In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”
My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.
The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.
Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world’s most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.
Advance praise for My Kitchen Year
“Ruth is one of our greatest storytellers today, which you will feel from the moment you open this book and begin to read: No one writes as warmly and engagingly about the all-important intersection of food, life, love, and loss. This book is a lyrical and deeply intimate journey told through recipes, as only Ruth can do.”—Alice Waters
Praise for Ruth Reichl
Tender at the Bone
“Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it.”—The Washington Post Book World
“An absolute delight to read . . . How lucky we are that [Reichl] had the courage to follow her appetite.”—Newsday
“While all good food writers are humorous . . . few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A poignant, yet hilarious, collection of stories about people [Reichl] has known and loved.”—Chicago Sun-Times
Comfort Me with Apples
“Reichl writes with gusto, and her story has all the ingredients of a modern fairy tale: hard work, weird food, and endless curiosity.”—The New Yorker
“Magnificent . . . an extended, lilting song about lovesickness and the restorative succor of good food. [Grade:] A”—Entertainment Weekly
“Compelling . . . The book’s charm emerges from Reichl’s writing, her observations and her amazing ability to capture people in a few memorable sentences.”—USA Today