Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise - Ruth Reichl

by HRevvdon@evpl on Sunday, December 28 2008, 4:08pm. Viewed 1,093 times.

Daphne Durham ( 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.




Comments (3)

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E-Dub@evpl wrote
on Monday, December 29 2008, 8:45am

This book is wonderful and you're right, you don't need to be a foodie at all. I listened to this on CD, read by the author. Great fun.

on Monday, December 29 2008, 12:34pm

I loved this book!  Her other book is also great.  It's called "Comfort me with Apples".  She has a real gift, I think.  My mother has taken Gourmet magazine for years and years - and Ruth Reichl really brought it down to earth when she took over as editor several years ago...she was roundly criticized for it, of course, but i think she is totally cool.  Glad you liked it!

Bufkinite@evpl wrote
on Tuesday, December 30 2008, 12:49pm

Well, I'm going to have to read this book!  The only book I've read by Reichl was "Tender at the Bone," and it was WONDERFUL.  Reichl is not only a great cook, she's also a gifted writer.