Food

Funny memoir

We chatted last week about books we love, and I forgot one of my favorites! Garlic and Sapphires is an incredibly entertaining memoir about Ruth Reichl’s stint as the New York Times food critic. She would dress up in crazy costumes so restaurateurs wouldn’t recognize her. Her costumes transformed her into an old lady, an English teacher from Michigan, a blonde divorcee from the South, a red-haired hippie…the list goes on. Her memoir is hilarious and compelling, and also has beautiful insights about food and relationships. Have you ever read it?

Flashback: I had the book on tape (which Ruth reads herself!)…and actually listened to it on a DISCMAN!

(Cartoon by Roz Chast, via NYCTaughtMe)

  1. Yes, I enjoyed all her autobiographies – laugh out loud funny or wonder if you should be laughing sometimes & then grab you by the heart stuff.

  2. It’s really very funniest post. i have good time spent on our blog. such a nice post here. have a nice day.

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  3. Everytime I drive over to Berkeley, I think of Ruth Reichl. She often uses the street names as recipe names in, I think it’s her second memoir comfort me with apples… anyway…. there is a fantastic recipe. like it will bring tears to your eyes. for Danny Kay’s Lemon Pasta. Make it. People will love you. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Laughing out loud about the discman… totally forgot about those!

    This book looks adorable :)

  5. love ruth reichl! have you read “tender at the bone”? it’s one of my favorites.

  6. Such a fun book — loved it!!

  7. I’ve read this one and Tender at the bone and comfort me with apples. The latter was my favorite of the three but they are all good. And you should definitely try the brownie recipe in Apples..it’s amazing!

  8. Love her! Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples are both favorites. I especially loved reading about her time at the University of Michigan, where I went as well (although I didn’t do much cooking with Cottage Inn, Zingermanns, and Pizza House nearby :))

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  10. oh yes! i read her other books, too, and loved them. she’s had such a fascinating life.

  11. laura, no! i haven’t seen her on top chef masters–going to tivo it right now:)

  12. laura, me too. she’s a master storyteller.

  13. @tall and salty — totally!! i used to listen to audiobooks all the time on my walk to my old job. i loved Middlesex; the guy who read it was amazing — he did all the voices of the greek women, too! :)

  14. I just bought it! Thanks for the suggestion :) I’m starting another semester of graduate school in English Lit so I could use a lighter read. Best, Kristina

  15. I bought this as a bargain book years and years ago and I think I read it at least twice. She comes across as really fun dinner companion!

  16. What?!! I just finished reading the book yesterday (checked it out from the library)!!! Such a great read! What a coincidence!

  17. I love Ruth Reichl’s writing. I’ve read Garlic and Sapphires as well as Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples.

    I loved Tender at the Bone — about her childhood and early 20s, (personal fave Reichl book) and found Comfort Me With Apples to be such a truthful — and raw — telling of times in her life (late 20’s to her times at the LA Times) that really require a writer whose writing about her life to be honest — even about those things you usually don’t tell people.

    If you haven’t read those, I definitely suggest you check them out. They’re definitely different than Garlic and Sapphires, but great reads.

  18. Oh, it’s so funny that you posted this….one of my favorite books is Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess (Gael Greene’s memoir). I LOVED that book. I have no idea why but I always had a crush on Clay Felker so I read Gael’s book to see what she might say regarding him. I never expected to love the book so much! What an amazing job and it was not surprising to me that a person with an amazing and diverse culinary palette would also love sex so much. I will definitely be checking this book out.

  19. I just finished reading this book about 2 days ago! Loved it, can’t wait to read her other ones.

  20. I love Ruth Reichl’s writing! I had to read Tender at the Bone in college and was instantly hooked.

  21. Please have a look at the The wing and the Thigh, its a french comedy with the famous Luis de Funnes (L’aile ou la cuisse). Its been made in 1976 and still is great.

  22. I hope you’ve read her others: Tender at the Bone and Comfort me with Apples. so good. so so good.

  23. Crazy costumes? That’s genius!! Sounds like a great read! xoxo

  24. I loved that book! Her first memoir, Comfort Me With Apples, is actually my favorite. Such a beautiful writer. I definitely recommend it.

  25. Great recommendation:) Cant wait to read it.

  26. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I have an obsession with halarious memoirs and have been wondering about a new good one. Some of my favorites are tina fey, mindy Kaling and chelsea handler.

  27. I’m actually just starting with Tender At the Bone and I love it even though I’m barely into the first fifty pages! Isn’t she just fabulous!

  28. This is one of my favorite books of all time! Actually, all of Ruth’s books are fantastic. I wish she were my aunt…would love to hang out with her to eat, get advice and listen to more of her stories.

  29. Have you read the two books that come before it? Comfort Me with Apples and Tender at the Bone – both AMAZING.

  30. This is one of my all time favorite books! I loved it and have read it multiple times. It always makes me want to travel and eat fabulous food. I always think of it when I am eating sushi as well. Have you seen her on Top Chef Masters? I adore her.

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  32. All of her books are fantastic. I read Tender at the Bone first and just couldn’t get enough, so I read them all. They are just as you said, funny, warm, and leave you really wanting to share a meal with her.

  33. I just read this, I think because another blogger recommended it :)
    And I LOVED it! She’s a great writer, and I love how she thinks about food.
    Really, a discman? That’s the greatest!

  34. Love this book! So happy she’s a judge on Top Chef Masters this season!

  35. I adore this book as well, and was just thinking of it, too, as I have just finished Blood, Bones & Butter. It’s unbelievable — written by Gabrielle Hamilton (of Canal House Cooks lunch/Prune/and so many other things) — and kept me up till all hours of the night till I finished it. Such a good read!

  36. This book is great but the recipes are surprisingly not. Not sure she tested them before publication.

  37. LOVE this book!

  38. Oh Joanna, this couldn´t come up at a better time! I was raiding through Amazon for my next Kindle download ;) Thanks so much!

  39. there were a ton of good book recommendations in your last post about books, but this one is right up my alley! anything that’s food related AND a memoir? yes, please.

    -ale @ http://24thru30.blogspot.com

  40. Getting this book today! I love food and I love reading about it. Thanks for the tip.
    I am super impressed you still have a discman.

  41. I loved this book! Bought it for the name, and the rep of the author. Ruth is an inspiration!

  42. Bought and on its way to me! Thanks!

    I love Jeffrey Steingarten’s food writing. Purposely pompous and hilarious!

  43. I loved that book! Heartwarming and interesting.

  44. Oh, great recommendation! I can’t wait to read it. Ah, the Discman. :)

  45. I commute 2+ hours a day so I listen to a fair number of audiobooks. The ones read by the authors are always so good: Nora Ephron’s “I Remember Nothing” and “I Feel Bad About my Neck” and Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” are some of my favorites (and help take your mind off of traffic). Might have to try this one next.

  46. Ohh I really want to get this book right now. Thanks! I love foodie books and my favourite so far is ‘Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant’. Such a brilliant read:) xoxo