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Garlic and Sapphires
     

Garlic and Sapphires

4.1 62
by Ruth Reichl
 

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This delicious new volume of Ruth Reichl's acclaimed memoirs recounts her "adventures in deception," as she goes undercover in the world's finest restaurants. Reichl knows that "to be a good restaurant critic, you have to be anonymous," but when she signs up to be the most important restaurant critic in the country, at The New York Times, her picture is posted

Overview

This delicious new volume of Ruth Reichl's acclaimed memoirs recounts her "adventures in deception," as she goes undercover in the world's finest restaurants. Reichl knows that "to be a good restaurant critic, you have to be anonymous," but when she signs up to be the most important restaurant critic in the country, at The New York Times, her picture is posted in every four-star, low-star, and no-star kitchen in town. Managers offer cash bonuses for advance notice of her visits. They roll out the red carpet whether she likes it or not. What's a critic in search of the truth to do?

Reichl dons a frumpy blond wig and an off-season beige Armani suit. Then on the advice of a friend, an acting coach with a Pygmalion complex, she begins assembling her new character's backstory. She takes to the assignment with astonishing ardor-and thus Molly Hollis, the retired high school teacher from Birmingham, Michigan, nouveau riche from her husband's real estate speculation, is born. And duly ignored, mishandled, and condescended to by the high-power staff at Le Cirque. The result: Reichl's famous double review, first as she ate there as Molly and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, The New York Times food critic.

When restaurateurs learn to watch for Molly, Reichl buys another wig and becomes someone else, and then someone else again, from a chic interior decorator to an eccentric redhead on whom her husband-both disconcertingly and reassuringly-develops a terrible crush. As she puts on her disguises, she finds herself changed not just superficially, but in character. She becomes Molly the schoolmarm, Chloe the seductress, and Brenda the downtown earth mother-and imagine the complexities when she dines out as Miriam, her own mother. As Reichl metes out her critical stars, she gives a remarkable account of how one's outer appearance can influence one's inner character, expectations, and appetites.

Reichl writes, "Every restaurant is a theater...even the modest restaurants offer the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while." Dancing with the Stars examines character, artifice, and excellence on the sumptuously appointed stages of the restaurant world and offers an unprecedented backstage tour of the theater where Ruth Reichl played the role of a lifetime, as the critic of record at The New York Times.

Author Biography: Ruth Reichl is the editor in chief of Gourmet and the author of the bestsellers Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples. She has been the restaurant critic at The New York Times and the food editor and restaurant critic at the Los Angeles Times. Reichl lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Reichl follows up two charming memoirs with an account of the various disguises she donned so she would not be recognized as restaurant critic of the New York Times. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099489979
Publisher:
Arrow Books Ltd.
Publication date:
03/28/2007

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 16, 1948
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
B.A., University of Michigan, 1968; M.A., University of Michigan, 1970
Website:
http://www.ruthreichl.com/

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Garlic and Sapphires 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is less autobiographical than Reichl's other two books, 'Tender at the Bone' and 'Comfort me with apples.' Nonetheless, this book is a great read and hilarious. Reichl talks about moving from being the restaraunt critic for the LA Times to the NY Times. It is great to read about how she dresses up and goes undercover t o see how regular, non-rich people get treated at restaraunts. Great stories and pleasant to read beacuse Reichl has the gift of sounding like your friend and that she is right there telling you what happened to her today.
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful read---funny and enlightening and mouthwatering. Reichl's tenure at the NYT as restaurant critic certainly gave her plenty of fodder for this book. I could have read on and on. Lots of good stuff on how restaurants treat their customers, how they cater to certain customers and especially critics, how the food and service varies by types of customers, etc. And just lots of great writing about food and flavors, some great recipes. Lots of humor and great fun about her disguises and the personalities she took on to be someone else. It's a fast, fun read.
LotteDeno More than 1 year ago
Ruth Reichl takes us through her days as a New York Times Food Critic and the huge task before her -- reviewing restaurants fairly and for the masses, not just the uber rich. Through her reviews she gives everyone a unique and highly descriptive view of the restaurant as a whole from ambiance down to each morsel of food. She makes you feel as if you are right there with her experiencing everything. I especially loved how she created all of her aliases to be able to slip into each restaurant covertly. It was also very enlightening and touching to read how each alias brought out hidden depths of her personality. It allowed her to dig deeper than ever, and understand herself better and realize that really wanted to be. It's an experience that I think so may people wish they could have.
Z9 More than 1 year ago
I've thoroughly enjoyed all the Ruth Reichl books I've read. She is honest and forthcoming about her experiences, sometimes not at all pleasant, as a restaurant critic. She's also refreshingly honest about herself, and the things she sometimes sees about herself that she is not so proud of, or happy about. As a mom, I can appreciate the balance between her job as a critic and her job as a mother. As a wannabe foodie, I especially enjoyed her detailed descriptions of the meals she ate and the experiences she had at the different restaurants. I think her writing is very engaging and it just draws you into her life. She seems like she would be a delightful friend to have, and I was sad to reach the end. As a matter of fact, it's been hard to start another book since then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This brought a little gourmet into my not so gourmet existence with some added insight into human character. Fun and fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every one of Ruth ' s books is engaging and so well.written. I loved Gourmet Magazine and was devastated at it's demise. My subscription, started as an annual Christmas gift from my mother until she died, was devoured. When Gourmet abruptly ended, the publisher finished the subscription with Bon Appetit, good but not the same . ..not even close. We miss you Ruth Reichl!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, wonderful descriptions of restaurants, dishes, people and work politics. Devoured it quickly and was sad when I finished reading.
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AerynKelly13 More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book. I think I've read it four or five times now and I just *love* it. It's marvellous food porn and the fun of experiencing the dinners with her, along with trying to create her characters to remain anonymous, it's all fun.
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