Delicious by Ruth Reichl

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Originally published in: 2014

What it’s about: A novel about Billie, a food writer hopeful, who goes to work for a prominent gourmet food magazine as an executive assistant and stumbles upon some letters from World War II between a girl in the Midwest and legendary chef James Beard.

What made me pick it up: I was listening to Ruth Reichl’s most recent memoir My Kitchen Year and googling all sorts of details about her and her life. I decided to see what else Overdrive had of hers and this novel was available in audio. Boom.

My favorite things: If you are a foodie or a lover of Manhattan then this is for you but my favorite part was the shout out for Ohio. The young girl writing letters hails from Akron and in researching what happened to the letter writer heads back to the Buckeye State to explore Cleveland. I always enjoy when books, or even part of them, are set somewhere other than New York. While most major developments were predictable the weaving of story and development of characters was charming and you really are happy when everything turns out all right in the end.

Who it’s great for: Cooks. Clevelanders. Foodies. Fans of charming stories of finding yourself again with the help of good friends and good food and some historical intrigue.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up this book from Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl

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Originally published in: 2015

What it’s about: Legendary chef, restaurant critic, and foodie magazine editor-in-chief Reichl detailing the year after she lost her job when her beloved magazine Gourmet folded during the recession.

What made me pick it up: I was looking for a new audiobook so I was scrolling through new arrivals on Overdrive and there it was. It was also less than seven hours, which is perfect.

My favorite things: I shouldn’t be surprised that such a prolific and talented writer was able to write a memoir and seamlessly incorporate recipes into the story, but it is still so admirable. Reichl writes very honestly of how hard it was to lose her job and face purposelessness and how cooking brought her back to herself and gave her a new focus in life. Also, fans of Gourmet will adore all of her recipes and want to concoct and devour them as she lays them out. I personally can’t wait for summer to put together her Apricot Pie. It is read by the author, so you get an added treat of being told the story by the writer herself.

Who it’s great for: Foodies. Cooks and wannabe cooks. Anyone going through an unexpected life situation who needs a positive role model.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

Originally published in: 2013

What it’s about: In this sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients find out what happens after the implied happily ever afters, and meet some new characters.

What made me pick it up: I really enjoyed Bauermeister’s previous book. Since I liked that on audio, I got this on audio as well.

My favorite things: I was happy to continue following along with some of the characters from Essential Ingredients and see where their stories led and root for their happy endings. I really like how well this author can tell two sides to a story or relationship and make them both sympathetic. Also, her evocation of the Pacific Northwest makes me want to visit soon. Tall trees, dense air, and everything ocean.

Who it’s great for: Fans of sweet love stories, complicated life stories, and solid characters. Also good for cooks and food lovers.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

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Originally published in: 2009

What it’s about: A group of individuals who sign up for a cooking class and how it changes their lives.

What made me pick it up: It has a very engaging cover. The audio was only six hours long.

My favorite things: This book is sweet. I enjoyed all of the characters and the way their stories came full circle in the end. I always enjoy reading about food and cooking, so the descriptions of dishes in this book enchanted me. It might make you hungry. Or at least inspired to cook.

Who it’s great for: Cooks and wannabe cooks. Fans of friendship stories and love stories. Those looking for a fairly gentle novel.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Lohman identifies eight flavors that she believes are integral to and representative of American cuisine and explains the history behind each.

What made me pick it up: I was browsing new books just before lunch and something about food sounded appealing.

My favorite things: I found it interesting to read the reasons behind each flavor’s inclusion. Lohman does a good job of providing historical context for each and discussing the impact of immigration on cuisine. She also visits a variety of production facilities and it’s kind of cool to get a peek into how the different flavors are cultivated. Plus, there are recipes included for each flavor if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Who it’s great for: Fans and readers of culinary history. Cooks and food lovers interested in the story behind the flavors they enjoy.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells