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2 Beaverton Cooking and Food- Gastronomic Literature
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Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table


Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Cover

ISBN13: 9780812981117
ISBN10: 0812981111
Condition: Standard
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prufrock31, August 10, 2012 (view all comments by prufrock31)
I loved Ruth Reichl's work as editor of Gourmet, so it was inevitable that I would eventually read her books as well. But this one, at least, is about so much more than food: Reichl's friendly, unassuming prose leads us through her coming of age by way of college, global travel, life in a California commune, and painful family turmoil. Naturally the chapters are punctuated by recipes that represent her various travels, traditions, and phases of life. I look forward to seeing where her other memoirs lead her!
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dwrites, March 6, 2012 (view all comments by dwrites)
An utterly delightful memoir with places exotic and (sort of) homespun circling around some pretty sumptuous recipes. Any traveler or child gone off to school without really wanting to will recognize how sometimes a nightmare becomes paradise and sometimes it's the other way around.

Reichl unfurls the flag of how she became a very fine chef by happening into recipes out of desperation (with a mother who scrapes mold off of food, or sometimes doesn't even bother, and serves it to guests at large parties) and out of love -- for the food and for the many cooks she meets on adventures she seems to have happened into throughout her life. By necessity starting to cook by about age 7, recipes and food experimentation were never causes for anxiety for this autonomous (also by necessity) girl and young woman. They were a means to an end and then, of course, to the heart of all matters.

I can't wait to try all the recipes. Well, almost all: I'm taking a pass on the ham-style corned beef (from mold-mother's recipes), and maybe on that dish that combines chicken and a lot of sugar, and but who knows? Reading about Reichl's adventures makes me want to try just about anything!

Reichl tells us in an afterword that the recipes dotted throughout the book like butter on top of a good custard take the place of photographs, which come at the end of the book. I almost missed a good opportunity by bypassing the recipes, the faster to consume the story; but when I chanced to stop and look one over, I realized my mistake: Anyone who likes to cook will easily slide a little deeper into the person whose recipe appears on the page and it is worth the effort. There is something visceral that you take away from such an offering that cannot be conveyed in any photograph.

Apple dumplings with hard sauce follows a story about an adopted grandma and her Barbadian cook who have a secret; fried chicken illuminates a section about the woman in the Village (what do you mean, What village? It was the '60s!) Reichl met in an integrated bar -- one of two in the college town of Ann Arbor; and on and on through school in Montreal and a cheap trip to the Middle East ... Such characters, and such colorful verbal drawings of them, like a piquant side dish, chapter after chapter.

Memoir can be such a yawner, but not when it's Ruth Reichl telling the tale!
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Product Details

Reichl, Ruth
Random House Trade
Personal Memoirs
Cooks -- United States.
Cooking and Food-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Random House Reader's Circle
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.04x5.24x.73 in. .54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General
Cooking and Food » General

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Random House Trade - English 9780812981117 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This deliciously crafted memoir is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told. A witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist's coming-of-age.
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