A laugh-out-loud novel about teenage pretensions and adult delusions from an author whom the New York Times has called “a Balzac of the station wagon set” Chick Swallow and his best friend, Nickie Sherman, are teenage boulevardiers of Decency, Connecticut, devotees of Oscar Wilde who spend their evenings crafting perverse aphorisms in an ice-cream parlor. “There is only one thing worse than not having children,” opines Chick, “and that is having them.” Unrepentant aesthetes, someday soon they will be in Paris or New York, far removed from the mainstream. Then the unthinkable happens. Marriage. Family. Dinner parties. For Chick, a job at the local newspaper writing an advice column punctuated by blandly inspirational Pepigrams: “To turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones—pick up your feet.” For Nickie, an unlikely career in law enforcement. But just when it seems that their lives have settled down before they could even begin, Chick begins an affair with Mrs. Thicknesse, a newspaper music critic of ample girth and means, and a whole brouhaha breaks loose: blackmail, forgery, secret sleuthing, lawsuits. There is drama in suburbia after all, and Chick and Nickie are up to their necks in it. A wild, witty tale of friendship, marriage, and infidelity, Comfort Me with Apples is full of the brilliant wordplay and delicious ironies that made Peter de Vries “one of the best comic novelists that America has ever produced” (Commentary).
In this delightful sequel to her bestseller Tender at the Bone, the beloved food writer Ruth Reichl returns with more tales full of love, life, humour and marvellous meals. Ruth Reichl's pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles. She cooks and dines with world-famous chefs and the three star aristocracy of French cuisine, and her accounts of these meetings range from the madcap to the sublime. Reichl lovingly recreates all her marvellous meals in such succulent detail that readers will yearn from truffles in Provence and shrimp in Beijing. Throughout it all, Reichl is unafraid, even eager, to poke holes in the pretensions of food critics, making each and every course a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. She shares some of her first recipes so readers can make the Dry-Fried Shrimp she first tasted in China, or the Dacquoise served at the end of a magical visit to a Paris bistro. Reichl also shares the intimacies of her personal life in a style so honest and warm that readers will feel they are enjoying a cosy dining-table conversation with a friend. In Comfort Me With Apples, Reichl again demonstrates her inimitable ability to combine food writing, humour and memoir into an art form.
Comfort Me With Apples, the adventures of the Hammond family in the rural south during the great depression of the nineteen thirties, through the eyes of a young girl with the name of Dundee. Each chapter deals with a particular problem facing the family, for instance, the child finds unconditional love for an imperfect father, the family rescues their cousin from a mental hospital, a sister is bitten by a rattlesnake and is saved by Bob, a tramp who came by the Hammond home place for a meal and stayed through two summers, and a woman with the sad name of Rainy Day who walked from Arkansas to meet her fate in Wisteria, Mississippi. There are also other characters whose lives touch the family and compose a pattern of love in its many guises and bigotry, and struggle and joy, related with comedic irony and sympathy for the human experience.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Includes an exclusive conversation between Ruth Reichl and Emily Giffin Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you. Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love. Praise for Delicious! “Compulsively readable . . . a treat for anyone who loves a warm, character-packed tale—a delectable mix of flavor, fantasy, and emotional comfort food.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “[Reichl’s] New York is a fairy-tale town where beautiful food abounds. . . . The novel presents a whole passel of surprises: a puzzle to solve; a secret room; hidden letters; the legacy of James Beard; and a parallel, equally plucky heroine from the past, who also happens to be a culinary prodigy.”—The New York Times Book Review “Fascinating characters . . . There’s romance, intrigue, food history, and the fictional appearance of a very real American culinary icon.”—The Austin Chronicle “Reichl’s vivid descriptions of food will have readers salivating, and an insider’s look at life at a food magazine is fascinating. Her satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations.”—Library Journal (starred review) “This savory feast of a first novel blends the rich gifts that readers of Reichl’s memoirs and food writing have come to expect. To a tantalizing coming-of-age story about a budding chef and journalist she adds a bittersweet tale of separated sisters.”—More From the Trade Paperback edition.
Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet. “This is the rare case of an amazing writer living an amazing life.”—Ann Patchett When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no? This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down. Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be. Advance praise for Save Me the Plums “No one writes about food like Ruth Reichl. She also happens to be a mesmerizing storyteller. I consider this book essential nourishment.”—Nigella Lawson “Endearing . . . Gourmet magazine readers will relish the behind-the-scenes peek at the workings of the magazine. . . . Reichl’s revealing memoir is a deeply personal look at a food world on the brink of change.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Ruth Reichl is the best sort of storyteller—intimate, wise, frank, and completely engaging. Here she beautifully details her ten years running Gourmet, with all the triumphs and tribulations, and it’s a brilliant tale. Every page is rich and delicious; the book is such a treat!”—Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of The Library Book
A masterwork of literary parody about a suburban Samaritan and the poet he seeks to inspire After the wild adventures of Comfort Me with Apples, Chick Swallow has found domestic peace in Decency, Connecticut, accepting his fate as a middle-class husband and father and the author of an advice column in the local newspaper. His hard-won contentment is about to disappear like warm water down a bathtub drain, however, when fate intervenes to reunite our hero with Sweetie Appleyard, a childhood playmate with whom he once shared an intimate moment in a coal bin. All these years later, Sweetie is just as devoted to art and allergic to the real world as she always was. In an effort to bring Sweetie out of her treehouse and urge her on with her life, Chick helps to get a book of her poetry published. But his plan backfires hilariously when Sweetie, with stunning alacrity, becomes the toast of Greenwich Village, tires of the up-all-night bohemian life, and decides that she wants to be a mother. For the father, she has two possibilities in mind: her literary patron or his brother-in-law, Nickie Sherman. To save his sister’s marriage, Chick will risk his own and pray that, for once, he can keep everything under control. With a stylistic ingenuity unmatched in modern American fiction, De Vries parodies a dozen different writers in this boisterous tale of New England angst. William Faulkner, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, and Dylan Thomas all make uproarious appearances in The Tents of Wickedness as it gleefully skewers pretensions of every stripe.