Writing Food

Posted on Nov 10, 2013 in Books

I’ve recently discovered Ruth Reichl,  who some will call a food writer; I think she’s first and foremost a storyteller. She’s the author and editor of  several books, former restaurant critic for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine and other lauds.  I’ve just finished Comfort Me with Apples and For You, Mom, Finally.  Her books are about food (there are recipes every chapter and most of them have an emotional connection), but they’re also about the relationships that happen around food, the hope and heartbreak of every life: birth, death, passion, loss, family and friendship told by an extraordinary human being. For You, Mom, Finally is about her relationship with her mother. Ruth’s mother was bi-polar and when her mother was manic she loved to entertain, often with food that was well past its best before date. It was an intense introduction to food, one that  profoundly shaped the author. Reichl reminds me in some ways of another memoirist, Kate Llewellyn, an Australian, whose garden (The Waterlily) and travel writing are likewise filled with allusions to affairs of the heart.