Those of us out there who love food – more than just eating food but exploring the provenance, methods of preparing, the culinary and dining experience – have surely heard of Ruth Reichl. Her career is legendary. The former food editor for the Los Angeles Times and a former restaurant critic for the New York Times, Reichl has written more than 10 books, countless articles, and has produced a series of successful food and lifestyle television programs.
Her latest offering, a memoir called My Kitchen Year - 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, details her life after her longtime stint as the editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, a well-known publication that shuttered its doors while she was at the helm.
Reichl writes that no one was more shocked than her when Gourmet’s parent company announced they were shutting down the much-lauded magazine in 2009, and she found herself completely unsure of her future. But she had one respite.
“I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened. I disappeared into the kitchen.”
There she went through a series of seasons, both in the world around her and in her emotions. Along the way, she says she learned what it meant to really cook again, eventually collecting 136 recipes that helped her along in her journey and forming the foundation of her book.
Described as part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year defies category and genre while providing an amazing read for anyone who loves food and loves working in their kitchen.
Garnering near universal praise for the book, Vogue Magazine said “The recipes make for lovely reading, full of Reichl’s elemental wisdom. . . . In the best way possible, My Kitchen Year is cozy, the reading equivalent of curling up next to a fire with a glass of red wine and perhaps the scent of bread in the oven wafting over.”
Pick a copy up at Mitchell’s Book Corner or Nantucket Bookworks today, and look forward to hearing her speak at this year’s Nantucket Book Festival, Friday, June 16 through Sunday, June 18.
- Josh Gray