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Book: Garlic and Sapphires

October 19, 2009
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Another one from the great Ms. Reichl. Such a fun book.

In this episode, our heroine becomes the main restaurant critic for the New York Times — one of the most powerful positions in the world of food. She does so with her usual alplomb — until she realizes that it’s a different world in New York, and the restaurants all have her picture posted, ready to give her the perfect experience should she show up.

So… disguises are in order! What fun.

We are treated to the origins and development of some of her favorite ‘characters,’ and their adventures in the formidable world of New York dining. First she’s got to win over her readers, and then she’s got to introduce them to the world of ethnic food. Is the New York of the 1990s ready for Korean BBQ?

My favorite disguise was “Brenda.” Brenda has red hair, is bohemian, wears large colored glasses and extravagant vintage Chinese silks. Everyone loves Brenda. Brenda treats everyone as if they were a treasure — and people respond in turn to Brenda. Brenda is Ruth’s ‘best self.’ I loved reading about Brenda because it reminded me that if I tune into my best self, everyone around me, including myself, has a good time. I also loved Brenda because in my other life, I wear tattered beautiful vintage clothes and parade around in gobs of costume jewelry. (I actually have a pretty good collection of vintage costume jewelry that I don’t wear NEARLY often enough.)

At some point, Ruth realizes that perhaps she’s ready for a change. Perhaps eating out nearly every night and serving judgment on the best (and worst) restaurants in the city is not what she wants to do anymore. What could be next? A fateful call from Gourmet magazine offers another chance for reinvention…

This was another great book. I loved all 3 of her books. Light, easy to read, entertaining, somewhat educational food-wise… truly enjoyable and just what I was in the mood for.

And now, distractions complete, I’m ready to dive back into RIP for the last two weeks of the challenge. Next up: Let The Right One In. I can’t wait!

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