Author: Ruth Reichl
Source: from publisher for review
Summary: This was a fun, light but thoughtful and inspiring memoir.
I really enjoyed this story of Ruth Reichl’s time as the editor in chief of Gourmet. She had a very impressive background, having started cooking from Gourmet herself by the time she was ten years old. She had also previously worked at the LA Times and the NY Times, as both an editor and a restaurant critic. Working at Gourmet was her first job at a magazine though and she faced a steep learning curve as she re-made the magazine to include more of the thoughtful writing and inspiring ideas she remembered from her childhood.
There were many components of this book that I enjoyed. Learning how a magazine worked along with Ruth appealed to my love of career memoirs. Her passion for food and for making the best magazine possible swept me along. I really appreciated that she shared the process by which she made difficult decisions, from joining the magazine through her time working there. She also offered some thoughtful commentary on the way women’s work experience has changed within her lifetime. She drew me in with the heartfelt way she covered personal topics as well, including her experience with a parent with bipolar and the way her relationship with her son evolved, often mediated by food-related activities. The included recipes seem good too – approachable and with fun connections to her story.
I was surprised by how frank she was when describing her first impressions of people. A surprising number of them seem to remind her of animals! I could occasionally have used more of a reminder about who people were when they reappeared though. Otherwise, this was a delightfully easy read. The font was large and the author’s tone was light even when dealing with tougher topics. Her perspective looking back meant that even difficult challenges seemed like they were resolved quickly and for the best. It was also an inspiring read, as the author was offered this job she loves at fifty on the basis of her expertise. She then fought to make the magazine match her vision with great success. A great memoir for those of you who enjoy hearing from women with interesting careers.