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Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Paperback – 31 Mar 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Del; Reprint edition (31 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903387
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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.

Review

"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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 16 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
I first heard of Ruth Reichl during her radio interview on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross. Later, a friend told me that Reichl also has a radio show in New York. Ah, those lucky New Yorkers...
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read Ruth Reichl's 'Garlic and Sapphires' and loved her writing style and passion for food so much that I bought her earlier books!

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!
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By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Ruth Reichl has been the restaurant critic for The New York Times and the editor of Gourmet magazine. Living in the UK, I really didn't know much about her, but had read reviews of her work and I do love 'foodie books', so was hoping for a tasty read!

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.
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By A Customer on 6 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was great! I guess I wasn't disappointed with the ending because I then went on to read "DINING OUT" by Andrew Dornenburg -- another great book in which Reichl is featured prominently, both on the cover and in the text as one of America's leading restaurant critics. After reading how she developed her passion for food in "TENDER AT THE BONE", I loved learning what her life as a restaurant reviewer was like in "DINING OUT"!
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Format: Paperback
Ruth Reichl is so brave to bare her family's dysfunctional framework and how it shaped her life as a food lover, cook and critic. I kept wondering if the people she so openly writes about are still alive to see what she wrote! Her love of food is poetic, but her open-minded life more than that is a testament to finding balance and optimism. I hope now that she's at Gourmet she can look back and write about what it was like to become restaurant critic of the New York Times.
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By A Customer on 26 May 1999
This book is a must for people who share the belief that eating is not a biological necessity but rather one of life's great adventures. Ruth Reichl has enriched the life of many with her superb reviews. Now she has added courage and generosity to her work by sharing some of the experiences that formed her. It was a joy to share her physical and psychological journeys. I will continue to emulate her zest for life and food!
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