- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Broadway; Reprint edition (March 2, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0767903382
- ISBN-13: 978-0767903387
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Paperback – March 2, 1999
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New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl reads her (only very slightly abridged) memoir with the same humor, care, and intimacy that she put into its writing. The voices of the chefs, waiters, and gourmands who taught her to love food and its preparation come to life in this audiobook. Particularly compelling is her wonderful tale of "Life on Mars"--boarding school in Montreal might well have been on another planet. We listen as her halting French becomes fluent, as she shares weekend forays for forbidden smoked meat and cream puffs (the cure for all homesickness) with her new friend, Beatrice, and as her encounter with Beatrice's father, Monsieur du Croix, introduces her to a new level of joy in food. Audiobook listeners are also treated to a handy booklet of recipes included with the tapes that represent a dish from each of the main characters we meet in Ruth's life. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Reichl discovered early on that since she wasn't "pretty or funny or sexy," she could attract friends with food instead. But that initiative isn't likely to secure her an audience for her chaotic, self-satisfied memoirs, although her restaurant reviews in the New York Times are popular. Reichl's knack for describing food gives one a new appreciation for the pleasures of the table, as when she writes here: "There were eggplants the color of amethysts and plates of sliced salami and bresaola that looked like stacks of rose petals left to dry." But when she is recalling her life, she seems unable to judge what's interesting. Raised in Manhattan and Connecticut by a docile father who was a book designer and a mother who suffered from manic depression, Reichl enjoyed such middle-class perks as a Christmas in Paris when she was 13 and high school in Canada to learn French. But her mother was a blight, whom Reichl disdains to the discomfort of the reader who wonders if she exaggerates. The author studied at the University of Michigan, earned a graduate degree in art history, married a sculptor named Doug, lived in a loft in Manhattan's Bowery and then with friends bought a 17-room "cottage" in Berkeley, Calif., which turned into a commune so self-consciously offbeat that their Thanksgiving feast one year was prepared from throwaways found in a supermarket dumpster. Seasoning her memoir with recipes, Reichl takes us only through the 1970s, which seems like an arbitrary cutoff, and one hopes the years that followed were more engaging than the era recreated here.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The stories are often laugh out loud funny, and some are very touching (her mother's manic behavior is explained later in the book). The book allows the reader to see Reichl's influences and her deep love of food through the stories, without Reichl ever coming out and saying "these are my influences."
Food lovers in particular will probably adore this book, but lovers of autobiographies will probably also enjoy it. The book is not about food, exactly, but about a woman's coming of age (and part of that coming of age is that she simply loves food and the art of its creation).
A delicious read--I couldn't put it down.
With good-humored perspective, Ruth Reichl, NY Times Food Editor, lovingly introduces the significant people in her life and the way she managed to find a path for herself and build a wonderful life in spite of a tumultuous childhood. A childhood that was filled with emotional trauma and rather ghastly home experiences, (imagine) Ruth's Mother picks her up from middle school, and without any preparation or explanation, drives to Canada, where she deposits Ruth in a Catholic boarding school where only French is spoken. When Ruth begs not to be left there, her Mother reminds her that she is the one that wants to learn French!
Reichl introduces us to quirky, memorable characters that thankfully guided the development of her love of fine food. A story filled with wit, sadness, resourcefulness and occasional mishap, Ruth will tell you she learned early in life that the most important thing in life is a good story!
You will be as amazed as I by the life Reichl led and discover a range of cooking and eating possibilities way beyond today's lifestyle. Excellent!
The author is equally effective when she moves away from the table to tell more directly of her relationships with friends and family. She describes some episodes that could be seen as time-bound clichés - living in a commune, working in a collectively managed restaurant - with a perspective sometimes lacking in baby-boom memoirs. She brings similar good-humored perspective to her mother's mental illness and her own struggle with anxiety attacks, never wallowing in graphic description of symptoms. You don't have to be a "foodie" to enjoy TENDER AT THE BONE, just a lover of warm, tender memoirs.