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Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table [Paperback]

Ruth Reichl
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table 4.1 out of 5 stars (74)
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Book Description

April 9 2002
In this delightful sequel to her bestseller Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl returns with more tales of love, life, and marvelous meals. Comfort Me with Apples picks up Reichl’s story in 1978, when she puts down her chef’s toque and embarks on a career as a restaurant critic. Her pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles, and her stories of cooking and dining with world-famous chefs range from the madcap to the sublime. Throughout it all, Reichl makes each and every course a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. She shares some of her favorite recipes, while also sharing the intimacies of her personal life in a style so honest and warm that readers will feel they are enjoying a conversation over a meal with a friend.

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From Amazon

Ruth Reichl's first book, the autobiographical Tender at the Bone, disarmed readers with its droll candor. The former restaurant critic of The New York Times and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine told great stories about growing up and loving food. Comfort Me with Apples begins where the first book ended, tracing Reichl's evolution from chef to food writer while detailing the dissolution of her first marriage, the start of a second, and motherhood at the age of 40. The book also limns a sensual journey, Reichl's awakening to the pleasures of sex as well as food, and also to love. Reichl interweaves her diverse coming-of-age narratives with passion (especially on the subject of food), wit, and a no-nonsense grace, all of which add up to a wonderful read--entertaining, but moving, too.

The story begins when Reichl, living in a '70s Berkeley commune, gets her first real job as a restaurant reviewer. Despite the incredulity of her in-the-movement roommates ("You're going to spend your life telling spoiled, rich people where to eat?" asks one), Reichl persists, traveling widely to polish her palate. In the doing she meets food luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck (a mad encounter in a produce market), M.F.K. Fisher (lunch and sweet reminiscences), and Alice Waters (a garlic feast), among others. Her trip to China, which includes clandestine dealings with a former chef, is particularly well handled. The ungluing of her first marriage is depicted in adroit emotional counterpoint to her soaring career, as is her discovery of love with her second husband, unspooled against her father's death. Reichl also provides recipes, such as Fall Mushroom Soup (made to comfort herself and her mother) that, unexpectedly and delightfully, deepen the narrative. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

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. (on sale Apr. 10) Forecast: Even more appetizing than Tender at the Bone, this volume is bound to visit bestseller lists.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scrumptious book Dec 30 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a scrumptious, engaging book that I devoured in a couple of days. It's a little like a grown-up version of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. In her personal memoir, Reichl (a food writer) made me understand how food plays a specific role at certain points in a woman's life - how a chocolate cake can be a declaration of love, how baking sweet potato pies can help overcome the sorrow of a broken relationship. A pleasure to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars comfort me yes July 27 2014
By Jackie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved it all, recipes history and pictures at the end,
Good humour, balance between laughs and sadness.
I really enjoyed the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reichl imparts hope and inspiration July 7 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is beautifully written. The honesty with which Reichl shares the joys and pains of her early professional career, and her ongoing exploration of food and of herself, will offer comfort, hope and inspiration to any reader, regardless of their understanding or passion for food. This is a book that reaches beyond the kitchens' of "foodies" and into all of our lives to offer us an outlet to contemplate the place of confusion, pain, and longing that so often co-exist along side happiness, excitement and fulfillment. Through Reichl's writing, readers are offered an example of how to look inwards at ourselves, and outward at the world, with compassion.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Well, at least she cooks July 7 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Tender at the Bone was a good book. Comfort Me with Apples was not. I finished Bone wanting more, and finished Apples wishing I'd stopped after one course.
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3.0 out of 5 stars appetizer not a main course July 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book, which I gave one star simply for the delicious recipes it provided, was an evocative read. The smells and tastes of the various dishes prepared and consumed float off the page. This sequel to "Tender at the Bone" finds Reichl continuing to review restaurants, as well as deal with her demanding mother. She's also good at describing the characters she met while touring restaurants. However, while I admire her for her willingness to try any dish (even armadillo!), I wish less had been in about her various affairs. While I may be overly judgmental, I found her ruminations about her love life distracting and irritating. While the author is an adult, I just felt like she should have concentrated more on her professional life. When she sticks to food, Reichl is on more secure footing, I think. When she is wondering about her lovers, the book takes on a more teen magazine feel.
However, I had to hand it to her when she finally decides to stop being manipulated by her mother. That description, short as it was, was priceless. No more pussycat, for her!
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2.0 out of 5 stars bland on the palate June 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Worth reading, if just barely, for the dishy (pun intended) anecdotes about Wolfgang Puck, Danny Kaye, and Other Celebrity Chefs I Have Known. Otherwise, this book reads like a soap opera. If you actually want to read about food, sample M.F.K. Fisher instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could be better April 26 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The witty writing drew me in immediately. I laughed aloud at her tales of work and life in Berkeley. Her description of her affairs was painfully long and made me feel embarassed for her and the people involved. It is unclear why she felt it necessary to reveal this area of her life at that level of detail. I almost stopped reading at that point. Thankfully, she moved on to new food and travel adventures. I liked the inclusion of recipes and enjoyed reading about her family life, when it did not expose her unsavory behavior. Overall this was a quick, funny read that she could have focused more succinctly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'll keep this short April 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I read Tender at the Bone, another 5* read, and this one. I have two things to say about both of these books: 1) Extremely pleasurable reading; and 2) I feel a little lost and sad when I see these books at the library or bookstore knowing that I have already read them. I hope she writes another memoir.
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