Save Me the Plums
Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the risk (and the job) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food. 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. And 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 colorful 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.

Save Me the Plums Details

TitleSave Me the Plums
Author
ReleaseApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherRandom House
ISBN-139781400069996
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Biography Memoir

Save Me the Plums Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big foodie, not a baker, but I love to cook. New recipes. Old favorites, comfort food, different ethnic cuisines, I love to experiment with recipes. I've read all of Ruth's books and have enjoyed each and everyone.As the food critic for the New York times, her meal time was not her own. She regretted not having more time with her husband and son, so when she is approached and asked to become editor of Gourmet Magazine, she accepts. Not that she isn't worried about a job she is not certain I'm a big foodie, not a baker, but I love to cook. New recipes. Old favorites, comfort food, different ethnic cuisines, I love to experiment with recipes. I've read all of Ruth's books and have enjoyed each and everyone.As the food critic for the New York times, her meal time was not her own. She regretted not having more time with her husband and son, so when she is approached and asked to become editor of Gourmet Magazine, she accepts. Not that she isn't worried about a job she is not certain she is qualified for, but being able to be home for dinner is a big plus, not to mention the salary and perks.This book covers her time at Gourmet, and it makes very interesting reading.Her descriptions of food had me drooling. Melted chocolate, caramel, my two favorite ingredients. The way the food is staged, photographed. Occasional looks into her private life, and the challenges of keeping a magazine running, in the dying days of magazines. She would reinvent Gourmet, changing the stuffy image, into a trendy, but elegant magazine. She is a wonderful writer, and she captures a life based on food, and cuisine, effortlessly.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    If you have followed Ruth Reichl through her memoirs, this takes place between Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise and My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, telling the story of her experience as the editor for Gourmet Magazine up until its shocking closure. I feel this memoir is for foodies first, but will also be of interest for anyone in publishing or the arts. The people working for Gourmet cultivated an environment of creative exploration and perfection If you have followed Ruth Reichl through her memoirs, this takes place between Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise and My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, telling the story of her experience as the editor for Gourmet Magazine up until its shocking closure. I feel this memoir is for foodies first, but will also be of interest for anyone in publishing or the arts. The people working for Gourmet cultivated an environment of creative exploration and perfection that made the magazine what it is, and I loved reading about each person's contributions and how the magazine reflected the changing culture of food in the United States. There's an entire chapter, for instance, about the publication of "Consider the Lobster" by David Foster Wallace, which I had no idea was first published in Gourmet!In a different voice, I can see how this story could be obnoxious. So many famous people, so many fancy meals and expensive restaurants, so many trends in food and fashion. But Ruth Reichl is so direct, honest, and open that the story transforms into something more heartwarming than it feels it has the right to be. Unlike My Kitchen Year which is sometimes referred to as a cookbook (although I personally still feel it is more memoir than recipe), this memoir only has 3-4 recipes. I had my eye on that chocolate cake that helped her establish kitchen credibility with her staff, so you know I had to make it.This book comes out April 2. I received an early copy from Random House through NetGalley.
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    This is a captivating look into how Ruth Reichl transformed Gourmet magazine from a stuffy, stodgy, dying publication into a slick, relevant magazine that had it’s finger on the pulse of food trends and gave readers recipes that were accessible to home cooks everywhere.She was hesitant at first to take the job as editor-in-chief of Gourmet but reconsidered when she thought about how profoundly the magazine impacted her life, starting at age 8 when she saw her first copy of the glossy magazine. T This is a captivating look into how Ruth Reichl transformed Gourmet magazine from a stuffy, stodgy, dying publication into a slick, relevant magazine that had it’s finger on the pulse of food trends and gave readers recipes that were accessible to home cooks everywhere.She was hesitant at first to take the job as editor-in-chief of Gourmet but reconsidered when she thought about how profoundly the magazine impacted her life, starting at age 8 when she saw her first copy of the glossy magazine. Taking the job would also allow her to be home in the evenings with her husband and son instead of eating out every night for her job as restaurant critic for the NYT. This book chronicles her 10 years with the magazine. It’s a memoir of the changing food scene, the trials and tribulations of a corporate job, and a behind-the-scenes look into the world of recipe testing and magazine publishing. She tells plenty of interesting anecdotes, dropping names of people familiar to most of us. Sprinkled throughout are personal stories of her family, which I loved.Her descriptions of food is mouth-watering and she includes a few of her favorite recipes. Sadly, as most of us know, the magazine merged with Bon Appetit in 2009, ending an era, but through her writing Ruth Reichl gives us an insider look into a life few of us have intimate knowledge of, one I found fascinating. Recommended to anyone who loves food – which is to say, everyone. I highly recommend the audio version, as Ruth narrates her own story. Then get a hard copy for the recipes.