I can say with some certainty that two of my most beloved aspects of life are reading and food (well, other than the obvious hubby, family, friends, etc). Obviously I love to read. :) But I also love food. I love to eat. I love going to restaurants and trying new things; I love being in my kitchen and baking or cooking. As soon as I turned in my last grad paper, I marched into the kitchen (after having very little sleep) and baked enough goodies to pass around to my friends as Christmas gifts with enough left over to feed our large family during graduation. I LOVE food. (Hubby could care less for either reading or food…go figure!).
So this book combines two of my favorite things. Tender at the Bone is about Ruth Reichl’s coming of age as it relates to food. She begins her story as a young child anxious to save guests at her mother’s dinner parties from inevitable food poisoning, a task which enabled her to move into a more dominant role in the kitchen. Reichl remembers her school days in Quebec where she befriends an unlikely companion whose parents introduce her to fine dining. She is convinced the love of her life fell in love with her cooking first, and her cooking education continues in a Berkeley “commune,” a doomed French restaurant in Detroit, and from the various people she meets throughout her early adulthood.
Each section of Reichl’s development was a pleasure to read, and I loved seeing all of the influences play a part in her eventual role as a food critic. Her writing style is easy, and while I didn’t think her book was laugh-out-loud funny, it was entertaining and amusing. I felt, though, that the ending of the book got away from her main “thesis” when she began talking about her mother’s illness and the effect it had on her. While this was an important part of her life, it seemed to be a little bit of a digression from main theme of the importance of food in shaping who she became.
I would recommend this book to food enthusiasts; I could certainly see how someone could pick up this book and think “Who Cares!” (hubby would say that…very quickly). But I enjoyed the read—and Ruth Reichl, who was a very likeable character. Has anyone read this book and tried any of the recipes? There is a fruit tart recipe that I would love to try. :)