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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

Two reviews in two days? Will wonders never cease??

Two notes first- the H on my laptop is sticking. This means I often leave it out of words. If you can't figure out what I'm saying, try adding an H. Does it help? No? Then it's probably just me. Second, I just poured a cup of coffee all over myself, the chair and the laptop. No, I had no good reason. There was no child, no pet, no surprise, no noise. I wasn't trying to click on anything, I wasn't reaching for something, I just picked it up and poured it all over. The laptop seems to have survived. The chair I'm not so sure about.

And now, on to our featured presentation!

As we were getting ready to leave for our four day Thanksgiving retreat, I was picking out which books to read. Sure, I wasn't gonna read ALL of them, but a girl needs choices! So I hopped over to paperbackswap to see which books in my TBR had waiting lists. Might as well read books I can quickly trade for a credit, right? I made a huge list. Seriously. Like 30 books. That might be too many for a four day family filled vacation. I narrowed the list down to Lisa Kleypas' newest, The Time Traveler's Wife, and Garlic and Sapphires. Since it was Thanksgiving, I started with Garlic and Sapphires, the overabundance of food in both was too much to ignore.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl is a memoir of her days reviewing restaurants for the New York Times. On her first flight to New York she discovers that all the restaurants have descriptions of her and are waiting for her to show up, so she decides to get creative and disguise herself. The book is pretty much what you'd expect from that description- stories of the disguises, the personalities of each, the experiences of each and how it changed her reviews. She goes to a lot of restaurants I'll never go to, eats a LOT of food I'll NEVER eat, and remembers it all in very fine detail.

I don't know if it's the food itself that enthralled me, because honestly I have no desire to eat most of it, but I really really enjoyed this book. The different reactions she got from the same restaurants when she went as her characters vs. herself was amazing. The special treatment money could buy was eye opening. There are recipes spread throughout the book. I did not read them all (so not gonna cook mussels in the middle of South Dakota!) but some of them looked quite tasty. I don't know if this will make my top five for the year, but it was surprisingly good and I'd recommend it to anyone who loves to eat.

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