Garlic and Sapphires

Garlic and Sapphires

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Ruth Reichl

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  • Publisher: ARROW BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 24mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 009948997X
  • ISBN 13: 9780099489979
  • Sales rank: 23,253

Product description

"Garlic and Sapphires" is Ruth Reichl's riotous account of the many disguises she employs to dine undetected when she takes on the much coveted and highly prestigious job of "New York Times" restaurant critic. Reichl knows that to be a good critic she has to be anonymous - but her picture is posted in every four-star, low-star kitchen in town and so she embarks on an extraordinary - and hilarious - undercover game of disguise - keeping even her husband and son in the dark. There is her stint as Molly, a frumpy blonde in an off-beige Armani suit that Ruth takes on when reviewing Le Cirque resulting in a double review of the restaurant: first she ate there as Molly; and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, "New York Times" food critic. Then, there is the eccentric, mysterious red head on whom her husband - both disconcertingly and reassuringly - develops a terrible crush. She becomes Brenda the earth mother, Chloe the seductress and even Miriam her own (deceased) mother. What is even more remarkable about Reichl's spy games is that as she takes on these various guises, she finds herself changed not just physically, but also in character revealing how one's outer appearance can very much influence one's inner character, expectations, and appetites.

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Author information

Ruth Reichl began cooking at the age of seven. It was pure self-defense; her mother, who was affectionately known as 'the Queen of Mold,' inadvertently poisoned people, and Ruth felt she could do a slightly better job. Trained as an art historian, she ended up following her passion for food. She had a modest restaurant in Berkeley, then became the restaurant critic of The Los Angeles Times and then the New York Times before being named Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine. She has written four memoirs and three cookbooks, but Delicious! is her first novel. She lives in New York with her husband and son - and deeply regrets that she neglected to give them any reason to learn to cook.

Customer reviews

By Roger Manley 19 Aug 2009 4

If food fascinates you and food writers delight or annoy you, read this. It is highly amusing, informative and very enjoyable.rnrnI am prepared to allow the author some poetic license and she seems to admit that she may have "embroidered" in places. However, even where I felt she was leading me along the garden path I willingly travelled with her.A light, easy read with just a little insight into food journalism.Roger Manley

Review quote

"If this was just an account of life as a restaurant critic, it would be interesting enough. But Ruth Reichl somehow makes this an investigation into personality. In order not to be recognized when on the job as The New York Times' restaurant reviewer, she adopts a number of disguises and notes the effect this has on her own character and behavior. Oh, and the food: when she writes about what she's eating, I just salivate" -- Nigella Lawson Stylist Magazine "Riotously, effortlessly entertaining - Ruth Reichl is witty, fair-minded, brave and a wonderful writer" New York Times "Fast, funny, always near the knuckle - the best kind of food writing - it makes you hungry" Elisabeth Luard "A pleasure from start to finish" Guardian "Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it" Washington Post