I can’t recall where I first read about Garlic & Sapphires but it must have been a positive review as I immediately added the book to my Amazon wishlist. Thanks to kind friends, it popped through my letterbox over Christmas and I tore through it during the first two days of the new year.

ruthreichlgarlicandsapphires

The fourth book by former restaurant critic Ruth Reichl, Garlic And Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Critic is a wonderfully entertaining meander through Reichl’s working life at The New York Times. Essentially a string of anecdotes strung together with a simplified personal narrative, it’s almost always amusing, often enlightening and occasionally touching too.

Tales of creating deliciously audacious disguises with wigs, wardrobes and wicked backstories are interspersed with stories of visiting many of New York’s best known restaurants, and many lesser known places as well. These chapters include the restaurant reviews as they were published in the paper, giving a great insight into how Reichl translated the multiple visits she made to each restaurant into succinct and pithy pieces for print.

Keen cooks may also appreciate the seventeen recipes Reichl has shared; related to events in the book, they range from New York cheesecake to hash browns to vanilla cake to spaghetti carbonara.

At first, Reichl revels in her new role, relishing the chance to transform herself into an increasing number of alter egos which we too can giggle and gasp over. But just as the reader pales of the endless parade of new characters, so does Reichl, increasingly dissatisfied with these deceptions and her own changes in behaviour as a result.

It’s not a deep book, by any means, and yet we do go on a journey with the author from start to finish.

An enjoyable read; perfect for a long hot soak in the tub or whiling away the time in the airport lounge or on the train.


Garlic And Sapphires by Ruth Reichl is currently available in paperback on Amazon for £5.30 (RRP £8.99).

  10 Responses to “Garlic & Sapphires by Ruth Reichl”

  1. I love Ruth Reichl's books too. Such an interesting life she has had.

  2. Love her first one, Comfort Me With Apples, about her childhood, too – a good read x

  3. I couldn't place the book down. It was enjoyably a delicious light read. It made me read the other books by her too.

  4. This is one of my favourite food books and I also love Reichl's other books including Comfort Me with Apples (as recommended by Katy above).

  5. I do love her books, although I've only read a couple. Thanks for the review, Kaves! :)

  6. Hi Kavey,

    Thanks for recommending this book on twitter. I don't have much time to read at the moment, so when I do read, I want something good.

    This ticked a lot of my boxes, a properly engaging personal read – with food gossip (yay!). I'm going to read a lot more of her stuff now.
    Thanks again!

  7. […] Reichl’s Garlic And Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Criticfollow (link to my […]

  8. I picked this book up in a charity shop for less that £3 and really enjoyed reading. I couldn’t remember where I had heard about but realise now it was here. So thank you Kavey.

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