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Delicious! [Hardcover]

Ruth Reichl
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 6 2014
In her bestselling memoirs Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.
     Billie Breslin has travelled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is suddenly shut down, the colourful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee"--a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries--until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.
     Delicious! carries the reader to the colourful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors. And from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues--the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.

Frequently Bought Together

Delicious! + Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise + Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.21

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Review

   • "[Ruth Reichl is] the culinary scene queen...the most influential food person in America today." -- National Post 

   • "...an all around role model to food critics everywhere." -- The Toronto Star 

   • "Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it...Reichl makes the reader feel present with her, sharing her experience." -- The Washington Post Book World 

   • "An absolute delight to read...how lucky we are that [Reichl] has the courage to follow her appetite." -- Newsday 

   • "[Reichl] is fair-minded, brave, and a wonderful writer." -- The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

RUTH REICHL was Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. She lives in New York City with her husband, son, and two cats.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... July 9 2014
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
2.5 stars...

From New West magazine to the LA Times to the NY Times and finally as editor in chief of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl has reigned as the world's best food writer for more than four decades. Her three memoirs add up to a fascinating autobiography that balances youthful innocence, an honest reverence for great chefs and a playful willingness to mock the pretensions of haute cuisine. Unfortunately, with her first novel, "Delicious!", she proves that her talent lies firmly and uniquely in non-fiction.

In an interview with Ann Patchett, Reichl insists that she "bent over backwards" to make her fiction debut non autobiographical. Hard to believe when her protagonist, Billie Breslin, finds herself out of a job after her employer, Delicious! magazine, decides to shut its doors. Gourmet in thin disguise, anyone? But, to back up, Billie discovered as a young girl that she possessed an "extraordinary palate," enabling her to identify the ingredients in any dish. When she leaves her family in California and heads to New York (a la Reichl herself), she lands a plum job at Delicious! after cooking for the magazine's editor, Jake Newberry. For reasons not specified until well into the novel, Billie has a phobia about cooking: "I don't cook," she says with finality. Not exactly an asset for an employee of a food magazine.

An intact Federal mansion of historical importance houses the offices of Delicious! wherein lies a cast of cliched characters: Maggie, the hard-hearted executive food editor, Diana, the friendly on-staff cook who becomes Billie’s mentor, Sammy, the gay, worldly-wise and kind travel writer and “Young Arthur” Pickwick who belongs to the family of the magazine's owners, one which suspiciously mirrors the Newhouses of Conde Nast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read! July 9 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a terrific story, set in the food world. I've always loved Ruth Reichl's writing,and found I could not put this book down. Her characters are likeable and honest. I heartily recommend this book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not delicious but a nice snack June 25 2014
By tGP
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been a big fan of Ruth Reichl's memoirs . While there were many charming bits and pieces in this novel, I think she is a much stronger writer of non- fiction. Her characters are very predictable and the plot is a little far-fetched but because Reichl is such a knowledgeable food writer, I hung in for her descriptive meals. A rather thin hook to hang a tale by.
TGP
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