Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Favorite Writer... This Week

When my mother was in town for Thanksgiving, she lent me the book Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. Reichl is a food critic who initially gained fame as an LA Times food critic and then, the jackpot, the New York Times food critic.

I read her book, a memoir about her times as the food critic for the NYC paper, in about a week flat. (Which, for me working my job, is a speed record.) The book is funny, insightful, touching and, of course, passionate about food. As soon as I finished reading it, I ran to my local library and picked up Tender at the Bone, the memoir of her childhood and young adulthood.

TATB is fascinating, because it tracks one woman's obsession and passion throughout her formative years. She uncovers the early memories that lead her to learn to cook, and the hesitant, almost instinctive choices she made as a teenager and college student that drove her towards her life.

One of my student's lent me her very first book, Mmmm: A Festiary which she self-produced when she was a struggling hippie in New York. It was hilarious in a 70's art foodie sort of way. She enlisted her friends as models to create ironic pictures of different foods. It endeared me to her even more.

I must say that Reichl's books made me want to quit my job, travel to exotic places, eat the food, and call it a career. However, Reichl in her current life manages to be a publishing author and an editor of a high profile magazine, Gourmet. Oh, and a mother and wife. So, I either hate her or I want to be her. I haven't decided yet.