an editor in chief at Gourmet Magazine, before the magazine closed in 2009. That’s quite a career – and even though I never read Gourmet, I have enjoyed her writing. This is not her first book, but it is her first works of fiction.
Writing, like cooking, is a labor of love. Delicious is the name of a fictional magazine, that the main character works at. She’s from California, and fresh out of college leaves her home, to take this job in NYC. The city, like her home in California is a foodie’s paradise, and though it takes her a while to adjust to life away from home – she falls in love with the city, it’s people, and its food. The main character’s name is Billie, and there seems to be quite a bit of Ruth in the character. I think that’s okay – it makes Billie much more real, and her work at the magazine so much more familiar. She struggles at first at the magazine, she landed this great job at a food magazine – yet doesn’t even cook (yet is forced to cook something for the editor at the job interview)!
She turns out to be a pretty good cook, and thrives at the magazine. There is a bit of history in the story, which I really loved. She’s connected to the magazine’s past when she discovers a series of letters written to a famous chef from a young girl named Lulu. These two exchanged letters during WWII, and Billie finds the letters just behind the magazine’s library. This was quite an experience for her, and seems to lift her out of her fog, since moving so far away from home – and the sister she very close to.
At the end of the book there’s a great recipe for gingerbread that I can’t wait to try. Even though I consider tmyself to be an experienced baker, this will be a challenge! Having just finished this book, I’m now going to find some of her other books. Before writing this book, she had published a few memoirs – about food, life, and her mother. Those will now be on my TBR list!
Next week we’ll be all about banned books – so stay tuned! Enjoy, and keep reading!