NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Los Angeles Times • NPR • Men’s Journal • BookPage • Booklist • Publishers Weekly
In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”
My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.
The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.
Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world's most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.
Praise for My Kitchen Year
“Ruth is one of our greatest storytellers today, which you will feel from the moment you open this book and begin to read: No one writes as warmly and engagingly about the all-important intersection of food, life, love, and loss. This book is a lyrical and deeply intimate journey told through recipes, as only Ruth can do.”—Alice Waters
“What will send this book to the top of bestseller lists is the lovely way Reichl describes how dishes come together, like the Greek chicken soup with lemon and egg known as avgolemono, and her talent for assembling a collection of recipes her legions of former Gourmet fans will want to make themselves.”—The Washington Post
“The recipes make for lovely reading, full of Reichl’s elemental wisdom. . . . In the best way possible, My Kitchen Year is cozy, the reading equivalent of curling up next to a fire with a glass of red wine and perhaps the scent of bread in the oven wafting over.”—Vogue
“If anyone can convince us that a dessert, plus two more fabulous dishes, can turn a crummy day around, it’s culinary writer Ruth Reichl, who knows firsthand just how powerful food can be.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“The voice is pure Reichl in a way that makes the reader yearn for a house in the country with a pantry full of staples. . . . And as she finds solace through cooking, we find comfort too.”—Eater (Fall 2015’s Best Cookbooks)
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Fans of Gourmet already know that Ruth Reichl—the famed restaurant critic–in–disguise and magazine editor—is a terrific storyteller and a true connoisseur of good eating. Every page of My Kitchen Year is a treat. This memoir/cookbook interweaves stories about the demise of Gourmet with easy-to-follow recipes that brought Reichl comfort during that period of uncertainty and sadness. With its lovely photos and witty, inspiring notes, we anticipate looking through this book again and again to find the perfect recipe for every season and mood.
When the doors closed at Gourmet magazine in 2009, editor-in-chief Reichl comes to terms with her professional upheaval by plunging herself into her greatest pleasure cooking. Reichl gets reacquainted with her kitchen and the joy of cooking for herself and others. The year of healing and rediscovery journaled in this cookbook reveals the simple pleasures that the former New York Times restaurant critic and James Beard Award winner recaptures when she steps back into her home kitchen, where it all started. Her recipes, introduced by haiku-like images of smells, tastes, sounds, and cityscape, read like kitchen conversations and have an inviting, informal cook-along-with-Ruth tone. The recipes are arranged by season and include comforting dishes such as roasted tomato soup, corn pudding, fried chicken, grilled cheese with leeks, and hamburgers on potato buns. There's plenty of international fare: pastas, lemony hummus, Yanghuo-style dumplings, spicy Korean shrimp, and vegetable rice sticks. The dishes are clearly fun and uplifting for Reichl, and the unexpected shift from culinary guru to happy home cook chases her blues away. Reichl reminds readers that getting lost in a recipe can be excellent therapy.