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My Kitchen Year: 136 recipes that saved my life Hardcover – 10 Mar 2016

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books (10 Mar. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743368143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743368145
  • Product Dimensions: 24.7 x 4.1 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Ruth Reichl was the editor of the US food magazine Gourmet, which closed abruptly in autumn 2009. The subtitle, '136 recipes that saved my life', sets the tone for the story of what Ruth did next after the shock of losing her job. She's a good writer, so prepare to be pulled into her narrative. Recipes are, as you'd expect, of the contentment-giving kind.' --delicious. magazine, March 2016

'This book is perfect for anyone who is passionate about seasonal cooking. Join the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl as she guides you through each season with anecdotes, poems, wonderful photographs and how food helped her heal after the abrupt closure of Gourmet. You feel like you're spending the year with her as she shares her most treasured recipes. It's a lovely read.' --Choice magazine, April 2016

About the Author

Ruth Reichl was the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and the author of three bestselling memoirs, Comfort Me With Apples, Tender at the Bone and Garlic and Sapphires and the novel Delicious! She edited the comprehensive Gourmet Cookbook and has been the restaurant critic at the New York Times and the food editor and restaurant critic at the Los Angeles Times.


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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Oct. 2015
Format: Hardcover
If you are like me, and collect cookbooks and with each new cookbook you sit down and prepare yourself for a wonderful read, Ruth Reichl's cookbook, 'My Cookbook Year', is the perfect cookbook. A story precedes every recipe, we are welcomed into the life of Reichl's first year after losing her job at Gourmet magazine. I remember driving home from Boston one evening in 2009, listening to NPR and Ruth Reichl was discussing her favorite chicken recipe from the new Gourmet cookbook. And, then, she discussed the sudden, abrupt closure of Gourmet magazine. Like her, I was shocked and sad. I loved Gourmet magazine, and I read it cover to cover. Then in 2013 I read her guest novel, 'Delicious' , and liked it. Now, she shares the first year of her life after Gourmet, and I urge you to read it, not just for the recipes, but the stories she tells, and her philosophy of cooking and living.

This is a book to relish,don't read it too quickly, and if you read it while you are hungry, you won't get very far. You will be out in the kitchen cooking and following her recipe. She starts her book by giving us her story of hearing about the closure of Gourmet magazine. And, then, onto Notes of the Recipes. A list of staples in her pantry and refrigerator. And then onto the seasons of the year. She starts with Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer,the stories of each recipe and her recovery from the loss of her job. The smell of foods that awakened the senses, her husband's injury and surgery and what foods he requested, and then her own accident and injury and how food helped in her recovery. The friends, her family, the Farmer's Markets, the butchers, the cheese shop and all the stores that feature food, are discussed.

This was the journal she kept about her year that later turned into this book.
Read more ›
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Came in time given. Good read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 213 reviews
94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a new classic in cookery writing! 30 Sept. 2015
By Eden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book that also happens to be a cookbook that I can cook from every day. As a memoir of her days after Gourmet magazine abruptly closed, it's easy to understand how she returned to the kitchen to assuage her grief during a time of uncertainty. Be that as it may, this book contains handwritten chapter headings with poignant photographs of the countryside throughout the seasons surrounding her home in New York state along with recipes that are classic and easy to follow. There are no foodie stylists around, just one photographer who takes the picture, then joins in eating the goods. This book is intimate in its charm and fresh with recipes that are classic updated with contemporary touches.

I happen to cook a lot and to also cook dishes that are similar to the ones that Ruth Reichl celebrates here. . . although she manages to insert special little touches that I hadn't thought of before. For example, combining chopped shallots and onions to finest grated cheddar cheese before making a grilled sourdough cheese sandwich. Or, her best fried chicken brined in salt, then soaked in buttermilk and ONION before frying in coconut oil and butter.

Above and beyond the visual and culinary treats that this book offers, it also contains anecdotes that are poignant to Ruth Reichl - one of a woman offering to treat her to a sandwich while she's waiting in an airport after the sudden demise of Gourmet magazine. Or the memory evoked during a fried chicken picnic at Tanglewood of a youthful trip to Israel, forced on her by her parents where she met another young woman who happened to be Carole King - who, along with James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma, provided the program for that Tanglewood fried-chicken picnic evening.

