Meet Ruth…

3.17.10 § 3 Comments

If you love to read, if you love to cook, if you love strong women…you must get acquainted with Ruth Reichl.  For those of you who don’t know (shame, shame) she is the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and an amazing author/critic/cook/human being/etc.

(On a slight tangent – a few days ago, I picked up my January 2009 issue of Gourmet (one of my favorites) and actually felt a physical twinge of pain at the realization that I will never again receive a glossy new copy of Gourmet in the mail.)

Regardless, Ruth Reichl continues to hold a place in my heart and I look forward to seeing what she’ll do next.  I suggest that in the meantime, you pick up one of her books (my favorite is Comfort Me with Apples) and get to reading.  If you need any convincing that you’re absolutely going to love her, I’ve included a little excerpt from her online journal (which I just discovered!  Hallelujah!) in which she critiques the idea that cooking is the search for perfection:

I cook for other people, and to me, cooking is an act of giving. When I leaf through cookbooks or magazines I am imagining all the people who will be sitting around my table, and I am looking for food that will make them happy.

In the end it is their pleasure that will take me back to the kitchen for the next experiment. I love the physical act of cooking – the feel of the knife as it slices through the apples, the scent of the onions as they caramelize in butter, the moment when the cake comes sashaying out of the oven. But more than that, I love to watch as everybody takes the first bite, and then, hurriedly, another. And another.

Right there at the table, as we all sit there eating, I am already imagining how I might improve upon the recipe. Better ingredients? A different technique? We are constantly learning to cook, both by reading cookbooks and by cooking. But the very first lesson for every cook is this: no recipe is ever perfect. That’s the point.  It’s only a meal, and there’s always the next time.

Did I mention that I think she might be my soulmate?


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