Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: Garlic and Sapphires:The secret life of a critic in disguise by Ruth Reichl

Title: Garlic and Sapphires:The secret life of a critic in disguise
Author: Ruth Reichl
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 352
Price: Rs 1106
ISBN: 9780143036616
Genre:Non-fiction/Memoir
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Borrowed



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Summary:
Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us—along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews—her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

Review:
Books on food plus memoir are always fun to read..I chose this book particularly because it said that Ruth Reichel author of the book made dinning at the Asian inspired cuisine cool, so I just wanted to know more about this powerful author bit more..

"With great power comes great responsibilities" that is a famous quote from Spider man -I.This is a similar situation that Reichel  faced as being a food critic for the New York Times..The book is her reminiscence of her six years tenure at the Times. Starts with her interview and how she landed on the hot seat..Being in the hot chair of a popular office means she is bound to me known, hence she feared she would fail in her duty with a honest opinion as she would be bestowed with lavish treats and luxurious care when compared to a normal customer, so she decides to get help from Claudia , her mother's friend who retired acting coach and then on starts a fun, entertaining story of Reichel in her new avatar...Claudia, Reichel with the help of professional makeup artists start to work on with different characters from her dress to wig to make up to make the disguise more authentic for Reichel..She superbly gets into the act of different people with unique accent, voice and modulations....She acquired everything needed for the character to come alive and they were very different from Reichel itself..

Through all we see different aspects of Reichel's life, her son's excitement on every getup, her husband's opinion and family's support  highlighting the point how friends and family's support go on a long to run in making of a success story...Her disguise includes Molly, Betty, Brenda,Miriam, Chloe..These characters ranges from teacher, to blonde, to hippie, to divorced old lady..At times she gets into the sexiest clothes that lands on with over-weighed attention to the extend of being asked on for date in a different restaurant that she has to review anyways, while for other character she gets into over-sized Armani suits with three skirts to add puffiness, fake wrinkles to brows and very different wigs for each person she becomes, I really was wonderfully how she might have looked in the hippie costume..She goes to the extend of getting credit cards on the fake names..Of course she gets to restaurants in her own self and feels the change in the treatment..Describing all about the disguises she has not left out with her review on restaurants and food..Her whole experience be it novelist or nonfiction they are total fun and entertaining.. There are few fun recipes too..

Her reviews has gone to extend of shattering the reputation of one of the supposedly best restaurants that abuses common people  while pampering the celebrities,while few lesser knows have had their limelight through her...

Her description about food makes you feel as though you are sitting right beside her and make you wish to  grab a quick bite from her plate..She just enjoys her food that makes her description amazing..Her description about food restaurant are very elaborate just like her costumes..She  focuses on the ethnic food joints that are inexpensive with good eating experience...

The book also make you  see food in a whole different perspective if you are among those who are too busy while you eat..She makes you to savor the moment of delicacy enjoying to deeper extend...She has described about her coworkers though the names have been changed you never know the extend of truth as her afterword says that many instances have been exaggerated and few being skimmed so the fact remains bit in between I guess...I felt Reichel is too good as a writer even as she describes her doorman's reaction at her various costumes to her personal conversation with her husband who keeps her down to earth are  revealing and enlightening at the very same time very engaging..

There is never a dull moment in the book even when you feel certain incidents for instance hell list of people waiting to call seem bit over the top..I would say just grab a copy and plunge into total fun...

1 comment:

  1. I am really into food. I think that it is a secret fantasy of people like me to be food critic. Thus, this sounds really entertaining and fun.

    ReplyDelete

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