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Based on her wonderful memoirs, Ruth Reichl has deservedly garnered a large, affectionate following. Her generous sharing of her moments with her family have provided much enjoyment, and here she is finally able to tell about her years at Gourmet Magazine and her experiences with its mercurial publishing house, Conde Nast. It was definitely a dream of a job. I remember seeing her when she was on a book tour in 2009 for one of her memoirs, during which she enthused about the magazine and the role Based on her wonderful memoirs, Ruth Reichl has deservedly garnered a large, affectionate following. Her generous sharing of her moments with her family have provided much enjoyment, and here she is finally able to tell about her years at Gourmet Magazine and her experiences with its mercurial publishing house, Conde Nast. It was definitely a dream of a job. I remember seeing her when she was on a book tour in 2009 for one of her memoirs, during which she enthused about the magazine and the role she had with it, how it gave her the opportunity of a lifetime, not realizing that within a few months the magazine would fold, just before presentation of their eagerly awaited Christmas issue. We learn of how she was lured away from her job as food critic for The New York Times to be Editor in Chief of a magazine she had loved since childhood, finding herself in spacious, luxurious digs facing out on Broadway, with all the perks someone can only dream of. But there is so much more here, in that her position and glamor never went to her head. I was particularly taken by a chapter in which she describes a Parisian trip on a budget, and how cutting back doesn't mean giving up pleasures of quality or discovery. She really is a national treasure.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    For ten years Ruth Reichl helmed Gourmet magazine, turning the tired and worn publication back into the cultural achievement it once was. However, she initially balked at the idea of taking control. In 1999 she was the food critic for The New York Times— a writer first and last, she certainly had no interest in managing a staff of sixty. But Gourmet was a magazine that sparked her culinary career when she discovered it at eight years old … How could she resist? The next ten years became a whirlw For ten years Ruth Reichl helmed Gourmet magazine, turning the tired and worn publication back into the cultural achievement it once was. However, she initially balked at the idea of taking control. In 1999 she was the food critic for The New York Times— a writer first and last, she certainly had no interest in managing a staff of sixty. But Gourmet was a magazine that sparked her culinary career when she discovered it at eight years old … How could she resist? The next ten years became a whirlwind of learning how to head a magazine, navigating publishing egos, and, above all else, dishing out great food.In Save Me the Plums, the best of these stories are on display. Richl works linearly, showcasing her trepidation at taking control of a massive publication with minimal managerial experience. She’s obviously anxious, something that’s palpable on the page all these years later. It’s a testament to her writing. She’s frank, candid, and brutally honest about her successes and failures. This is particularly effective as she gains confidence and is forced into working situations with so many high profile names and even larger personalities. For some, this would come off like name dropping. For Reichl, it’s just her exploring the wonder and absurdity that was her life working for a Condé Nast publication.In the opening section of the book, Reichl makes mention that those reading this book probably have some connection to Gourmet. This almost does a disservice to her writing. Sure, those with a familiar with the magazine will have a special reaction to her discussing the test kitchens or working on specific covers and features. However, Reichl’s work is almost like poetry— lyrical with no words wasted. Behind all the hullabaloo of office life, it’s really about the basics of food, and her careful prose make any readers hungry for more.Reichl’s ability to weave a memoir into an examination of food and a changing industry is unparalleled. Funny, thoughtful, and enlightening— this book cannot be recommended enough.Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.
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  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    It's always a pleasure to read a new memoir from an author whose memoirs you've enjoyed in the past—it's like catching up with an old friend. I particularly enjoyed Save Me the Plums because, in addition to the usual draws of a Reichl memoir (the writing and the recipes), this one was about her time as editor of Gourmet magazine. I love any kind of publishing story, really, and in this case it was so fascinating to go behind the scenes of a glamorous magazine, as many Conde Nast publications wer It's always a pleasure to read a new memoir from an author whose memoirs you've enjoyed in the past—it's like catching up with an old friend. I particularly enjoyed Save Me the Plums because, in addition to the usual draws of a Reichl memoir (the writing and the recipes), this one was about her time as editor of Gourmet magazine. I love any kind of publishing story, really, and in this case it was so fascinating to go behind the scenes of a glamorous magazine, as many Conde Nast publications were at the time. Ruth Reichl was the perfect tour guide, because the entire magazine scene was completely new to her when she started, so she explained all the things a reader might most want to know.Most memoirs are about the author's personal life; what's so unique about Save Me the Plums is that it's about work. It was fascinating to read about how Reichl managed the editorial transition, how she handled each of her powerful bosses, how she hired people to carry out her vision, how she convinced the powers that be to let her take chances. I loved hearing the story behind the publication of David Foster Wallace's now-famous essay "Consider the Lobster," for instance, and about the bets she placed with her bosses about which covers would succeed or fail on the newsstand. It occurs to me that this memoir, like Garlic and Sapphires, depends a lot on your interest in the profession Reichl is focusing on. Sapphires was my least favorite of hers because I don't care that much about restaurant reviewing; if you don't care much about magazine editing, be warned: there's a lot of it in here. Of course, it's no spoiler to say this memoir ends with Gourmet being shut down and merged with Bon Appetit, and the chapters leading up to this, as Reichl takes on more and more in an attempt to save it, are some of the most honest, and also the saddest, in the book. Save Me the Plums is really an elegy for a time that's slipping away: When there were fabulous magazines full of quality material put together by smart people who really cared about doing something good. For some reason as a culture we've decided we don't want that anymore. But I was happy to have a chance to celebrate that era, and I couldn't have asked for a better companion than Ruth Reichl. Magazine publishing's loss is book publishing's gain; regardless of what Reichl decides to do next, I'll be more than happy to read her next book about whatever it is.I won this ARC via Shelf Awareness. Thank you to the publisher!
