Garlic and sapphires

Ruth Reichl

Book - 2005

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BIOGRAPHY/Reichl, Ruth
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2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Reichl, Ruth Due May 31, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York : Penguin Press 2005.
Language
English
Physical Description
333 p.
Bibliography
Includes index.
ISBN
9780143036616
1594200319
Main Author
Ruth Reichl (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

This third volume of Reichl's autobiography covers her years as the New York Times' powerful restaurant critic, and readers of her previous books will relish the tales of her life at the summit of her power. Having been lured east from a successful stint in Los Angeles, Reichl faces a hideously competitive market, where even her predecessor seems out to get her. She adopts a number of disguises to keep restaurant owners from recognizing her. Repeated visits to Le Cirque, Sirio Maccioni's lionized temple of dining, yield wildly differing experiences, so she pens a so-so review only to find out it's the publisher's favorite restaurant. Reichl's insistence on reviewing non-mainstream restaurants upsets those who think Manhattan ends at Central Park North. Reichl offers few other insights into the inner workings of the nation's most powerful newspaper. Some of the book's most affecting episodes involve her young son's love of potatoes in all forms. And a touching encounter with a homeless man in the subway after a particularly chic and elegant lunch outlines the ironies of her profession. Reichl reproduces a number of her most significant reviews, and she also offers recipes for favorite dishes. ((Reviewed February 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

When Reichl, currently editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, left the Los Angeles Times to become the restaurant critic for the New York Times in the 1990s, she learned that a prerequisite for her new job was the "ability to be anonymous." It seemed that every New York City restaurant was watching for her, so Reichl created a few disguises. What she never expected was that these assumed personas would not only affect her reviews but that they would also teach Reichl something different about herself. In between describing her adventures reviewing such restaurants as Le Cirque and the Four Seasons, Reichl details her family life in elegantly spare prose. The author's wonderful personal recipes add their own flavor to this entertaining book, a natural for any reader who enjoyed Reichl's two other beautifully written culinary memoirs (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples) or who lapped up Mimi Sheraton's Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life. Wise and thoroughly satisfying; highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Reichl follows up two charming memoirs with an account of the various disguises she donned so she would not be recognized as restaurant critic of the New York Times. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

As the New York Times's restaurant critic for most of the 1990s, Reichl had what some might consider the best job in town; among her missions were evaluating New York City's steakhouses, deciding whether Le Cirque deserved four stars and tracking down the best place for authentic Chinese cuisine in Queens. Thankfully, the rest of us can live that life vicariously through this vivacious, fascinating memoir. The book-Reichl's third-lifts the lid on the city's storied restaurant culture from the democratic perspective of the everyday diner. Reichl creates wildly innovative getups, becoming Brenda, a red-haired aging hippie, to test the food at Daniel; Chloe, a blonde divorcee, to evaluate Lespinasse; and even her deceased mother, Miriam, to dine at 21. Such elaborate disguises-which include wigs, makeup, thrift store finds and even credit cards in other names-help Reichl maintain anonymity in her work, but they also do more than that. "Every restaurant is a theater," she explains. Each one "offer[s] the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while. Restaurants free us from mundane reality." Reichl's ability to experience meals in such a dramatic way brings an infectious passion to her memoir. Reading this work-which also includes the finished reviews that appeared in the newspaper, as well as a few recipes-ensures that the next time readers sit down in a restaurant, they'll notice things they've never noticed before. Agent, Kathy Robbins. (On sale Apr. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A new installment in the Gourmet editor-in-chief's series of memoirs recounts her visits to some of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, both as herself and as an anonymous diner in disguise, to offer insight into how her dining experiences changed according to her character and whether or not she was recognized. By the author of Comfort Me with Apples. Reprint.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The editor-in-chief of "Gourmet" recounts her visits to some of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, both as herself and as an anonymous diner in disguise, to offer insight into the differences in her dining experiences.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Author of Save Me the Plums Ruth Reichl’s iconic, bestselling memoir of her time as an undercover restaurant critic for The New York Times"Expansive and funny." —Entertainment WeeklyRuth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us—along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews—her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives. “[A] wonderful book, which is funny—at times laugh-out-loud funny—and smart and wise.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Ruth Reichl’s bestselling memoir of her time as an undercover restaurant critic for The New York TimesRuth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us—along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews—her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.“As a memento of her time at the Times she gives us this wonderful book, which is funny—at times laugh-out-loud funny—and smart and wise.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post