Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Paperback – 3 May 2001
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New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl shares lessons learned at the hands (and kitchen counters) of family members and friends throughout her life, from growing up with her taste-blind mother to the comfort of cream puffs while away at boarding school on "Mars" (Montreal seemed just as far away) to her most memorable meal, taken on a mountainside in Greece.
Her stories shine with the voices and recipes of those she has encountered on the way, such as her Aunt Birdie's maid and companion, Alice, who first taught Reichl both the power of cooking and how to make perfect apple dumplings; the family's mysterious patrician housekeeper, Mrs. Peavey, who always remembered to make extra pastry for the beef Wellington; Serafina, the college roommate with whom Reichl explored a time of protest and political and personal discovery; and, finally, cookbook author Marion Cunningham, who, after tales of her midlife struggles and transformation, gave Reichl the strength to overcome her own anxieties.
Reichl's wry and gentle humour pervades the book, and makes readers feel as if they're right at the table, laughing at one great story after another (and delighting in a gourmet meal at the same time, of course). Reichl's narrative of a life lived and remembered through the palate will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it."--"Washington Post Book World"
"An absolute delight to read...How lucky we are that [Ruth Reichl] had the courage to follow her appetite."--"Newsday"
"A poignant, yet hilarious, collection of stories about people [Reichl] has known and loved, and who, knowingly or unknowingly, steered her on the path to fulfill her destiny as one of the world's leading food writers."--"Chicago Sun-Times"
"While all good food writers are humorous...few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl."--"New York Times Book Review"
"A savory memoir of [Reichl's] apprentice years...Reichl describes [her] experiences with infectious humor...The descriptions of each sublime taste are mouthwateringly precise...A perfectly balanced stew of memories."--"Kirkus Reviews"
Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it. "Washington Post Book World"
An absolute delight to read...How lucky we are that [Ruth Reichl] had the courage to follow her appetite. "Newsday"
A poignant, yet hilarious, collection of stories about people [Reichl] has known and loved, and who, knowingly or unknowingly, steered her on the path to fulfill her destiny as one of the world s leading food writers. "Chicago Sun-Times"
While all good food writers are humorous...few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl. "New York Times Book Review"
A savory memoir of [Reichl s] apprentice years...Reichl describes [her] experiences with infectious humor...The descriptions of each sublime taste are mouthwateringly precise...A perfectly balanced stew of memories. "Kirkus Reviews"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book, Ruth Reichl's stories cut across the many planes of her world: food, family, self, cities, friends, and last but definitely not least -- mental illness.
Though each story in this set of memoirs is nominally "complete" with a starting and ending point that lets it stand on its own, there is nonetheless a sense of skittishness and patchiness that permeates the collection. Characters enter and exit the book with scarce, absent, or post-facto introduction. Episodes end abruptly, and suddenly Ruth is somewhere else -- in a different place and time.
These effects are surely intentional. Because they are a part of how Ruth has lived and continues to live in a life influenced by her mother's manic depression, her own emerging mental crises which! ! are mentioned in the closing chapters, and the places and times within which she lives.
Most of the stories-with-crises that Riechl tells from childhood through adulthood end on hopeful notes, but you often don't find out what happens afterward. The same with the greater story of Riechl's life -- we are hopeful that she will come out of this ok, but we can't be sure.
Readers of this book may also be interested in Ron Suskind's _A Hope in the Unseen_ (also reviewed by a few folks on this website) which ends in a similar way.
I wasn't disappointed. This is another beautiful memoir describing Reichl's early years and experiences with food. It will be a while before I forget Alice's apple dumplings, her mother's totally orange Halloween dinner or her travels through Tunisia. The book also includes a smattering of recipes.
Absolutely delicious, a must for foodies!
Although food does play a huge part in the book and in Ruth's life, this is more than just her foodie adventures. This is an honest account of her upbringing in a very strange, almost eccentric family. Her mother is known as the Queen of Mold - purely because the food that she served up on a daily basis was mostly inedible. Ruth spent much of her formative years watching out for dinner guests and trying politely to urge them not to eat the food that her mother had so lovingly prepared. Despite this, many guests did suffer after attending dinner parties, yet Mother was never affected. Although potentially poisoning your guests is pretty serious, Reichl tells her tale in a humourous way. It is clear that her mother was suffering with mental health problems and despite their precarious and often very fragile relationship, Reichl does show a fondness for those years.
Ruth Reichl encountered food in many different places; away at a Montreal boarding school, in France and later in life in many other parts of the world. This was by no means a tradtional food education but her experiences gave her a particular insight into what tastes good and what certainly doesn't. Littered throughout the book are the recipes that she collected along her travels, which although I haven't yet attempted, do seem very easy to follow.
This is a really interesting memoir, with some great characters. It's at times very funny, and at others, quite sad. I really enjoyed reading about her life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I could actually taste the food as it was described- do not read on an empty stomach!! Brilliant narrative to boot. My new fave.Published 21 months ago by LucyLou
Just delightful story of a young woman's love of food, with lots of excellent recipes. All Reichl's books are just terrific - funny, warm, and delicious in every way.Published 22 months ago by Mrs. P. L. Hare
Really enjoyed it from start to finish. Excellent descriptions so easy to visualise . The author used life experiences I think which made you see it in real life. Thanks a bunch!!!Published on 24 July 2014 by MRS P M MCKENNA
I usually love food related autobiographies but wasn't so crazy about this. It was quite readable but not quite as good as I had hoped.Published on 27 Jan. 2013 by Alison
Okay, first of all I must confess that my favourite books of all time are books sprinkled with recipes - as this book is. Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2004
How Ruth Reichl ever became involved with food having a mother who, singlehandedly, could have wiped out an entire village is a mystery! Read morePublished on 18 July 2000 by R. Busciglio
I enjoyed the book except for the end ... it ends extremely abruptly, like a car that has just run out of gas !!! Read morePublished on 20 July 1999
I'd never read anything by Ruth Reichl before picking up this book, but you can be assured that I will seek out her work after having put it down! Read morePublished on 22 Jun. 1999
I found this book moving, entertaining and down right funny! I loved strolling down "food" memory lane with her. Try the Art Park brownies!! They are delicious.Published on 7 Jun. 1999