Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table

Ruth Reichl, Author Random House (NY) $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-679-44987-4
Reichl discovered early on that since she wasn't ""pretty or funny or sexy,"" she could attract friends with food instead. But that initiative isn't likely to secure her an audience for her chaotic, self-satisfied memoirs, although her restaurant reviews in the New York Times are popular. Reichl's knack for describing food gives one a new appreciation for the pleasures of the table, as when she writes here: ""There were eggplants the color of amethysts and plates of sliced salami and bresaola that looked like stacks of rose petals left to dry."" But when she is recalling her life, she seems unable to judge what's interesting. Raised in Manhattan and Connecticut by a docile father who was a book designer and a mother who suffered from manic depression, Reichl enjoyed such middle-class perks as a Christmas in Paris when she was 13 and high school in Canada to learn French. But her mother was a blight, whom Reichl disdains to the discomfort of the reader who wonders if she exaggerates. The author studied at the University of Michigan, earned a graduate degree in art history, married a sculptor named Doug, lived in a loft in Manhattan's Bowery and then with friends bought a 17-room ""cottage"" in Berkeley, Calif., which turned into a commune so self-consciously offbeat that their Thanksgiving feast one year was prepared from throwaways found in a supermarket dumpster. Seasoning her memoir with recipes, Reichl takes us only through the 1970s, which seems like an arbitrary cutoff, and one hopes the years that followed were more engaging than the era recreated here. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 289 pages - 978-0-8129-8111-7
Ebook - 227 pages - 978-0-679-60420-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-52517-5
Hardcover - 371 pages - 978-0-7838-0365-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7679-0338-7
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4481-1731-4
Show other formats
FORMATS
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X