Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl

Title: Tender at the Bone
Author: Ruth Reichl
Date Finished: January 30, 2008
Yearly Count: 6
Pages: 282
Rating: 4.25/5

I can say with some certainty that two of my most beloved aspects of life are reading and food (well, other than the obvious hubby, family, friends, etc). Obviously I love to read. :) But I also love food. I love to eat. I love going to restaurants and trying new things; I love being in my kitchen and baking or cooking. As soon as I turned in my last grad paper, I marched into the kitchen (after having very little sleep) and baked enough goodies to pass around to my friends as Christmas gifts with enough left over to feed our large family during graduation. I LOVE food. (Hubby could care less for either reading or food...go figure!).

So this book combines two of my favorite things. Tender at the Bone is about Ruth Reichl's coming of age as it relates to food. She begins her story as a young child anxious to save guests at her mother’s dinner parties from inevitable food poisoning, a task which enabled her to move into a more dominant role in the kitchen. Reichl remembers her school days in Quebec where she befriends an unlikely companion whose parents introduce her to fine dining. She is convinced the love of her life fell in love with her cooking first, and her cooking education continues in a Berkeley “commune,” a doomed French restaurant in Detroit, and from the various people she meets throughout her early adulthood.

Each section of Reichl’s development was a pleasure to read, and I loved seeing all of the influences play a part in her eventual role as a food critic. Her writing style is easy, and while I didn’t think her book was laugh-out-loud funny, it was entertaining and amusing. I felt, though, that the ending of the book got away from her main “thesis” when she began talking about her mother’s illness and the effect it had on her. While this was an important part of her life, it seemed to be a little bit of a digression from main theme of the importance of food in shaping who she became.

I would recommend this book to food enthusiasts; I could certainly see how someone could pick up this book and think “Who Cares!” (hubby would say that…very quickly). But I enjoyed the read—and Ruth Reichl, who was a very likeable character. Has anyone read this book and tried any of the recipes? There is a fruit tart recipe that I would love to try. :)


cj said...

Sounds like my kind of book because I'm a lot like you - I love to be in the kitchen!

Oh, and stop by my place when you get a chance...


Carey said...

Sounds like one more I need to add to my TBR pile. I am the same way - love to read and love food. I am currently reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. It is her story of year cooking all the recipes in Julia Child's The Art of Mastering French Cuisine. In a small tiny apartment. It is quite an enjoyable read so far. Evidently it is based on a blog she started when she began the project.

Thanks for the great review.

Stephanie said...

I love books about food, cooking and eating. You may be interested in a book I reviewed on my blog a few days ago (you can find it here:
It is the story of a women who went to culinary school. It was a great read!

Trish said...

*CJ - Thanks again for the cheers. :) Yes, this was a fun read mostly because I love cooking (and eating!).

*Carey - Thank YOU for the suggestion! I love food and cooking--and apparently reading about the subject as well. Hmmm...wonder if I can find her blog? :)

*Stephanie - thanks for the suggestion! I keep telling hubby that I want to go to culinary school, but I think my time has passed (I'm still young, but it's such a huge committment). I'll definitely check out your review!

magistramater said...

I read this two years ago and really enjoyed it. The picture on the front is priceless. I've made a few of the recipes, one with rice and peppers and cheese from her Berkeley commune days. I lent the book to a friend, and haven't continued.

I first "discovered" Reichl when I listened to her book "Comfort Me With Apples" which describes her debut as a food critic and more about her involvement with Alice Water's restaurant.

Her most recent book about moving to New York and working as a restaurant critic and writer there is on my TBR list.

Trish said...

*magistramater - Wow, thanks for all the great information. I've had the book for years but didn't know anything about it until I finally picked it up a few weeks ago. I would love to read more by her as I really enjoyed her witty and humanistic style.

Shelley Blanton-Stroud said...

I remember once my mother told me food is not love. Well, maybe not...

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

My gal pals and I were just trading favorite book titles and this author came up.
I'll be adding this to my TBR list...which is quite long.