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  • Mellie Antoinette
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Reichl has always been an instant read author for and Save Me The Plums doesn’t disappoint. What an incredible career she has had! An eye-opening view of the chutzpah needed to run, grow and support not just the birth of a magazine, but the renaissance of the ultimate insider view of all things foodalicious.
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  • Lisa Leone-campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Reichl was a top food critic when she decided to take a job as the editor-in-chief at Gourmet Magazine, the culinary food magazine of its time. But in her new memoir we see she is so much more than the 10 year editor of Gourmet who sadly was their last as they shockingly closed in 2009.When she was just 8 years old, coming from humble beginnings with a mother who was bipolar and spent hours and days and months in deep depression, and a father who not only adored Ruth, but adored his wife no Ruth Reichl was a top food critic when she decided to take a job as the editor-in-chief at Gourmet Magazine, the culinary food magazine of its time. But in her new memoir we see she is so much more than the 10 year editor of Gourmet who sadly was their last as they shockingly closed in 2009.When she was just 8 years old, coming from humble beginnings with a mother who was bipolar and spent hours and days and months in deep depression, and a father who not only adored Ruth, but adored his wife none the less, she read her first issue of Gourmet Magazine and she was hooked. It was then she made the decision to pursue something in the food industry, so when offered the job at the magazine she was frightened, honored and excited.Feeling as if everyday would be her last, Reichl went on to change the magazine's direction into the popular bibliophile it became under her tenure.She tells stories in the book of making a bet of $100 that they would not lose subscribers if they put a dead fish on the cover (they did not), to writer David Foster Wallace's travel piece about a Maine Lobster Festival and the killing of lobsters.We also meet many of the eccentric personalities who graced the halls during her tenure. We see how her immediate family, her son Nick, a young child when she took the job and her husband Michael supported her and gave her sage feedback and advice. She also describes the aftermath of 9/11 and how the New York food industry bonded together to assist the first responders.There are mouthwatering descriptions of meals she has had the pleasure of experiencing which make the reader wish they had been there to witness and taste. And if that is not enough, she even includes a few of her favorite recipes.As a fan of Reichl, I loved her novel Delicious and her travel show on television, I ravenously"ate up" her stories and her life during her time at Gourmet.Thank you #NetGalley #Random House #Save Me the Plums #Ruth ReichlThe book will be out on April 2.If you enjoyed this review please follow me at Lisascubby.com. Happy Reading!
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  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    I have wanted to read Ruth Reichl for YEARS and I was going to start with another of her memoirs – Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise – because it sounded JUICY and very secret indeed. But then this one came out and I was offered a chance to review it so I jumped on the opportunity. Alright, guys. It’s important for you to know, right from the start, that reading this book on an empty stomach is TORTURE. Torture, I tell you. More torturous than watching Lucas and Peyto I have wanted to read Ruth Reichl for YEARS and I was going to start with another of her memoirs – Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise – because it sounded JUICY and very secret indeed. But then this one came out and I was offered a chance to review it so I jumped on the opportunity. Alright, guys. It’s important for you to know, right from the start, that reading this book on an empty stomach is TORTURE. Torture, I tell you. More torturous than watching Lucas and Peyton from One Tree Hill pretend they aren’t soul mates. I’m currently watching the third season and I am DYING. So yes, please do eat something before diving into this memoir filled with exquisite descriptions of foods and tastes. Ruth Reichl really knows what she’s doing.What she doesn’t quite know is how to be an editor in chief, even if it’s at the glorious food magazine Gourmet. I say GLORIOUS but really I hadn’t heard of it before. But apparently it made its mark on Food History and it sought Ruth Reichl to be part of its gloriousness. Although I don’t quite like reading about opportunities given to people who don’t appreciate them or want them, I do believe the magazine helped Ruth develop her managing skills and become more assertive and she certainly made many proud so she did end up appreciating the chance she was given to lead regardless of her initial refusal to take the job.It’s a short but meaningful memoir that spans many MANY years. Ruth talks about the magazine as much as she does about food and her own personal life or past experiences that helped her become who she is today. I especially enjoyed reading about her son who experienced food differently than she did when she was a child. I was also very surprised by all the changes at Gourmet Ruth played a role in, like the rock and roll cover, something never done before, or the publishing of a controversial piece of writing. I do believe though that this book could have been even more interesting if there had been pictures included. Somehow those aren’t so popular anymore in memoirs – were they even before? Still, I am impressed with this author’s writing and career so I cannot wait to explore her previously written memoirs. