A Lesson In Thorns (Thornchapel #1) by Sierra Simone {review}
Visiting The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia

Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl {review}

Save Me The Plums

Genre: Memoir



My Review - 5 Stars

This review contains affiliate links.

Ruth Reichl’s books are among my favorite food memoirs. I regularly give away my copy of Tender At The Bone (Amazon | Barnes & Noble) to friends but Comfort Me With Apples (Amazon | Barnes & Noble) and Garlic And Sapphires (Amazon | Barnes & Noble) are right up there too. After finishing Garlic And Sapphires, which goes into her experiences as the New York Times food critic, I fervently hoped her next book would be about her time as the editor in chief at the now shuttered Gourmet magazine.

Save Me The Plums was worth the wait. Reichl gives a no-holds-barred account of her transition from food critic to EIC, her coworkers, the triumphs, and how it all came to an end. She was a very unconventional choice for Gourmet and we get to see very clearly how it played out. She had quite the learning curve but what a marvelous ride she had. It made me a little bummed I never read Gourmet, at least not that I can recall. But given her account of what the magazine was like before she took over, I can understand why I would have written it off as “not for me” and never taken another look.

Reichl changed the culture of the staff and that in turn led to vibrant years together. I really enjoyed hearing about the risks they took, the way various people left their imprint on it, and the various writers they hired for articles, including Junot Díaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and David Foster Wallace. The behind-the-scenes on DFW's piece Consider The Lobster was especially fascinating. She also admits where she messed up and what about the role worked for her and didn’t.

She also shares luminously about 9/11, both the personal impact and how the magazine staff came together to feed the rescue workers. It made me tear up, thinking back to where I was that fateful day and how we’ve changed as a nation since then.

Several recipes are included and I’ve bookmarked a few, including Spicy Chinese Noodles and Thanksgiving Turkey Chili. The love of food permeates the pages and while Reichl has a more adventurous palate than I do, she excels at making her readers love the journey as much as she did. Save Me The Plums is a marvelous addition to the food memoir canon.



Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the risk (and the job) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.

When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America's oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone's boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl's leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media--the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams--even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.


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Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Random House in exchange for an honest review.