Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tender at the Bone : Growing Up at the Table - Ruth Reichl

Summary:  At an early age, Ruth Reichl discvoered that "food could be a way of making sense of the world.... If you watched people as they ate, you could find otu who they were."  Her deliciously crafted memoir, Tender at the Bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and definied in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told.  Beginning with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the facinating characters who shaped her world and her tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first souffle, to those at her politically correct table in Berkely who championed the organic food revolution of the 1970s.  Spiced with Reichl's infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist's coming-of-age.  (Summary from book - Image from Goodreads.com)

My Review:  Tender at the Bone is Ruth Reichl's mostly true tale of the people, places, and food that informed her culinary character.  She recounts her experiences with passion and detail -- picking at her manic depressive mother's noxious cooking, discovering new appetites at a French boarding school, expanding her creativity at a new age commune in California, and relishing fine cuisine as a food critic. 

Reichl's journey from guardian of the guests at her mother's table to self-assured food connoisseur is delectable and fascinating, but each experience felt a little disconnected rather than part of a flowing memoir. I'm a bit stressed right now and it was less than emotionally southing to read about the distantly dysfunctional relationship she had with her family.   However, taken as a whole, I enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it as an interesting read for lovers of food lit.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  This book was read in stages over about two weeks and I took very little notes.  I remember some swearing, but not a ton.  I can't remember anything else "objectionable," but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

Sum it up:  A delectable culinary journey.

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