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    My love affair with Ruth Reichl's memoirs began with "Tender At the Bone" which chronicled her tumultuous childhood with her mentally ill mother. The second book that continued her career in the food world was "Comfort Me With Apples and for some reason, I found this book a little flat, but then she wrote "Garlic and Sapphires" and I was entranced. Her stories about being a food critic for the NY Times and how she had to constantly disguise herself was fascinating, and even though I will most li My love affair with Ruth Reichl's memoirs began with "Tender At the Bone" which chronicled her tumultuous childhood with her mentally ill mother. The second book that continued her career in the food world was "Comfort Me With Apples and for some reason, I found this book a little flat, but then she wrote "Garlic and Sapphires" and I was entranced. Her stories about being a food critic for the NY Times and how she had to constantly disguise herself was fascinating, and even though I will most likely never get the chance to eat many of the foods she critiqued, the descriptions were out of this world. Then I wasn't very impressed with "My Kitchen Year" about how cooking saved her life after she lost her job as Gourmet magazine's editor. So I was a little apprehensive about reading this next memoir but it turned out to an engaging look at her life as Gourmet magazine's editor. I adore books with details about the inner-workings of any kind of job and the processes and day-to-day details of how the magazine operated were riveting, although there were times Ruth was a little too detailed in her physical descriptions of her staff and bosses (but I did find myself googling images to see what they really looked like) and I got a little confused over who was who on the staff. Ruth also interwove stories about her personal life (both marriage and parents) and hearing how her son evolved into a gourmet was heart-warming. I think anyone who loved Gourmet magazine and is still grieving its demise or just want to find out the operations of a high-end magazine will find this as fascinating as I did. Thanks to the publisher (Penguin Random House) for the advance reading copy.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This is a memoir that covers Ruth Reichl's time as editor of the famed food magazine, Gourmet.She takes us on the journey of being offered and accepting the position, learning how to be an editor of a magazine which requires much plate spinning (pun intended!), through to the shocking announcement that the magazine would cease production immediately with the final issue printed in November 2009. The parts of this memoir that shine are when Ruth describes food. This is no surprise as her backgrou This is a memoir that covers Ruth Reichl's time as editor of the famed food magazine, Gourmet.She takes us on the journey of being offered and accepting the position, learning how to be an editor of a magazine which requires much plate spinning (pun intended!), through to the shocking announcement that the magazine would cease production immediately with the final issue printed in November 2009. The parts of this memoir that shine are when Ruth describes food. This is no surprise as her background is both as a cook and a restaurant reviewer. Food is, indeed, her passion. Especially fun was the inside look into the Gourmet test kitchen and the working and reworking of recipes to get them just right. As well as a trip she undertakes to Paris in order to spend time and write about the city from a thrifty traveler's perspective.Additionally, Reichl has a way of weaving threads of her personal life throughout the story. Particularly with regard to the transformation of her son from a finicky eater, due in part to a medical condition, to a full fledged man with a now healthy appetite and zest for inventive eating. The memoir gets a little bogged down with characters, including the fact that there is quite a bit of name dropping, but I suppose one can't blame her, as she did spend a fair amount of time wooing highfalutin advertisers to the pages of the magazine. And, the flow of folks entering through the magazines door, at times, became confusing. Overall, though, another fun food memoir from one of the masters of the craft!#SaveMeThePlums #NetGalley
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  • Jacqie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.It's Ruth Reichl's Gourmet memoir! I've been so curious about her thoughts on Gourmet, what it was like to run the magazine, and what it was like when it closed.The book began with Ruth receiving an offer from Conde Nast. She takes quite a bit of time at the start of the book to show that working for Conde Nast was a totally different world to her ( and to most of us, I'd guess). At the time, Reichl was working as restauarant criti Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.It's Ruth Reichl's Gourmet memoir! I've been so curious about her thoughts on Gourmet, what it was like to run the magazine, and what it was like when it closed.The book began with Ruth receiving an offer from Conde Nast. She takes quite a bit of time at the start of the book to show that working for Conde Nast was a totally different world to her ( and to most of us, I'd guess). At the time, Reichl was working as restauarant critic for the New York Times. While she loved the job and her co-workers, she was getting tired of eating out 14 times per week and rarely being able to eat with her family. If you've read her other memoirs, you'll know that she is a cook at heart, and restaurant critics don't get to cook much. Conde Nast was a world where secret meetings were set because the magazine editors and owners feared that the press would get wind of the possible change in editors. It's a world of limousines and clothing allowances, all paid for by the magazine because style was at least as important as substance. It was a world that was about selling a lifestyle at least as much as providing information. Reichl did not feel comfortable in this world and its unthinking privilege. She also didn't think she had the background to edit a magazine. But- she did have