This all makes me feel that Ruth Reichl has lived a blessed life despite the very public humiliation of the closing of her Gourmet magazine after ten years as its editor. She's married to Michael who is 75 who happily eats her blinis with sour cream and salmon roe in her videos, she also has a son whom she adores. Best of all, she's moved from New York City to a low slung contemporary house in New York State that was built overlooking beautiful countryside with nearby farms and other provisioners of vegetables, cheeses and other organic goodies. It almost seems like the whole demise-cum-survival scenario was "meant to be" as the next chapters of her and her family's life. She just didn't know it at the time.

I've always liked Ruth Reichl through years of reading cookery magazines and cookbooks. The graphics of those Gourmet magazines under her stewardship were unbelievably rich and beautiful if you might recall. I've saved all my copies of Gourmet from those times because they were such a feast for the eyes as well as for the kitchen. And with these few rainy days, I'm looking forward to pulling them out and looking at them once again.

In this book, I am particularly looking forward to trying her New York cheesecake recipe with the chocolate wafer crust and sour cream glaze, and other homey recipes like shirred eggs with pureed potatoes for supper with a simple green salad.

Finally, she makes a big deal out of making turkey stock for gravy at Thanksgiving - and she's absolutely right that no matter how the roasted bird turns out, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes, with a deeply rich "made from scratch" turkey gravy, everybody will love whatever is on their plate. Not that Ruth Reichl's "other" offerings would be anything other than tasty and tender.

I've reached a time when I shouldn't be buying any more cookbooks. My cookery library started with Elizabeth David's Penguin editions and expanded through the years with books by M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alice Waters, the River Cafe, Nigel Slater, the Conrans, Thomas Keller, Noma and Judy Rodgers. (We celebrated Christmas Eve with Judy Rodgers' roast chicken with bread salad two years ago when she died at the age of 57. It was out of this world and truly delicious!)

Still, I think that this new volume by Ruth Reichl will now be my favorite and will be a standby to look through for new things to try and to tweak classic recipes I've already made many times. It is a beautiful volume on so many levels.

In an interview published by the New York Times last week, Ruth Reichl was quoted as saying "You should have as much fun as you can because you don't know what's coming down the road." Well, it looks like she not only survived what she didn't see coming down the road, but with this memoir/cookbook, she's also managed to illustrate how she's landed on her feet, built a new home and produced what I think will become a true classic in the ever mushrooming world of cooking.

Good for her! - and good for us too!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read but do not buy in Kindle format if you want to use this as a cookbook-No links to recipes 9 Feb. 2016
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Ruth Reichl's writing. I waited with anticipation for each month's copy of Gourmet magazine to be delivered and devoured her Letter from the Editor before even looking at the table of contents. Reading "Tender at the Bone", "Comfort Me with Apples", and "Garlic and Sapphires" were each absolutely wonderful and I hated to see each book end. Her recent novel "Delicious!" was also a great read and I was happy to load "My Kitchen Year" onto my iPad to enjoy another journey with one of my favorite authors. Big mistake! Although I really enjoyed the writing, as I have enjoyed each of the above mentioned books and the now defunct magazine, as well as drooling over many of the recipes; the book in its digital form has one glaring omission, at least in the Kindle format. It lacks links to the recipes in its table of contents and has no digital index. As a digital cookbook it is nearly worthless, unless one wants to "page" through the book to find a recipe. I find this surprising, as I have read other books containing recipes such as Stir by Jessica Fechtor which do contain digital indexes. I am now faced with the decision whether to buy it again in a hard version so I may actually use it as a cookbook.
61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph 29 Sept. 2015
By Robert C Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Note: this review is of the Kindle version; the binding on the hard cover is very bad, making the book almost unreadable and certainly not usable for cooking.

Ruth Reichl has been writing about food and preparing food for many years; after "Gourmet" was terminated by the owners -- sadness in the heart of this codger subscriber -- she took off a year to re-connect with cooking. The result is this unusual cookbook -- recipes, sure, but recipes which she urges her readers to read and then change to suit their own preferences. After trying two recipes following her directions, I modified them both, and enjoyed the process immensely.

