I found this post sitting in my draft folder from nearly two years ago! It makes me want to go back and reread her cookbook, because I’m certain I would actually be able to try some of the recipes this time!
It’s not often that I dedicate a whole blog post to one book review, but My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl is MUCH deserving! This book is marketed as a cookbook, but it is actually a story—and I read every single word, from front to back.
Ruth shares her everyday thoughts, actions, and emotions after finding out that Gourmet magazine, where she had been Editor-in-chief for 10 years, was being shut down. She escapes into the kitchen and is rekindled with her long lost love of cooking.
Of the 136 recipes in this book, there were approximately zero that are compliant with my current elimination diet. Normally that would really turn me off and tick me off, but I did. Not. Even. Care! I drooled over every recipe and stared at the beautiful full color photos.
I think what I loved so much about this book was Ruth’s style—both her writing and her cooking. She ditched the standard recipe formula and instead walked you through the making of each dish, with measurements such as “as big as you like.” “Until you think it looks good.” It felt like she was in your kitchen, and although she was offering instruction, together you were creating a new, exciting dish.
She didn’t claim her recipes were the best. She didn’t bark orders. She didn’t even give precise measurements. She invites you into the kitchen and offers you the opportunity to experiment. This is exactly how I cook—never measuring, never using the same ingredients twice. I think we have gotten too used to people telling us exactly what to do, that we have lost the art that is involved in cooking (and many other areas of our lives). We need boxes with perfect proportions of ingredients and easy 3 step instructions. But cooking (and eating!) is a sacred act, something that takes time, commitment, creativity, and a sense of adventure.
Ruth brings that back in My Kitchen Year, and I could not be more excited!