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Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise (2005)

by Ruth Reichl

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» See also 112 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
I keep it on the cookbook shelf for the roast chicken recipe, but I always get sucked into the stories
  revliz | Jun 14, 2015 |
This was a pleasant visit. I do enjoy food criticism when it's well done. Reichl seemed to develop an identity crisis though. ( )
  2wonderY | Jun 10, 2015 |
a good read; makes you hungry ( )
  rosies | May 16, 2015 |
A book which doesn't disappoint. It meets expectations. But nothing else. If you expect to read about restaurant critics, their bitching and moaning, if you expect to read about poor service in restaurants and perfect service once they discover the food critic in their dining room then this book won't disappoint.

Ruth Reichl writes about her time at the New York Times. She pulls all the cliches and stereotypes. Life at a big American newspaper is described exactly as you would expect it. Throw in a husband not really into fancy food, a little son, a colleague who has cancer and you get the mix for a Hollywood romance. Maybe that's what Reichl was writing for, the movie contract.

There is nothing surprising, no excitment, no clever twists, the plot just flows along the soft bends in the story's little creek. ( )
  PeterNZ | May 11, 2015 |
Very interesting and humorous as well though the author does discover a mean and nasty side to herself when she reviewed the Box Tree in the guise of Emily Stone. The fact that she had to visit the restaurants in disguise to find out how and what they served to regular customers. Very often the between impressing a food critic and serving a regular customer was the difference between night and day. When she joined the New York Times she started reviewing ethnic restaurants, sushi bars, and Mom & Pop eateries which really rocked the established boat. Her son thought it a great adventure with his mom dressing up as different people but her husband wasn't so keen on dining out with some of the people who won a charity dinner with her. Her job also meant she often couldn't have dinner with her family. She provides recipes in the book as well. A quick read that holds your attention throughout.
  lisa.schureman | Jan 4, 2015 |
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For my family, all of you, with many thanks and much love.
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"You gonna eat that?" The woman is eyeing the tray the flight attendant has just set before me.
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The waiting room looked like a graveyard for rejected flower arrangements.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143036610, Paperback)

Fans of Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples know that Ruth Reichl is a wonderful memoirist--a funny, poignant, and candid storyteller whose books contain a happy mix of memories, recipes, and personal revelations. Amazon.com Interview
We chewed the fat with Ruth. Read our interview. What they might not fully appreciate is that Reichl is an absolute marvel when it comes to writing about food--she can describe a dish in such satisfying detail that it becomes unnecessary for readers to eat. In her third memoir, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Reichl focuses on her life as a food critic, dishing up a feast of fabulous meals enjoyed during her tenure at The New York Times. As a critic, Reichl was determined to review the "true" nature of each restaurant she visited, so she often dined incognito--each chapter of her book highlights a new disguise, a different restaurant (including the original reviews from the Times), and a fresh culinary adventure. Garlic and Sapphires is another delicious and delightful book, sure to satisfy Reichl's foodie fans and leave admirerers looking forward to her next book, hopefully about her life with Gourmet. --Daphne Durham

More from Ruth Reichl
Tender at the Bone
Comfort Me with Apples
The Gourmet Cookbook
Remembrance of Things Paris
Endless Feasts
Gourmet magazine


Amazon.com's The Significant Seven
Ruth Reichl answers the seven questions we ask every author.


Q: What book has had the most significant impact on your life?
A: Kate Simon’s New York Places and Pleasures. I read it as a little girl and then went out and wandered the city. She was a wonderful writer, and she taught me not only to see New York in a whole new way, but to look, and taste, beneath the surface.

Q: You are stranded on a desert island with only one book, one CD, and one DVD--what are they?
A: Ulysses by James Joyce. What better place to finally get through it?

Keith Jarrett's The Köln Concert. If you’re going to listen to one piece over and over, this is one that doesn’t get tiresome.

How to Build a Boat in Five Easy Steps. Since I’m going to be watching one movie over and over, it might as well be useful.

Q: What is the worst lie you've ever told?
A: I’m such a good liar, I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Q: Describe the perfect writing environment.
A: I can write pretty much anywhere. But I prefer small, cozy spaces, with a good view over a lake or a forest, and room for the cats to curl up.

Q: If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
A: "She’ll be right back."

Q: Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
A: Elizabeth I. She fascinates me. She had a great mind, enormous appetites--and she was a survivor. The most interesting woman of an interesting time, and I have a million questions I’d like to ask her.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: You mean after creating world peace? This is a hard one. But I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The editor-in-chief of "Gourmet" recounts her visits to some of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, both as herself and as an anonymous diner in disguise, to offer insight into the differences in her dining experiences.

» see all 4 descriptions

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