Another oddity: this book is almost as much about Twitter as cooking. The 140 word limit forced her into a sort of stream of consciousness conversation with many people -- a riff on the following apple crisp recipe is almost pure poetry. She calls them "word pictures":

"Blackbirds swooping onto orange trees. Beautiful ballet of the air. Ashmead kernels whisper from their skins. Apple crisps."

[The "Ashmead kernel is a very old apple variety, with a drab appearance which belies a unique peardrop flavour. Ashmead's Kernel is also one of very small number of English apple varieties that also thrives in North America." Introduced here in the early 1700s. "An old English russet apple, Ashmead's Kernel originated from seed planted around 1700 by a Dr Thomas Ashmead in Gloucester. Medium size, golden-brown skin with a crisp nutty snap. Fruit explodes with champagne-sherbet juice infused with a lingering scent of orange blossom. Flesh is dense, sugary and aromatic with intense flavor, characteristic of russets. The Ashmead’s Kernel is a winner of taste tests and displays some resistance to scab and cedar apple rust."]

(Incidentally, she is addicted to apples from local farms -- you can buy many of the heritage apples atf armers markets like the one on Union Square in NYC; they may not travel well but will infuse your kitchen with wonderful aromas, far from the sterile, all the same scent -- if you can call it that -- of the dominant Delicious or Galas; the bruises from the heritage's short travel to the City will add to the grand symphony of smells in your kitchen.)

Reichl has always pushed the fun of cooking over the fun of eating out, even in the days when she was the supreme restaurant critic in New York City. This year tested her belief and commitment and she is even more committed to the idea now.

Several of her strongest beliefs shine here:

-- American food has greatly improved and the local farms movement has brought it to and past the levels in Europe; a "farmer's market" in Paris, for example, may have foods on offer from several other countries and very few from local farmers near Paris.

-- Bloggers have democratized food writing, have taken the place of more traditional food critics. Those critics that remain are writing on a very high level, higher than that in the past.

-- Kitchens that take up all of the entertaining room in your home makes the art of cooking a communal joy; in her house, you cannot visit without being in the kitchen.

-- Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day -- setting the family off with a great start shows love and care and strengthens the bonds that tie a family together.

On iPhone, I found this a wonderful companion at the farmer's market in Ridgewood, and sipping coffee at a local Starbucks.

A triumph.

Addendum: I've just received a marvelous email from Reichl describing here collection of old menus; her website is a treasure trove:

ruthreichl.com/2015/11/forgotten-restaurants.html/

Extract: It’s late at night, and I’ve just uncovered a box of old menus I didn’t even know I had. I thought I’d thrown them all away in the move from Los Angeles to New York in 1993, but I seem to have sent one big box, neatly sorted into alphabetized folders. All I’ve got is the end of the alphabet; how I regret having jettisoned the rest! What did I send instead? Rickety furniture? Old clothes? How could I not have known that one day I’d treasure these old menus?

The one above had a note tucked inside, from an L.A. Times reader, who sent it as a gift. There’s so much to parse here, including that “Russian Caviar, Ambassador Importation” for $2.25, the Denver sandwich (an omelet of ham, onions and green peppers between two slices of bread), and the once ubiquitous Biscuit Tortoni.

Trolling through the Rs I come to Rex Il Ristorante – certainly the most elegant restaurant of the eighties – and sigh over carne crudo with black truffles – $8.50. The food was extraordinarily innovative for its time, and the decor lovingly evoked another, earlier time. In its first incarnation Rex had been a fancy Los Angeles gentleman’s boutique, with an elevator designed by Lalique. (The learning-to-eat scene in Pretty Woman was filmed at the restaurant.)

If you love food and food writing, check out this treasure house. :)

Robert C. Ross
September 2015
revised November 2015

Apple Crisp
•5 heirloom apples
•1 lemon
•3/4 stick butter
•flour
•brown sugar
•salt

1. Peel a few different kinds of apples, enjoying the way they shrug reluctantly out of their skins. Core, slice and layer the apples into a buttered pie plate or baking dish and toss them with the juice of one lemon.

