Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet.

“A must for any food lover . . . Reichl is a warm, intimate writer. She peels back the curtain to a glamorous time of magazine-making. You’ll tear through this memoir.”—Refinery29 (The Best New Books of April 2019)


When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.

Praise for Save Me the Plums

“Poignant and hilarious . . . simply delicious . . . Each serving of magazine folklore is worth savoring. In fact, Reichl’s story is juicier than a Peter Luger porterhouse. Dig in.”The New York Times Book Review

“In this smart, touching, and dishy memoir . . . Ruth Reichl recalls her years at the helm of Gourmet magazine with clear eyes, a sense of humor, and some very appealing recipes.”Town & Country (The Must-Read Books of Spring 2019)

“If you haven’t picked up food writing queen Ruth Reichl’s new book, Save Me the Plums, I highly recommend you fix that problem. . . . Reichl is in top form and ready to dish, with every chapter seeming like a dedicated behind-the-scenes documentary on its own.”—Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
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About the author

Ruth Reichl is the bestselling author of the memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires, and For You, Mom, Finally; the novel Delicious!; and, most recently, the cookbook My Kitchen Year. She was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. Previously she was the restaurant critic for The New York Times and served as the food editor and restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. She has been honored with six James Beard Awards for her journalism, magazine feature writing, and criticism. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two cats.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Apr 2, 2019
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780679605232
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Culinary
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Cooking / Essays & Narratives
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From acclaimed novelist Kate Christensen, Blue Plate Special is a mouthwatering literary memoir about an unusual upbringing and the long, winding path to happiness.

“To taste fully is to live fully.” For Kate Christensen, food and eating have always been powerful connectors to self and world—“a subterranean conduit to sensuality, memory, desire.” Her appetites run deep; in her own words, she spent much of her life as “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.” Now, having found them at last, in this passionate feast of a memoir she reflects upon her journey of innocence lost and wisdom gained, mistakes made and lessons learned, and hearts broken and mended.
   In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, and Ruth Reichl, Blue Plate Special is a narrative in which food—eating it, cooking it, reflecting on it—becomes the vehicle for unpacking a life. Christensen explores her history of hunger—not just for food but for love and confidence and a sense of belonging—with a profound honesty, starting with her unorthodox childhood in 1960s Berkeley as the daughter of a mercurial legal activist who ruled the house with his fists. After a whirlwind adolescent awakening, Christensen strikes out to chart her own destiny within the literary world and the world of men, both equally alluring and dangerous. Food of all kinds, from Ho Hos to haute cuisine, remains an evocative constant throughout, not just as sustenance but as a realm of experience unto itself, always reflective of what is going on in her life. She unearths memories—sometimes joyful, sometimes painful—of the love between mother and daughter, sister and sister, and husband and wife, and of the times when the bonds of love were broken. Food sustains her as she endures the pain of these ruptures and fuels her determination not to settle for anything less than the love and contentment for which she’s always yearned.
   The physical and emotional sensuality that defines Christensen’s fiction resonates throughout the pages of Blue Plate Special. A vibrant celebration of life in all its truth and complexity, this book is about embracing the world through the transformative power of food: it’s about listening to your appetites, about having faith, and about learning what is worth holding on to and what is not.
Millions of people fantasize about leaving their old lives behind, enrolling in cooking school, and training to become a chef. But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic—especially at the top cooking school in the country. For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America’s history, a book will give readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.

On the eve of his thirty-eighth birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking. In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution’s many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors. Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer’s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant.

With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day-to-day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional. From the daily tongue-lashings in class to learning the ropes—fast—at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first-person view of one of America’s most famous culinary institutions and one of the world’s most coveted jobs.
When Top Chef judge Gail Simmons first graduated from college, she felt hopelessly lost. All her friends were going to graduate school, business school, law school . . . but what was she going to do? Fortunately, a family friend gave her some invaluable advice-make a list of what you love to do, and let that be your guide. Gail wrote down four words:

Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.

