garlic and sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise

I just finished this great book (yes, I still read even though I’m addicted to Lost…sometimes my eyes start to hurt from staring at a screen for so long and I need a break). It’s the story of Ruth Reichl, former food critic of the New York Times, and her wonderful adventures. It includes her own story, along with fabulous restaurant reviews, and some recipes (rather than illustrations) that I am very excited to try out.

My fabulous friend, Kelly, sent it to me after she read it because she thought I’d like it. She was absolutely right. The descriptions in this book are like porn for a foodie. Not only that, but one of her disguises is named Chloe. It happens to be her most tawdry character. The irony was too funny.

Anyway, as I said, the book chronicles her experiences dining at amazing upscale restaurants throughout New York, both in disguise and as herself, and highlights the differences in service and quality. Her descriptions of food had me salivating constantly. I just wish I had the budget to eat at all of the fabulous restaurants (not the crappy ones…and there are a few) that she mentions. Not only that, but I learned a lot, like I didn’t know (and this is embarrassing to admit) that when you eat nigiri (raw fish on rice), it’s an insult to dip the rice into soy sauce, or that soba noodles are traditionally served cold and extremely difficult to make well. I also had to look up some of the ingredients listed because they were unfamiliar. I love learning new things!

If you’re not into food, it might not be the most interesting book (although I think it is very well written), but I loved it and would highly recommend it to anyone who is.

7 thoughts on “garlic and sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise

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  2. I read this last year, and adored it. Here is another one you have to read: French By Heart by Rebecca Ramsey. It’s every bit as fabulous as Garlic and Sapphires, but in a french sort of way.

  3. OH…I read one of her books called Tender at the Bone that was really good. I’ll have to add this one to my list!

  4. I’m supposed to serve Soba noodles cold? Really? Shit. Who knew? I heard an interview with the author (on an NPR podcast I think.) It’s a must read.

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