Tender at the Bone
Growing up at the TableeBook - 2010
For better or worse, almost all of us grow up at the table. It is in this setting that Ruth Reichl's brilliantly written memoir takes its form. For, at a very early age, 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."
Tender at the Bone is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by unforgettable people, the love of tales well told, and a passion for food. In other words, the stuff of the best literature. The journey begins with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known for-evermore as the Queen of Mold, and moves on to the fabled Mrs. Peavey, onetime Baltimore socialite millionaress, who, for a brief but poignant moment, was retained as the Reichls' maid. Then we are introduced to Monsieur du Croix, the gourmand, who so understood and yet was awed by this prodigious child at his dinner table that when he introduced Ruth to the souffl#65533;, he could only exclaim, "What a pleasure to watch a child eat her first souffl#65533;!" Then, fast-forward to the politically correct table set in Berkeley in the 1970s, and the food revolution that Ruth watched and participated in as organic became the norm. But this sampling doesn't do this character-rich book justice. After all, this is just a taste.
Tender at the Bone is a remembrance of Ruth Reichl's childhood into young adulthood, redolent with the atmosphere, good humor, and angst of a sensualist coming-of-age.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Ruth Reichl's Delicious!
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"I loved working in the restaurant with a fierceness that surprised me. There was no hierarchy: everybody did everything, from cooking the food to mopping the floor, and there was no job I didn't like, from lifting fifty-pound sacks of flour off the delivery truck to burning my hands on hot plates as a I snatched them from the dishwasher."
"It was a restaurant called Marco's, on the edge of a small square. We went down a few steps, as beautiful as jewelry. There were eggplants the color of amethysts and plates of sliced salami and bresaola that looked like stacks of rose petals left to dry. Roasted tomatoes burst invitingly and red peppers were plump and slicked with oil."
"Alice would have snickered derisively at the notion, but she was the first person I ever met who understood the power of cooking. She was a great cook, but she cooked more for herself than for other people, not because she was hungry but because she was comforted by the rituals of the kitchen."
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