a connection to Gourmet. She had encountered the magazine first as a little girl and it had shown her the romance and culture that could go along with good food. However, by the time that she was tapped for heading up the magazine in the 90's, Gourmet was out of touch with the average cook. It was about high-priced restaurants, lofty aspirations, and complicated recipes that most home cooks would be intimidated to try. Reichl did turn the magazine around. I started subscribing to Gourmet in about 2005. I found the recipes to be surprisingly accessible and I can credit it for a lot of the education I got about new and interesting ingredients, cooking techniques that I could do and gave me confidence in the kitchen, and articles that made me think about where food comes from. It was educational, it was fun, and I learned to cook from that magazine as much as from anywhere else. I remember the article on halal meat and slaughtering that Reichl references in the book, years after I read it first. I didn't even know what halal meat was, and the article was disturbing because of how personal it made the act of slaughtering an animal for meat. But the reverence given to the animal and to the meat that it provided made me think about how the act of slaughter could actually be spiritual instead of impersonal and automated- we have lost something there. Why did I rate the book only a 3? Because I was confused by much of the book. There were SO MANY names, and I couldn't keep track of who was who- a photographer, a publisher, an editor? And what's the difference between a publisher and an editor at a magazine anyway? I never figured it out. There was discussion about ad revenue, but I never felt like I really understood how the magazine worked. Reichl made fun of herself for not being able to figure out magazine jargon (what's a yaffy? It's a You Asked For It recipe from a restaurant- I remember those!) but she used a lot of shorthand herself and I felt left behind in all the terminology, names, and skimmed-over incidents. Ruth Reichl is a very gracious writer- she gives credit to numerous people who changed the finances, advertising, photography and writing of the magazine, but she doesn't talk much about what she herself did. I wanted to know more about what she herself did. And I was never quite sure about how to feel about the people she discussed. Some of them seemed unlikable but she apparently had affection for them. Si Newhouse, for example, the owner of Conde Nast when she worked there. The description of the interviews that she had with him and her subsequent work relationship- it felt very uncomfortable to me but she mentioned him in her dedication. And it was Si's decision to shutter Gourmet! Between November and December, without even putting out a last holiday issue (I always looked forward to that issue and the cookie recipes). It was brutal, and I found it unforgivable as a reader- what must it have been like for the employees? Reichl foreshadows this event- we all know it's coming- but I felt like I wanted it explored more. It was hurtful to me because I had really grown to love that magazine- far more than Bon Appetit (also by Conde Nast) it spoke to me. It seemed like it was all about the money at the end, no matter the dedication of the staff and the excellent product that they put out. There was a lovely chapter about Paris where Reichl found a dress that flattered and fit her like it was made for her. But I did not agree with the decision she made at the end of the chapter!!!! If you're getting a clothing allowance, get the killer dress. You've already got two homes and aren't Bohemian anymore- getting the dress isn't going to make you a sellout. So, I felt that I didn't really understand what it was like to be at Gourment much better after reading the book, and that's where the 3 comes from.
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    While I got confused with the revolving door of publishers, managing editors, etc., I loved this look inside the greatest food magazine that ever was. And while it was all business with Ruth, she still was able to include luscious food descriptions!
  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Reichl's years as the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine3.5 stars. First, I have a confession: I have never read Gourmet magazine (which is now defunct). I don't consider myself a good cook, though I do some baking. But I do love to eat, and I love to read books about food. This is why I'm a fan of Ruth Reichl. I've enjoyed every memoir she's written. She does a wonderful job of describing meals so that it seems like you're sitting right beside her, being guided by an expert, and an expert Ruth Reichl's years as the editor in chief of Gourmet magazine3.5 stars. First, I have a confession: I have never read Gourmet magazine (which is now defunct). I don't consider myself a good cook, though I do some baking. But I do love to eat, and I love to read books about food. This is why I'm a fan of Ruth Reichl. I've enjoyed every memoir she's written. She does a wonderful job of describing meals so that it seems like you're sitting right beside her, being guided by an expert, and an expert who truly loves what they're doing. I don't think she manages this quite as well in describing the ins and outs of publishing a magazine. I frequently lost track of who the people were, or what they should be doing. I came out feeling like I don't have a better grasp of what happened at the magazine. I do feel like I understand more (though not enough) of what Ruth Reichl felt about her years there. I imagine you would have to dance around some things, and leave some events a little vague, to write a book like this when you still like the people you worked with and are a nice person at heart. And there were times when this affected the resolution of the stories. But overall - I had trouble putting this book down, and I enjoyed hearing from the author again. And I'll definitely be there the next time she publishes a nonfiction book.
