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Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl

Delicious!: A Novel (edition 2015)

by Ruth Reichl (Author)

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7169719,175 (3.85)25
Title:Delicious!: A Novel
Authors:Ruth Reichl (Author)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2015), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, novel, New York, food, finished, 2018, Ohio

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Delicious! by Ruth Reichl


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Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
Not my usual fare, but I enjoyed the story very much. Reading about the food scene in NYC was interesting and I liked the element of the WW II letters and the mystery surrounding them. ( )
  MichelleConnell | Sep 26, 2018 |
Ruth's fictional spin on a foodie magazine going belly-up is a wonderful read. It's hard not to wonder how much of the detail comes from her experiences at Gourmet before it shut down, but Reichl's knowledge of food and beautiful voice when she writes about it is hard to beat. ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
Great fun to read. I’ve always dreamed about exploring a huge old house and finding treasure in the attic so this really worked for me. I liked the food history relating to WWII and the Italians and finding out that pumpkin leaves are edible, and that immature milkweed floss is delicious and cheesy.

Plus the food porn aspect is ever so drool worthy. ( )
  KaterinaBead | Aug 1, 2018 |
Boring DNF.
  its_aduck | Jun 6, 2018 |
I'm torn. If I'm fully honest with myself, I'm giving this three stars because it's Ruth Reichl, for god's sake, and I adore Ruth Reichl. She's sassy, smart, no-nonsense, and does not suffer fools gladly. Besides, she once had my dream job.

Unfortunately, the same woman who penned candid critiques of the some of the most famous (and over-rated) restaurants in the country and re-styled Gourmet from a pretentious, cold tome into a warm, interesting, useful tool isn't the same Ruth Reichl who wrote this novel.

Or is she?

Of course, the food descriptions are wonderful. It's a foodie's version of erotica in some places. One would expect that. But we already knew Reichl can write beautifully about food, ingredients, and cooking. That isn't going to carry a novel, though; there needs to be more.

For the first half of the book, I was immensely disappointed. I found the plot predictable, the characters caricatures, and the whole thing saccharine. No, not saccharine as in "overly sweet." Saccharine as "artificially manufactured chemical substance that's falsely sweet with a bitter undertone." Billie has a "perfect" palate. Billie self-deprecates at every turn and hides behind a manufactured plainness. Billie is a fabulous writer. Billie just happens to meet everyone worth knowing in the food scene of NYC about ten minutes after blowing into town. lalalala. Even her editor's dog loves her. Billie has Big Trauma that she won't talk about but that is as obvious as the nose on her supposedly plain face. Billie adores her perfect older sister who was everything Billie isn't. lalalala. One doesn't have to be Freud to see what's coming. (Really, if you don't see the thing coming with her sister by the third chapter, you aren't paying attention.) It's a bit of foodie history, acted out with a scavenger hunt mystery, wrapped in fluff.

And yet....

At the halfway point of the book, it occurred to me that Reichl might be doing all this on purpose. This might not be the amateurish first novel it appears at first glance. (Yes, she's an experienced writer, but non-fiction and fiction are--or at least they used to be--two very different things.) Maybe this simplistic plot is satire or at least a ruse. Reichl certainly works in some surgically-precise cuts toward the food world and the magazine publishing world. She pokes fun at the posturing and fickleness of the industry. It reminded me a little of the tactics of a court jester, acting the fool while making acute insinuations about the court politics and players. Reichl is no novice pretending to know an industry; she is a major player of that industry. I kept reading.

I still can't say that what I first considered somewhat banal hides some genius satirical message, but the book got more enjoyable. It was still a predictable plot spun out by stereotyped characters. It's hard to shake the feeling that there are some inside jokes here, ones that would be...well...delicious, if only I knew enough about the demise of Gourmet and the high-brow food "culture" to untangle the punchlines.

In the end, I liked it better than I did when I was reading. ( )
  Yaaresse | Apr 24, 2018 |
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To the memory of Marion Cunningham. I miss her every day.
First words
"You should have used fresh ginger!"
History is the story we tell the future about the past, and we have an obligation to get it right.
I thought that when people spoke of someone's face 'lighting up,' it was merely a figure of speech.
The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is s if it knows that you're afraid if it.
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Working as a public relations hotline consultant for a once-prestigious culinary magazine, Billie Breslin unexpectedly enters a world of New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors while reading World War II letters exchanged between a plucky 12-year-old and James Beard.… (more)

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