Monday, September 20, 2010

Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl

I don't usually read non-fiction. I like a good story, and if I accidentally learn something along the way, so be it. I do like memoirs, though, particularly if they involve seriously dysfunctional families. One advantage, as far as I'm concerned, is that the story happened (more or less) the way it happened, and if I don't like the way it turned out I can't blame the author.

Now, I am not a foodie. I own only a handful of cookbooks, I don't watch the cooking channel, I buy Costco olive oil, and when I was married I was very happy to let my husband do all of the cooking. Which indicates to me that Ruth Reichl is a terrific writer, because I loved this book. That her entire childhood is told through the filter of food is clearly not a clever device; she actually remembers her whole life according to what was being served and by whom! There is certainly some dysfunction (does every good memoirist have a bi-polar mother?), but mostly there is just good storytelling. In fact, I found myself thinking that my own life would seem much more interesting if I could but find a unifying theme running through it.

After reading this book, I spent a long time trying to remember specific meals from my childhood. There are a few, but when it comes to culinary training, I mostly remember my sister and mother experimenting in the kitchen together while I snuck off to my pine-needle fort in the woods.

1 comment:

  1. I read her "Garlic and Sapphires" and loved it. I will definitely pick this one up too.