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  • Leigh Kramer
    January 1, 1970
    Ruth Reichl’s books are among my favorite food memoirs. I regularly give away copies of Tender At The Bone to friends and Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic And Sapphires are right up there too. After finishing Garlic And Sapphires, which goes into her experiences as the New York Times food critic, I fervently hoped her next book would be about her time as the editor in chief at the now shuttered Gourmet magazine.Save Me The Plums was worth the wait. Reichl gives a no-holds-barred account of her Ruth Reichl’s books are among my favorite food memoirs. I regularly give away copies of Tender At The Bone to friends and Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic And Sapphires are right up there too. After finishing Garlic And Sapphires, which goes into her experiences as the New York Times food critic, I fervently hoped her next book would be about her time as the editor in chief at the now shuttered Gourmet magazine.Save Me The Plums was worth the wait. Reichl gives a no-holds-barred account of her transition from food critic to EIC, her coworkers, the triumphs, and how it all came to an end. She was a very unconventional choice for Gourmet and we get to see very clearly how it played out. She had quite the learning curve but what a marvelous ride she had. It made me a little bummed I never read Gourmet, at least not that I can recall. But given her account of what the magazine was like before she took over, I can understand why I would have written it off as “not for me” and never taken another look. Reichl changed the culture of the staff and that in turn led to vibrant years together. I really enjoyed hearing about the risks they took, the way various people left their imprint on it, and the various writers they hired for articles, including Junot Díaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and David Foster Wallace. The behind-the-scenes on DFW's piece Consider The Lobster was especially fascinating. She also admits where she messed up and what about the role worked for her and didn’t.She also shares luminously about 9/11, both the personal impact and how the magazine staff came together to feed the rescue workers. It made me tear up, thinking back to where I was that fateful day and how we’ve changed as a nation since then.Several recipes are included and I’ve bookmarked a few, including Spicy Chinese Noodles and Thanksgiving Turkey Chili. The love of food permeates the pages and while Reichl has a more adventurous palate than I do, she excels at making her readers love the journey as much as she did. Save Me The Plums is a marvelous addition to the food memoir canon. Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from Random House in exchange for an honest review.
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  • EB Fitzsimons
    January 1, 1970
    Oh Reichl. The most humble, kind, gutsy, thoughtful, sassy protagonist in all of the world. Did you know that she can guess a cake recipe's origin simply by taste? That she wins every bet? That her mere laughter can draw a group of people to her, turning a dour gathering into a fun-filled party? Her gushy adjectives are back in full force, as are the dialogue tags. People quote sourly, they ask frostily, say regally. At one point someone intones something in a sepurchral voice. Good lord is this Oh Reichl. The most humble, kind, gutsy, thoughtful, sassy protagonist in all of the world. Did you know that she can guess a cake recipe's origin simply by taste? That she wins every bet? That her mere laughter can draw a group of people to her, turning a dour gathering into a fun-filled party? Her gushy adjectives are back in full force, as are the dialogue tags. People quote sourly, they ask frostily, say regally. At one point someone intones something in a sepurchral voice. Good lord is this book's writing tiresome, which is too bad because I enjoy reading Reichl's restaurant reviews. Maybe she's just better in small doses.
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  • Karen Ng
    January 1, 1970
    I grew up in a cooking family. My Father was one of the most famous and traditional chefs in SF Chinatown and I learned all about Chinese food / cooking from him... but my journey to become a food lover, passable cook and world traveler started with Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples. Mind you, it was in my 30s and way before Instagram was a thing. I read every single Reichl book and article since and I found this book as enjoyable as the others. Hopefully this is not her last. Cooking and eat I grew up in a cooking family. My Father was one of the most famous and traditional chefs in SF Chinatown and I learned all about Chinese food / cooking from him... but my journey to become a food lover, passable cook and world traveler started with Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples. Mind you, it was in my 30s and way before Instagram was a thing. I read every single Reichl book and article since and I found this book as enjoyable as the others. Hopefully this is not her last. Cooking and eating are the most enjoyable human experience, other than thinking and reading, that is. Thank you Ms. Reichl, for this encore.
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  • Cathi
    January 1, 1970
    Listened. Rounded up from a 3.5. This is my first of Reichl's books (although I have Garlic and Sapphires at home). In the vein of so many food memoirs- rich description, mixed with the heady atmosphere that must be working at a Conde Nast magazine (at least in the days of Si Newhouse). I had a few quibbles with the book, but it feels a bit like being mad at a perfect cupcake for not being a delicious salad. A great, breezy read, and fun to tag along on part of the journey of steering an excitin Listened. Rounded up from a 3.5. This is my first of Reichl's books (although I have Garlic and Sapphires at home). In the vein of so many food memoirs- rich description, mixed with the heady atmosphere that must be working at a Conde Nast magazine (at least in the days of Si Newhouse). I had a few quibbles with the book, but it feels a bit like being mad at a perfect cupcake for not being a delicious salad. A great, breezy read, and fun to tag along on part of the journey of steering an exciting monthly magazine.
