Take equal parts family history and food history, simmer with humor, and you get Ruth Reichl’s irresistible, self-styled genre: the culinary confessional.
Tender at the Bone is the 1998 culinary based memoir of the current Editor-in-chief for Gourmet Magazine, and former New York Times food critic, Ruth Reichl. (pronounced rye-shul)
Growing up in Greenwich Village, Ruth's mother, with an iron clad stomach, seemed lacking in the realization that food could possibly spoil and spent years making family and friends ill with her rotten concotions. A bugger for a bargain, she would procure whatever she could find on sale in the cockles of New York City, regardless of whether she knew how or what it was used for and serve it up at dinner parties with nothing more than a young Ruthie acting as food monitor to steer folks away from these gut-wrenchers on a platter.
For a foodie, Ruth Reichl is quite the storyteller and although her mother was never a role model for her life long passion with the edible arts, Ruth never seemed to be far from someone who could fill that gap. From her father's first wife's mother to the chefs at a very rich friends house outside of Montreal to a dairy farmer in the french countryside she met by chance on an unauthorized excursion while working as a camp counselor one summer, she harvested each of these experiences and fed them to her evergrowing passion to cook.
Mastering the souffle at thirteen she was well on her way to becoming the respected food maven she is today. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a flair for food and finds themselve more at home in the kitchen than anywhere else. It's funny, informative and just a plain ol' good read.
Perhaps the best part of the book is the inclusion of many of the recipes that Ruth learned from the people that influenced her over the years. Each one, you can surmise, is near and dear to her heart and every one of them looks incredible and I, myself, can't wait to try making all of them. The comprehensive list of recipes scattered throughout the book are as follows:
Ruth Reichl has a second memoir entitled Comfort me with Apples that picks up where Tender at the Bone leaves off in 1978. I have yet to read this one, but I am sure it is as endearing as the first and just as chock full of delicious recipes.