Daphne Durham (Amazon.com) says “Ruth Reichl is a wonderful memoirist--a funny, poignant, and candid storyteller whose books contain a happy mix of memories, recipes, and personal revelations.” This is a great description of Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise (2006). Reichl was the New York Times food critic for several years, a coveted job considered to be the top of the profession.
The book is interspersed with her own recipes – usually very simple and delicious sounding. If I cooked I would certainly try one or two of them. The humor is in Reichl's equally delicious disguises in which she visits New York’s most famous restaurants to avoid being recognized. She loses herself in the characters she develops and quickly learns how differently she is treated dependent on the costume. She also learns much about herself and grows from the experience. She describes New York’s harsh restaurant reality with humor and personal observations that are at times touching. Actual published reviews often follow the stories in the book as well. The reviews are humerous and different than most restaurant reviews that I have read; they are not pretentious or condescending.
This book is a memoir that reads like a funny novel. I am anxious to read her other books. A great light read for everyone – foodie or not.