Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Review: Save Me the Plums

Ruth Reichl was known for her insightful restaurant reviews. But she wasn't sure she was qualified to run Gourmet magazine. When she was offered the job of editor-in-chief, she overcame her hesitation to lead the publication she had loved for decades. She would work at the magazine for ten years, learning that the things that worked in a review column didn't always work when success was determined by the whims of both staff and readers.

Save Me the Plums is the real-life dishy look inside the day-to-day operations of a magazine that you've always wanted. As you read, you feel like you're tasting a cake in the magazine's kitchen or attending a party with the hottest celebrity chefs. She easily throws off references to Alice Waters and James Beard, but it doesn't come across as braggy; Reichl is just showing you her world from her unconventional childhood to making dinner with her son.

Reichl is a foodie who understands there is more to it than creating a beautiful and delicious plate. She believes that food writing should bring to light the damage we do to our planet in the quest for certain foods and the reality that eating well is not possible for everyone. When she ran Gourmet, she insisted that the magazine feature writing that would inspire and challenge people, instead of continuing to be an old-fashioned magazine for the wealthy. Save Me the Plums is an loving tribute to the heyday of magazine publishing, when fascinating and provocative articles about food were the topics of conversation everywhere.

I can't believe I waited so long to read something by Ruth Reichl. Her love for food is evident on every page, and she has a true gift for telling a great story. I will be happily reading through her backlist this summer.

Save Me the Plums
My Gourmet Memoir
By Ruth Reichl
Random House April 2019
288 pages
Read via Netgalley