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  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    I loved listening to Ruth Reichl tell her story. I highly recommend the audio book. When Gourmet shut down I was both incredulous and sad. It was the end of a food writing era. Save Me the Plums provides some closure by telling the story of the decline, but also offers delightful insights into the food industry. Reichl comes across as warm and unpretentious which is quite a feat considering the world she inhabits. The book was so engaging, the time so nostalgic I didn't want it to end. It was a I loved listening to Ruth Reichl tell her story. I highly recommend the audio book. When Gourmet shut down I was both incredulous and sad. It was the end of a food writing era. Save Me the Plums provides some closure by telling the story of the decline, but also offers delightful insights into the food industry. Reichl comes across as warm and unpretentious which is quite a feat considering the world she inhabits. The book was so engaging, the time so nostalgic I didn't want it to end. It was a little bit like saying goodbye to Gourmet all over again.
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  • Katelyn
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. It's not often I'm tempted to give a book 5 stars (this is saved for my favorites books that I perpetually re-read). I thought I'd pick up this book for a few pages and put it back down again, but Reichl had me from the first word. This is her captivating story of leaving her job as a New York Times restaurant critic to become Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine. Her writing is as luscious as the food she critiqued, and the food is essential in this memoir. Highly recommended to anyon 4.5 stars. It's not often I'm tempted to give a book 5 stars (this is saved for my favorites books that I perpetually re-read). I thought I'd pick up this book for a few pages and put it back down again, but Reichl had me from the first word. This is her captivating story of leaving her job as a New York Times restaurant critic to become Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine. Her writing is as luscious as the food she critiqued, and the food is essential in this memoir. Highly recommended to anyone who loves a good (true) story. This is good reading, and would make for an interesting book club discussion as well.Now to go track down her other memoirs....
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  • Kacie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this memoir -- the storytelling and subject matter were just a lot of fun for me, and the timing of this book was perfect (I needed a break from some heavier reads). This is the first book I've read by Reichl and I'm looking forward to more from her. A side note, the recession was killer for many magazines, Gourmet obviously included. I didn't read this title; it just wasn't on my radar as an early 20s broke person. But now? I would have loved it and I'm sad it's gone.
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  • Lynne
    January 1, 1970
    This book was such a delicious read! Great stories about Gourmet Magazine, recipes, New York City, and much more! I highly recommend this to everyone who enjoys cooking, reading about food, or even eating!
  • Jane Cairns
    January 1, 1970
    Save Me the Plums. a foodie memoir, is fantastic, quick paced and easy to read. It takes you inside the monied, glitzy world of Condé Nast. Ruth Reichl was editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine for about 10 years prior to it's being shut down.
  • Deborah Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    A behind the scenes look at Gourmet magazine and the fancy New York publishing world, as it was a decade ago (and sadly, is no more).I am a fan of most things Ruth Reichl, and it is such a treat to have a new title from her. I got a bit lost in the names and job titles, but immersed in the tales of recipe testing, trips, etc. Chocolate cake, made scores of times and taste-testing all along? Paris, several times, for work? Lavish parties with the best canapes in town? Yes please, I'm in!This will A behind the scenes look at Gourmet magazine and the fancy New York publishing world, as it was a decade ago (and sadly, is no more).I am a fan of most things Ruth Reichl, and it is such a treat to have a new title from her. I got a bit lost in the names and job titles, but immersed in the tales of recipe testing, trips, etc. Chocolate cake, made scores of times and taste-testing all along? Paris, several times, for work? Lavish parties with the best canapes in town? Yes please, I'm in!This will appeal to foodies, Gourmet lovers, appreciators of memoir. Not as moving as her earlier titles (Tender at the Bone, Garlic and Sapphires) but a fun romp.With big thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Hooray! Notified this morning that I’m one of the FirstReads winners of this book!