Little did she know, those four words would become the basis for a career as a professional eater, cook, food critic, magazine editor, and television star. Today, she's the host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, permanent judge on Top Chef, and Special Projects Director at Food & Wine magazine. She travels all over the world, eats extraordinary food, and meets fascinating people. She's living the dream that so many of us who love to cook and eat can only imagine. But how did she get there?

Talking with My Mouth Full follows her unusual and inspiring path to success, step-by-step and bite-by-bite. It takes the reader from her early years, growing up in a household where her mother ran a small cooking school, her father made his own wine, and family vacation destinations included Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East; through her adventures at culinary school in New York City and training as an apprentice in two of New York's most acclaimed kitchens; and on to her time spent assisting Vogue's legendary food critic Jeffrey Steingarten, working for renowned chef Daniel Boulud, and ultimately landing her current jobs at Food & Wine and on Top Chef. The book is a tribute to the incredible meals and mentors she's had along the way, examining the somewhat unconventional but always satisfying journey she has taken in order to create a career that didn't even exist when she first started working toward it.

With memorable stories about the greatest (and worst) dishes she's eaten, childhood and behind-the-scenes photos, and recipes from Gail's family and her own kitchen, Talking with My Mouth Full is a true treat.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “An absolute delight to read . . . How lucky we are that [Ruth Reichl] had the courage to follow her appetite.”—Newsday

At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that “food could be a way of making sense of the world. If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were.” Her deliciously crafted memoir Tender at the Bone is the story of a life defined, determined, and enhanced in equal measure by a passion for food, by unforgettable people, and by the love of tales well told. Beginning with her mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first foie gras, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s. Spiced with Reichl’s infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist’s coming-of-age. 

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Ruth Reichl's Delicious!

Praise for Tender at the Bone

“A poignant, yet hilarious, collection of stories about people [Reichl] has known and loved, and who, knowingly or unknowingly, steered her on the path to fulfill her destiny as one of the world’s leading food writers.”—Chicago Sun-Times 

“While all good food writers are humorous . . . few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl.”—The New York Times Book Review 

“Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it. . . . Reichl makes the reader feel present with her, sharing the experience.”—Washington Post Book World

“[In] this lovely memoir .  .  .  we find young Ruth desperately trying to steer her manic mother's unwary guests toward something edible.  It's a job she does now .  .  .  in her columns, and whose intimate imperatives she illuminates in this graceful book.”—The New Yorker

“A savory memoir of [Reichl’s] apprentice years . . . Reichl describes [her] experiences with infectious humor. . . . The descriptions of each sublime taste are mouthwateringly precise. . . . A perfectly balanced stew of memories.”—Kirkus Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

“A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” —Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach 
 
From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist—“a writer of rare talent” (Cheryl Strayed)— and  host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
     In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Los Angeles Times • NPR • Men’s Journal • BookPage • Booklist • Publishers Weekly

In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.

The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.

Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world's most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.

Praise for My Kitchen Year

“Ruth is one of our greatest storytellers today, which you will feel from the moment you open this book and begin to read: No one writes as warmly and engagingly about the all-important intersection of food, life, love, and loss. This book is a lyrical and deeply intimate journey told through recipes, as only Ruth can do.”—Alice Waters

“What will send this book to the top of bestseller lists is the lovely way Reichl describes how dishes come together, like the Greek chicken soup with lemon and egg known as avgolemono, and her talent for assembling a collection of recipes her legions of former Gourmet fans will want to make themselves.”—The Washington Post

“The recipes make for lovely reading, full of Reichl’s elemental wisdom. . . . In the best way possible, My Kitchen Year is cozy, the reading equivalent of curling up next to a fire with a glass of red wine and perhaps the scent of bread in the oven wafting over.”—Vogue

“If anyone can convince us that a dessert, plus two more fabulous dishes, can turn a crummy day around, it’s culinary writer Ruth Reichl, who knows firsthand just how powerful food can be.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“The voice is pure Reichl in a way that makes the reader yearn for a house in the country with a pantry full of staples. . . . And as she finds solace through cooking, we find comfort too.”—Eater (Fall 2015’s Best Cookbooks)
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