Sunday, May 4, 2014

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Delicious! is happiness distilled in a gingerbread cake.  Ruth Reichl, the former New York Times restaurant critic, editor of Gourmet magazine, and acclaimed author of memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples cooks up a romantic romp in her first foray into fiction. 

Delicious! Ingredients:  
·         1 cup girl with a palette so discerning it can identify every ingredient in a dish and know just what else it needs
·         ½ cup insider gossip about magazines like the late, great Gourmet
·         1 brimming cup of a handsome, witty man known as “the Complainer”
·         ½ cup sumptuous hidden library of culinary history
·         ½ cup World War II mystery/romance revelation
·         ¼ cup prejudice toward Italians during the war effort 
·         ¾ cup view of delectable New York bakeries, delicatessens and restaurants
·         1 splash of James Beard and his imagined World War II correspondence
·         A pinch of an epistolary novel in the daily emails the heroine sends her sister
·         Several dashes of humor
·        Recipes including one for the celebrated gingerbread cake

Twenty-one-year-old Billie Breslin, the girl with the uncanny palette, leaves California and college for New York and a dream job at Delicious!, a Gourmet-like magazine. She misses her sister Genie and emails her every day describing her new life. She also works weekends at a quintessential New York gourmet delicatessen. When the magazine abruptly closes, Billie is kept on to field the Delicious! recipe guarantee and she finds a trove of WWII letters from a 12-year-old Akron girl to James Beard hidden in a secret room behind the magazine’s locked library.   Puzzles abound as Billie falls for a shop customer known affectionately as “the complainer.”  

Summing it Up:  Delicious won’t be nominated for a Pulitzer but it’s the kind of romp you enjoy for what it is - a simple, uncomplicated gingerbread cake of a romantic treat that isn’t meant to be a deconstructed masterpiece.  You don’t care that it’s a bit predictable because you like the characters, cheer for the romance, and above all you absolutely adore the recipes and insider foodie information.  It makes you want to head to the nearest Italian deli to find your own romantic stranger then cook a gourmet meal.

Mother’s Day Alert:  If your Mom still keeps her copies of “Gourmet” or “Bon Appetit” and adored Meryl Streep as Julia Child then this is absolutely the best non-edible gift you can give her this year. P.S. You will probably read it yourself BEFORE you wrap it.

Rating:  4 stars   
Category: Dessert, Fiction, Grandma’s Pot Roast
Publication date: May 6, 2014
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