  • Linda Smatzny
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very enjoyable book covering the years that the author worked at Gourmet. The book's pages just flowed and seemed to turn themselves. The writing is like listening to a friend tell a story. A few of the chapters have recipes. The book was a quick easy read. I received a free copy of this book thru the Goodreads First Read program.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a foodie. My husband is pure meat and potatoes,and I only look adventurous next to him. I didn’t subscribe to Gourmet and was basically intimidated by the title when I was a young woman. However I knew Ruth Reichl and her reviews for The NY Times and I had read some of her earlier writings. This particular chapter of her many volume memoir focuses on her ten years leading Gourmet to the front of the food revolution and then presiding over its demise. It is a fascinating story and she is I am not a foodie. My husband is pure meat and potatoes,and I only look adventurous next to him. I didn’t subscribe to Gourmet and was basically intimidated by the title when I was a young woman. However I knew Ruth Reichl and her reviews for The NY Times and I had read some of her earlier writings. This particular chapter of her many volume memoir focuses on her ten years leading Gourmet to the front of the food revolution and then presiding over its demise. It is a fascinating story and she is a remarkable writer. Nowadays even our local restaurant reviewers wax elegiac about cuisine with the most pretentious descriptions of rather ordinary fare. Ruth Reichl can create a tone poem that will have you salivating about sea creatures and calves’ brains and sauces so obscure you don’t recognize half the ingredients. Whether a five course dinner from a three star restaurant or pancakes she whipped up in her own kitchen, Reichl uses language as the great chef she is - seasoned to perfection and shared with the readers in a great feast.When she is not writing about food, she is talking about the people behind the food — the chefs and writers and her friends and family who share her love for a good meal and the camaraderie found around a table. Despite her power and influence, she comes across as the most unpretentious of souls, and her stories are the kind you enjoy, sitting around after a good meal. I am so glad to have had the chance to read this story of what was clearly a very special publication, but this book is a treasure for another reason, Whether you are crazy about food or just enjoy a good meal. Reichl creates a desire in the reader to embrace life like a feast, tasting it with all your senses and sharing your pleasure with others. I hope there are more stories to come.
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  • Yolanda
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved her writing for years. She has a way of taking our relationship with food and making it exciting and sensual. She explores how good is so much an expression of our history and shared experiences. Thanks for allowing me to review this book to Netgalley and the publisher
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  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.Ruth Reichl’s newest book, Save Me the Plums, is delightful. She is a natural storyteller; her account of her tenure at Gourmet magazine is well-constructed, and the narrative flows as smoothly as sesame oil. I am the cooking black sheep in a family of gourmets, but after looking up Reichl and learning some of her background, I was eager to read her memoir. She was a Berkeley hippie living and cooking in a commune, with n Disclaimer: I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.Ruth Reichl’s newest book, Save Me the Plums, is delightful. She is a natural storyteller; her account of her tenure at Gourmet magazine is well-constructed, and the narrative flows as smoothly as sesame oil. I am the cooking black sheep in a family of gourmets, but after looking up Reichl and learning some of her background, I was eager to read her memoir. She was a Berkeley hippie living and cooking in a commune, with no interest in the corporate world. Her quote from the back of the book: “At heart I was still a sixties rebel with a deep mistrust of corporate ways.” I was hooked.Reichl is a superb writer, which is where she got her start, as a restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. Conde Nast seduced her into taking the position of editor-in-chief at Gourmet magazine. She at first turned them down, as she felt she was not managerial material. After listening to input from her husband and friends in the restaurant world, she decided to give it a try.And what a try it was! Reichl learned her job through trial and error, determined that she could make the magazine once again into a shining star. The timing was perfect, as restaurants were coming into their own as a cultural beacon. A new generation was rising through corporate ranks (translation: they could afford good restaurants). People were becoming aware of the many issues surrounding the food we eat; not just nutritional value, and subjects such as trans fat, but how animals are raised and slaughtered, how the world is depleting natural resources in the oceans. Reichl held her breath and ran articles in Gourmet that discussed these philosophical issues as well as how to prepare spicy Chinese noodles.Reichl’s book is broader than the subject of fine dining. This is an insider look into the many facets of running and publishing a magazine, as well as an account of the cultural shift that heralded major changes in the restaurant as well as the publishing industry.
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  • Megan Prokott
    January 1, 1970
    From New York Times food critic to … editor-in-chief of a magazine? Ruth Reichl chronicles her trials and triumphs at the helm of legendary epicurean magazine, Gourmet, in her latest book.For those of you who know my reading taste well, you’ll know that this book might as well say “Written for Megan Prokott” on the jacket. I mean look at this list: Powerful female author? Check. Discussion on the importance of the arts? Check. Day to day view into the creation of a magazine? Check. Written from From New York Times food critic to … editor-in-chief of a magazine? Ruth Reichl chronicles her trials and triumphs at the helm of legendary epicurean magazine, Gourmet, in her latest book.For those of you who know my reading taste well, you’ll know that this book might as well say “Written for Megan Prokott” on the jacket. I mean look at this list: Powerful female author? Check. Discussion on the importance of the arts? Check. Day to day view into the creation of a magazine? Check. Written from the perspective of a chef? Check. Multiple trips to Paris? Check!I am equally happy to report that Save Me the Plums is everything I wanted it to be. I was a huge Ruth Reichl fan before and now I like her even more knowing that she’s such a badass woman who unassumingly took something average and outdated (Gourmet magazine pre-Ruth) and made it cutting-edge and incredible. The beauty of this memoir is that it can be enjoyed both by people with an interest in reading about kitchens, food, restaurants, and chefs and by those who are intrigued by the arts, magazines, editorial, and publishing as a whole. FULL REVIEW HERE: http://meganprokott.com/save-me-the-p...
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