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by Ruth Reichl

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Authors:Ruth Reichl
Info:Penguin Books (2005), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned

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


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Nobody describes food like Ruth Reichl. Reading her descriptions made me want to take a flight to New York and enjoy all those restaurants that had gathered her high marks. The narration can perhaps drag on a little bit. There were times where I found myself not caring so I left the book untouched for days. Overall, an enjoyable read. ( )
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
Marvelous, wonderful recounting of Ruth's time as a restaurant critic for the NYTimes. A fantastic read, it's not just about food and disguises, but what she learned about herself along the way, and the people she met... really really fun read. I'd stay up till 2am to finish a chapter, it was so good! ( )
  camelama | Dec 30, 2016 |
Really enjoyable read about how the author came to the job of a New York Times restaurant food critic. To be able to give the best reviews she chose to go in disguise to find out not only how well she would be treated but just how good or bad the food really could be when eating at the establishment she was reviewing. Thoroughly enjoyed her stories and how much fun she had creating new disguises for her job. Picked this one up from the library wanted to read after having read her earlier book Tender at the Bone. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
This memoir, of the author's time as the chief restaurant critic at The New York Times (the 1990's), made me hungry. She described food in such detail that I actually found myself getting angry that I couldn't experience them myself. Her passion for the craft and art of food is evident throughout, which is really the highlight of this book. In fact, I'd say the meals she enjoys are collectively the primary character. The fact that she creates personas (complete with wigs and costumes) in which she can dine anonymously is secondary. If you enjoy food writing, fine dining, and New York City in the 1990's, then this book is for you. ( )
  BooksForYears | Apr 1, 2016 |
I loved this book! It was exactly what I had hoped for, a dishy memoir starting with how Ruth Reichl got her job as food critic of the New York TImes, and detailing the different personas she used to avoid detection when exploring restaurants. The food is lovingly described, as are the restaurants she visits, and the book is peppered with a few of her actual reviews, as well as a few of her personal recipes at relevant points (and I literally want to try every single one of them, as they sound both tasty and fairly simple). By the time I finished the book, I felt like Ruth and I were old school chums who'd just spent a weekend catching up on each other's lives -- that's how approachable and open this book is. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
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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.
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)

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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.

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