Food Critics

Sunday, 11 March 2012
Food critics, in my world, are known as journalists. Most people in "the real world" would perceive them as very lucky people who get to eat fine meals and drink the best wine, whine about it on a media platform and get paid big bucks to do so. I'd like to conduct research about food critics and might eventually do so but that is not the point of this post.

The point is to introduce you to Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires. This is not a new book and was, in fact, published in 1995. No matter. This is one of the best books I've read about food since Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France. Order a copy on Amazon, iTunes, Kindle...whatever. Used books are cheap these days!

Reichel moves to New York City from LA with her husband and young son to become THE food critic for The New York Times. Along the way she stumbles onto amazing food at to-die-for restaurants but also falls head first into horrible places with poor service and food that isn't fit to eat. She writes in a funny narrative and the best part of the book is when you imagine her disguises and how they come about. Reichel must attempt to conceal her identity along the way because restaurant managers are watching for her.

So far, I've learned much about raw oysters (how to tell if they are fresh), to cook a steak when it is room temperature rather than cold, that it is perfectly fine to send luke-warm soup back to the kitchen and that the sommelier is usually delighted to come to the table and discuss wine choices... you just have to ask the waiter to send him/her over...

Reichel also includes recipes throughout the book that help to establish New York food: New York Cheesecake, mussels, hash browns, baked Rhubarb and various other lovely dishes. As did Julie in her blog and book, Julie and Julia, I would love to commit to cooking through each recipe and offer a review of sorts as Reichel does. I haven't decided if I have the time for this project yet, but at least I already have a volunteer who says he'll act as taste-tester. As Reichel teaches the reader in her book, as a food critic you always need a partner in crime.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

P.S. If you haven't seen Julie and Julia, the movie is fantastic but the book was even better.


LizP said...

I love it when books are better than awesome movies!

Denae said...

Me too! This book is certainly a favorite.