Discovering Ruth Reichl
Every now and again you come across a writer that you just love. Everything about them: their stories, their writing, their depth and honesty. And then you have to purchase every book they've ever written and disappear for a while; marvelling over their words, immersing yourself in their tales.
A few months ago just before my fortieth birthday I discovered Ruth Reichl. On the one hand I'm slightly embarrassed that it took me so long to find her. And, on the other, I'm pleased that I have only just discovered her because it meant I could greedily devour her back catalogue.
(Below are my Instagram photographs of her novels. Taken with great excitement.)
Ruth Reichl is a cook, restaurant critic, writer and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine. She has written the memoirs: Tender At The Bone , Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic And Sapphires. Last year her first novel, Delicious!, was published. This year Ruth has published a cookbook/memoir (the best kind of cookbook). It is called My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life and it follows the year after the sudden decision, by the publishers, to close the American institution that was Gourmet magazine. It was a shock to Ruth and the rest of the staff at the magazine. So Ruth did what she'd done many years before when she was "confused, lonely or frightened". She disappeared into the kitchen.
Not only do I love Ruth's writing; the way she describes food and taste and how she takes the reader along with her on her foodie rollercoaster life, but I can also relate to using the kitchen as a kind of therapy. I did this too, after I'd had my first child. And, even now, if I feel overwhelmed, sad, or lonely, I find myself in the kitchen, more often than not, baking.
I've got one memoir of Ruth's left to read. Tender At The Bone: Growing Up at the Table is her first memoir, so yes, I should have begun my Ruth Reichl journey with it. However, after greedily reading the rest of her books, including her brilliant novel, which, incidentally, I think is my most favourite novel of the year (it will get a post all to itself), I've decided to savour this one.
But I have started to read her cookbook. After all, how could I resist?