I was fortunate enough to win a set of books on CD last year from Random House that Book Riot ran. One of the CD sets for was Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year. Now, I am a huge fan of cookbooks, but it never would have occurred to me to listen to one until I got this one in the mail. I was the luckiest person ever for having won this!
After her stint as food critic for the New York Times (want to know more? Click here), she went on to be Editor-in-Chief at Gourmet magazine. She was happy there, she was successful there, and then magazine publishing changed. And just like that, Gourmet was gone. With very little notice, they shuttered the magazine and let everyone go. Reichl's grief was profound. Unsure of what to do, she returned to the one place that has always been there for her--the kitchen.
Season by season, month by month, she does what she does best. She scours local farmers markets and shops for the best ingredients and she cooks. She eats. She writes. And she heals. Actually, we all heal. This cookbook is a celebration of all the downs and ups of life, all the times we've had the rug pulled out from below, and how we've picked ourselves up and kept moving. Her struggles are everyone's struggles. Her challenges are everyone's challenges. And her hope is everyone's hope. Step by step, little by little, she brings us back up to celebration.
I know, it's weird, right? Listening to someone read you a cookbook. But the way she writes these recipes, it doesn't feel like someone is reading you a recipe. Somehow, that comfort you would feel if someone were to put the finished meal in front of you, that's what she captures in words as she reads this book. That is the magic of Ruth Reichl. She can comfort with food and with words. Plus, her recipes read like a dream. There's not a lot of exact measurements (except in the baked recipes). There are suggestions and ideas. She tells you how to use your nose to know when something is ready, how it should look, how it should feel. She makes it all sound so easy, so possible, and so delicious.
Which brings me to why I'm talking about this now. I'm guessing you all know that next week is Thanksgiving. Included in this cookbook is a divine set of recipes for Thanksgiving. If you're still trying to think of what to do for the big day, buy this book now. Fast forward to the turkey recipe and all the fixings, and then take the long, quiet winter to savor the rest of the cookbook from start to finish. And if you want to get it on audio, you will be even happier. She will stand with you as you cook, guiding you to your best meals. Trust me on this. This is the cookbook to turn to for perfect meals.