Thursday, 22 October 2015

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl

My Kitchen Year
136 Recipes That Saved My Life
by Ruth Reichl

Hardcover, 352 pages
Publisher: Appetite by Random House

Once again Ruth Reichl hits it out of the park. This culinary memoir is written in her classic warm and personal style, blurring the lines between cookbook, confession, poetic vision and autobiography.

The recipes are simple and Reichl feels they are more of a conversation with food and style than a set of directions to be followed.

Freshness and meditative involvement are key. From the shopping to the prepping to the cooking to the tasting to the eating to the clean-up, Ruth emphasizes a meditative passion with food.

My Kitchen Year follows the closing of Gourmet Magazine and Ruth's need to find stability, equilibrium. She goes back to her food roots, that of discovery and simple passions. This, plus her interaction with friends and fans sets her on a new path, of finding out who she is again. Remembering.

Food is seductive. Eating a pleasure. We are reminded to slow down and savour.

A lovely book.

Rated as Best of Fall and Best of October cookbooks.

From the Back Flap:

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.


Ruth Reichl is the bestselling author of the memoirs Garlic and Sapphires, Tender at the Bone, and Comfort Me with Apples and the novel Delicious! She was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two cats.