2. Mix 2/3 cups of flour with 2/3 cups of brown sugar, and add a dash of salt and a grating of fresh cinnamon. Using two knives - or just your fingers, cut in most of a stick of sweet butter and pat it over the top. The cooking time is forgiving; you can put your crisp into a 375 oven and pretty much forget it for 45 minutes to an hour. The juices should be bubbling a bit at the edges, the top should be crisp, golden and fragrant. Served warm, with a pitcher of cream, it makes you grateful for fall.

***

Butternut Squash Soup
•1 stalk celery
•2 carrots
•1 pound butternut squash
•1/2 pound potatoes
•1 onion
•olive oil
•salt

1. Begin by coarsely chopping an onion, a stalk of celery and 2 carrots; you don’t have to be fussy about this since you’re going to end up pureeing everything. Slick the bottom of a casserole or Dutch oven with olive oil, add the vegetables and let them tumble into tenderness, which should take about ten minutes.

2. Peel a pound of butternut squash and cut it into 3/4 inch or so cubes. Peel half pound of waxy potatoes (Yukon Golds are good), and cut into chunks of the same size. Stir them into the vegetables in the casserole, add a couple teaspoons of sea salt and 2 1/2 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer until everything is very soft. This will take about half an hour.

3. Very carefully puree the soup in a blender, in small batches, making sure the top of the blender is secure (hot soup can be painful).

4. Taste for seasoning and serve drizzled with a few drops of olive oil and/or good balsamic vinegar. A crisp dice of apples on top makes this look lovely and adds a very pleasing note of sweetness. (Diced pickled walnuts also make a wonderful topping.)

***
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back To Cooking In The Kitchen 3 Oct. 2015
By prisrob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are like me, and collect cookbooks and with each new cookbook you sit down and prepare yourself for a wonderful read, Ruth Reichl's cookbook, 'My Cookbook Year', is the perfect cookbook. A story precedes every recipe, we are welcomed into the life of Reichl's first year after losing her job at Gourmet magazine. I remember driving home from Boston one evening in 2009, listening to NPR and Ruth Reichl was discussing her favorite chicken recipe from the new Gourmet cookbook. And, then, she discussed the sudden, abrupt closure of Gourmet magazine. Like her, I was shocked and sad. I loved Gourmet magazine, and I read it cover to cover. Then in 2013 I read her first novel, 'Delicious' , and liked it. Now, she shares the first year of her life after Gourmet, and I urge you to read it, not just for the recipes, but the stories she tells, and her philosophy of cooking and living.

This is a book to relish,don't read it too quickly, and if you read it while you are hungry, you won't get very far. You will be out in the kitchen cooking and following her recipe. She starts her book by giving us her story of hearing about the closure of Gourmet magazine. And, then, onto Notes of the Recipes. A list of staples in her pantry and refrigerator. And then onto the seasons of the year. She starts with Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer,the stories of each recipe and her recovery from the loss of her job. The smell of foods that awakened the senses, her husband's injury and surgery and what foods he requested, and then her own accident and injury and how food helped in her recovery. The friends, her family, the Farmer's Markets, the butchers, the cheese shop and all the stores that feature food, are discussed.

This was the journal she kept about her year that later turned into this book. Mikkel Vang, the photographer, who came to her home each season and took photos of her and the food while she was cooking. Her assistant, who taste tested each recipe. Her son and husband who cooked her favorite food when she was bedridden after surgery. Her friends who came and left veggies and other products when they heard she was writing a cookbook. And the hope she has that we will all return to cooking in the home. After reading about the 136 recipes in this book, the smells and tastes seemed to leap off the page. This is a cookbook to treasure. For anyone who likes to cook, this cookbook is calling.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-03-15
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another one of Ms Reichl's superb works. Just one ... 4 Oct. 2015
By mountaineer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another one of Ms Reichl's superb works. Just one complaint and it is a big one: why produce a book that is ostensibly meant to be used as a cook/recipe book if you cannot open it flat while using it in the kitchen? Most impractical for this kind of book! I would have given it 5 stars if it weren't for that fault.
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