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Friday, August 20, 2010

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl, 1998, * * * *

At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that "food could be a way of making sense of the world....If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were." Her deliciously crafted memoir, Tender at the Bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told. The memoir recalls childhood time spent with her mom, who was "taste blind" but "could make a trip to the supermarket sound like an adventure"; teenage fun with friends, including a non-Jewish boyfriend, who referred to her scrumptious matzoh brei as "fried cardboard"; dinner parties and a growing dedication to civil rights activism during college. Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters that shaped her world and her tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first soufflĂ©, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s, including famed chef Alice Waters. Spiced with Reichl's infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist's coming-of-age

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