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Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table Paperback – April 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375758739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758737
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ruth Reichl's first book, the autobiographical Tender at the Bone, disarmed readers with its droll candor. The former restaurant critic of The New York Times and editor in chief of Gourmet magazine told great stories about growing up and loving food. Comfort Me with Apples begins where the first book ended, tracing Reichl's evolution from chef to food writer while detailing the dissolution of her first marriage, the start of a second, and motherhood at the age of 40. The book also limns a sensual journey, Reichl's awakening to the pleasures of sex as well as food, and also to love. Reichl interweaves her diverse coming-of-age narratives with passion (especially on the subject of food), wit, and a no-nonsense grace, all of which add up to a wonderful read--entertaining, but moving, too.

The story begins when Reichl, living in a '70s Berkeley commune, gets her first real job as a restaurant reviewer. Despite the incredulity of her in-the-movement roommates ("You're going to spend your life telling spoiled, rich people where to eat?" asks one), Reichl persists, traveling widely to polish her palate. In the doing she meets food luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck (a mad encounter in a produce market), M.F.K. Fisher (lunch and sweet reminiscences), and Alice Waters (a garlic feast), among others. Her trip to China, which includes clandestine dealings with a former chef, is particularly well handled. The ungluing of her first marriage is depicted in adroit emotional counterpoint to her soaring career, as is her discovery of love with her second husband, unspooled against her father's death. Reichl also provides recipes, such as Fall Mushroom Soup (made to comfort herself and her mother) that, unexpectedly and delightfully, deepen the narrative. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this follow-up to the excellent memoir Tender at the Bone, Reichl (editor-in-chief at Gourmet) displays a sure hand, an open heart and a highly developed palate. As one might expect of a celebrated food writer, Reichl maps her past with delicacies: her introduction to a Dacquoise by a lover on a trip to Paris; the Dry-Fried Shrimp she learned to make on a trip to China, every moment of which was shared with her adventurous father, ill back home, in letters; the Apricot Pie she made for her first husband as their bittersweet marriage slowly crumbled; the Big Chocolate Cake she made for the man who would become her second, on his birthday. Recipes are included, but the text is far from fluffy food writing. Never shying from difficult subjects, Reichl grapples masterfully with the difficulty of ending her first marriage to a man she still loved, but from whom she had grown distant. Perhaps the most beautifully written passages here are those describing Reichl and her second husband's adoption and then loss of a baby whose biological mother handed over her daughter, then recanted before the adoption was final. This is no rueful read, however. Reichl is funny when describing how the members of her Berkeley commune reacted to the news that she was going to become a restaurant reviewer ("You're going to spend your life telling spoiled, rich people where to eat too much obscene food?"), and funnier still when pointing out the pompousness of fellow food insiders. Like a good meal, this has a bit of everything, and all its parts work together to satisfy. (on sale Apr. 10) Forecast: Even more appetizing than Tender at the Bone, this volume is bound to visit bestseller lists.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Ruth Reichl, Gourmet's editor in chief, is the author of the best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires, and the forthcoming Not Becoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way. She is executive producer of the two-time James Beard Award-winning Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie, which airs on public television across the country, and the editor of the Modern Library Food Series. Before coming to Gourmet, she was the restaurant critic for the New York Times, receiving two James Beard Awards for her work. She lectures frequently on food and culture.

Customer Reviews

It is a quick read, a book I couldn't put down.
Joy Sims
In only a very few words: Ruth Reichl is simply great fun to read.
Mountain Hiker
Also, I am a foodie, so I loved that recipes were included.
Tom L. Jackson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Beth Johnston on June 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thank goodness the waiter slipped coffee into my decaf. Yes, I was up all night, but it gave me time to read "Comfort Me With Apples" in one huge, delicious sitting. If you read and liked Ruth Reichl's previous memoir, "Tender at the Bone," then run out and get this one--it's better. And if you haven't read Tender at the Bone, then get this anyway, or just make your life better and get both.
I'd initially shied away from reading this book because sophomore efforts are rarely as good as the originals, because the first few pages, when I scanned them, looked awfully dreary (all those Berkeley folks giving Reichl a very hard and preachy time of it, complaining that her new job as a restaurant reviewer means selling out), and because of some negative reviews on Amazon. Now that I've reread those reviews, I'm surprised--some people seem to have read such a different book than I did.
But I just figured out what the problem must be. Reichl is a devoted foodie and food writer, but she is also an eloquent and moving memoirist. If you've come to her work looking for insight only about food, go elsewhere (I suggest Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything, or AJ Liebling's Between Meals). But if your interested in lives--women's lives especially--and how they intertwine with careers and passions (Reichl's passion being for food among other things), get this. Reichl is definitely and consciously writing in the tradition of MFK Fisher, who used food as a prism to write about a thousand other things.
Reichl's chief story line is about her career as a restaurant critic and a reporter on the scene of the great revolution in Californian (and hence American) cuisine.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tom Williams on May 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After thoroughly enjoying "Tender on The Bone," I eagerly awaited the publication of Reichl's latest work. While the book is well written, it lacked both the wit and sparkle that made "Tender" such a hit for me. While both books are autobiographical, the first focused more on the humor and tenderness of the events in her life (and of course the food), and this one seems to focus more on her life (and the food).
If this is your first Reichl exploration, stop...click over to "other books by this author," and order a copy of "Tender on The Bone." If you are a Reichl fan, this is a decent read, but wait for the paperback.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've rushed reading this book because I could not put it down. Ruth writes with all her senses. She recreates the smells, the taste, the the texture, the appearance, the sound of food. I have totally enjoyed her sharing the humorous, unique experiences she has had reviewing restauerants, traveling , cooking, famous and not so famous friendships, tender relationships, difficult transitions, and a mother that would try the patience of Job. Throughout all the details shines a love of life and an amazing ability to experience and write about food in such full terms that you feel you are with her in the experience. At the end of each chapter is a recipe or 2 that was mentioned in her adventures. I plan on trying the pasta recipe first. I hope book number 3 is coming soon.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "fischer13" on April 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Reichl has given foodies and book lovers alike yet another wonderful tale of life with taste. Picking up where Tender at the Bone left off, the reader follows reichl from her Berkely commune to food editor of the Los Angeles Times, honestly sharing the story of her disintegrating marriage and her own part in its demise. As she develops as a food writer, Reichl travels to many locals to nosh on the native cuisine, places that are around the corner from her as well as across oceans. One of her many food journies takes her mainland China a mere 9 years after Nixon's historic visit where she willfully disregards the orders of her tour group's official leaders and makes contact with the locals, and of course, eats the food of the people, not the typical restaurant variety. We suffer with her through the loss of her father, and later her daughter, yet the reader is never manipulated into snivelling sentimentality. The same voice that spoke to the hearts and palates of so many readers is evident in this new memoir, ready to consume the reader in more delicious adventures.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it's a great book, a fabulous followup to "Tender at the Bone." Don't forget the fabulous recipes included in the book. The Sweet Potato Pie is now a family staple at my house, and I've made a note to consult the "Big Chocolate Cake" recipe the next time I need to make cake for a huge crowd. (It's a recipe that creates two 13x9x2 chocolate cake layers plus enough icing to cover them.) Some of the other recipes are a bit fancier, or perhaps a bit more fragile than my cooking schedule will allow, but I plan to try plenty more of them. Her books are a good reminder that there ought to be more to the act of eating a meal than simply consuming calories in mass quantities. If you're bored with cooking or eating out, this book might well remind you to notice more carefully what you're experiencing with each bite.
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