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