Books

Save Me the Plums

A food memoir by Ruth Reichl.

Ruth Reichl

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. 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 colourful 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. (From Appetite by Random House)

From the book

I was eight years old when I first found the magazine, sitting on the dusty wooden floor of a used-book store. My father was a book designer who enjoyed the company of ancient volumes, and he often took me on book-hunting expeditions around New York, leaving me with a pile a vintage magazines while he went off to prowl among the dark and crowded shelves. That day I picked up a tattered old issue of Gourmet, enchanted by the cover drawing of a majestic swordfish leaping joyfully from the water. This looked nothing like the ladies' magazines my mother favoured, with their recipes for turkey divan made with cans of mushroom soup, or pot roast topped with ketchup, and I opened it to find the pages ​filled with tales of food in faraway places. A story called Night of Lobster caught my eye, and as I began to read, the walls faded, the shop around me vanishing until I was sprawled on the sands of a small island off the coast of Maine. The tide was coming in, water tickling my feet as it crept across the beach. It was deep night, the sky like velvet, spangled with stars.


From Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl ©2019. Published Appetite Random House.


Interviews with Ruth Reichl

When it comes to food, Ruth Reichl has done it all - waitress, cook, cookbook author, restaurant critic for the New York Times, and editor of Gourmet Magazine. Eleanor spoke with Ruth Reichl when she visited Montreal in 2006.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now