LOVE: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

07BOOK-superJumbo

Last year when I heard that Ruth Reichl (former editor of Gourmet Magazine) wrote her first fiction book aptly titled, DELICIOUS!  I immediately added it to my  to-be-read shelf and waited for its release date.

She ended up having a reading at the independent bookstore close to my home and  I arrived early  and then joined the crowds on a warm Pasadena night to hear her read and have my book signed.

Surprisingly, when I came home, I read a few pages, but then placed my autographed copy of Delicious! on my bookshelf — where it has sat for the last year.

I just didn’t feel ready to read it yet, and now I think it’s because of all the chatter  at the time of her release and how it had been given the unpopular branding of  “fluff” “chick lit” “summer/light reading”  which, isn’t a compliment in the literary community.

The New York Times, where she worked as a highly popular and well-respected food critic for years gave her new book such a harsh review I had to wonder what she had done to her former co-worker to receive such a  lashing.

Here’s a taste:

“Ms. Reichl’s novel, however, is strictly kid stuff. It’s a gauzy ode to the liberating virtues of pleasure, glazed with warmth and uplift, so feebly written and idea free that it will make you wonder if the energy we’ve been putting into food these last few decades hasn’t made us each lose, on average, a dozen I.Q. points.” –  New York Times, May 6, 2014 

Pretty rough, right?

So, I let the book sit and I’d pass it everyday and stare at its beautiful book binder that said Delicious!  in swirly letters and I knew that when I was ready, I’d try again.  And so almost a year later, I did.  Over the weekend, I pulled it from my bookshelf and devoured it in a few days. It was lovely, smart, well-researched, thoughtful and a wonderful premise. It was a happily-ever-after kinda book and that’s OK.  It’s more than OK, it’s what she wanted to write and that’s the beauty of books.

And so for a few days, I lived inside of a gorgeous historical mansion where I was a writer,  I worked at a cheese shop, read old letters by James Beard and got to witness the journey of a woman who needed to find herself and fall in love.

If you love great writing and good food, Delicious! is the perfect entree!

 

 

Comments

  1. Great post! Literary snobs love to bash Chick Lit and women’s fiction as fluff, drivel, etc. Don’t let the haters influence your personal tastes. Read and write what you love!

  2. I read this one right away. I got it for review and was reading it just before heading off to Australia for 2.5 weeks. I was so into it that I made the decision to pack yet another (hardcover) book that I was almost finished just so I could finish it asap! I was so interested and wrapped up in it! Then, once I got back to reality (try being a blogger and social media addict without wifi for that long…it’s hard! Even when you’re in an awesome country) I realized that she was getting just the worst reviews. It really bothered me! I don’t think I realized why until I read your post. I hate that authors and their work are shamed because it’s not “literary.” I honestly didn’t think of this one as a beach read or anything like that but maybe that’s because I’m a chick lit fan and this one didn’t quite fit with the genre as I define it. BUT maybe I’m falling into the pink cover trap, but in reverse. I also now feel like this is a stream of consciousness comment that isn’t making sense. I will now stop. lol Thanks for posting about this!

    • Kaley,

      Thanks for your comment! Your stream of consciousness comment made complete sense! I don’t really see it as Chick Lit either … has a more Women’s Fiction feel, but she was skewered for it either way. She actually discussed it at the reading where I met her and she said that a lot of her colleagues were disappointed that her first fiction was … happy. But she wrote what she likes to read. And good on her, because I thought it was so great!

      Thanks!

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