Synopses & Reviews
In Ruth Reichls latest book one that will delight her fans and convert those as yet uninitiated to her charming tales the author brings to life her adventures in pursuit of good meals and good company. Picking up where Tender at the Bone
leaves off, Comfort Me with Apples
recounts Reichls transformation from chef to food writer, a process that led her through restaurants from Bangkok to Paris to Los Angeles and brought lessons in life, love, and food.
It is an apprenticeship by turns delightful and daunting, one told in the most winning and engaging of voices. Reichls anecdotes from a summer lunch with M.F.K. Fisher, a mad dash through the produce market with Wolfgang Puck, and a garlic feast with Alice Waters are priceless. She is unafraid even eager to poke holes in the pretensions of food critics, making each meal a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. The New York Times has said, While all good food critics are humorous .. few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl. In Comfort Me with Apples, Reichl once again demonstrates her inimitable ability to combine food writing, humor, and memoir into an art form.
"In this follow-up to the excellent memoir Tender at the Bone, Reichl (editor-in-chief at Gourmet) displays a sure hand, an open heart and a highly developed palate. As one might expect of a celebrated food writer, Reichl maps her past with delicacies: her introduction to a Dacquoise by a lover on a trip to Paris; the Dry-Fried Shrimp she learned to make on a trip to China, every moment of which was shared with her adventurous father, ill back home, in letters; the Apricot Pie she made for her first husband as their bittersweet marriage slowly crumbled; the Big Chocolate Cake she made for the man who would become her second, on his birthday. Recipes are included, but the text is far from fluffy food writing. Never shying from difficult subjects, Reichl grapples masterfully with the difficulty of ending her first marriage to a man she still loved, but from whom she had grown distant. Perhaps the most beautifully written passages here are those describing Reichl and her second husband's adoption and then loss of a baby whose biological mother handed over her daughter, then recanted before the adoption was final. This is no rueful read, however. Reichl is funny when describing how the members of her Berkeley commune reacted to the news that she was going to become a restaurant reviewer ("You're going to spend your life telling spoiled, rich people where to eat too much obscene food?"), and funnier still when pointing out the pompousness of fellow food insiders. Like a good meal, this has a bit of everything, and all its parts work together to satisfy." Publishers Weekly
"Comfort Me With Apples shows us that even at life's most painful moments, eating and cooking can offer redemption. A great meal has the power to summon memory, to invoke romance, to mend a broken heart. When her personal life falls apart, Ms. Reichl invents a dish called 'Swiss pumpkin' to make herself feel better, and it somehow helps. Not only inventing foods but inventing the words describing foods helps her through difficult times." Jenny Lyn Bader, New York Times
"Two courses of Reichl's literary cooking will leave still ravenous readers hoping for a third serving soon." Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Ruth Reichl is the editor in chief of Gourmet and the author of the bestselling Tender at the Bone, a James Beard Award finalist. She has been the restaurant critic at The New York Times and the food editor and restaurant critic as the Los Angeles Times. Reichl lives in New York City.