Save Me the Plums

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Love Ruth. Love her writing. Always have, always will. I loved learning more about the inside of Gourmet magazine and the huge role that Ruth had in making it was it was at the end. Great writing!
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Another glorious tantalizing tome from Reichl about her years as the editor of Gourmet magazine. Her description of the life in the opulent Conde Nast offices combined with some the best food writing ever make this book a must read for all those interested in the magic of food. Viewing the high life with a tentative yet acerbic eye, she allows us to enjoy it's intoxication while it lasted. Highly recommended!
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I have loved every one of Ruth Reichl's books but I didn't connect with this one.  This is a memoir of the days she spent at Conde Nast working on a magazine before the magazine folded unexpectedly  I thought this book had too many people who weren't described memorably enough for me to keep track of each one so the details never took hold.
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I forgot how much I love Reichl's writing! She is so relatable and her stories so real, you feel like you are just hanging out with her and she is talking to you. This book explains how she became head of Gourmet Magazine, and relates her journey to remake the magazine into something vital and relevant. Her passion for food and food issues is evident on every page. Great book from beginning to end. Oh ... and there are recipes!
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Ruth Reichl’s books are among my favorite food memoirs. I regularly give away copies of Tender At The Bone to friends and Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic And Sapphires are right up there too. After finishing Garlic And Sapphires, which goes into her experiences as the New York Times food critic, I fervently hoped her next book would be about her time as the editor in chief at the now shuttered Gourmet magazine.

Save Me The Plums was worth the wait. Reichl gives a no-holds-barred account of her transition from food critic to EIC, her coworkers, the triumphs, and how it all came to an end. She was a very unconventional choice for Gourmet and we get to see very clearly how it played out. She had quite the learning curve but what a marvelous ride she had. It made me a little bummed I never read Gourmet, at least not that I can recall. But given her account of what the magazine was like before she took over, I can understand why I would have written it off as “not for me” and never taken another look. 

Reichl changed the culture of the staff and that in turn led to vibrant years together. I really enjoyed hearing about the risks they took, the way various people left their imprint on it, and the various writers they hired for articles, including Junot Díaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and David Foster Wallace. The behind-the-scenes on DFW's piece Consider The Lobster was especially fascinating. She also admits where she messed up and what about the role worked for her and didn’t.

She also shares luminously about 9/11, both the personal impact and how the magazine staff came together to feed the rescue workers. It made me tear up, thinking back to where I was that fateful day and how we’ve changed as a nation since then.

Several recipes are included and I’ve bookmarked a few, including Spicy Chinese Noodles and Thanksgiving Turkey Chili. The love of food permeates the pages and while Reichl has a more adventurous palate than I do, she excels at making her readers love the journey as much as she did. Save Me The Plums is a marvelous addition to the food memoir canon.
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I loved Ruth Reichl's new book, Save Me the Plums. It gives readers a fascinating look into the making of a magazine.  Ruth's years at Gourmet Magazine were exciting and challenging and she spares nothing in the details of what life was like during those years.

I am a huge fan of Reichl.  This is the third book of hers that I have read.
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The author as a young girl finds an old Gourmet Magazine in a used bookstore while accompanying her father on errands.  She opens it up and begins reading.  Just 8 years old, she nonetheless is transported by its descriptions of other lands, different foods and ingredients.  She begins to collect the magazines and develops a new hobby, cooking, as a result.  Her hobby opens new horizons for her:  as her mother brings home strange new foods to cook and her father takes her through different ethnic neighborhoods as they search for novel ingredients. Fast forward 40 years and the opportunity of her life presents itself, would she like to be the editor of Gourmet Magazine?  With warmth, candor, humor and humility author Ruth Reichl shares her decade at the helm of Gourmet.  We meet her family, her work crew and learn something about the joys and frustrations of her job.  We share in her frustration at the ending we know is coming.  This is such a wonderful book for lovers of publishing tales, foodies and women-succeeding-at-work.  It is fast and impossible to put down.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Ruth Reichl knows about good food, and she knows good food writing. After years as the food critic for The New York Times, and then for years before at the Los Angeles Times, she decided to accept the job as Editor-in-Chief at Gourmet magazine. 

Reichl had a long relationship with Gourmet, from when she first found the magazine in a dusty used bookstore on an outing with her book designer father, through the years it lost its unique voice, through to her reign as editor. She was able to bring back the spark that Gourmet had, to let her creative team run wild with imagination and panache. She inspired the best young writers to its pages. She brought life to its covers. She helped unite the chefs of New York in celebrations and in charity work. 

Save Me the Plums is her memoir of her decade at Gourmet, from her early days where she felt she was out of her depth, through the years where the magazine recaptured its spirit and its voice, to the final days, where nothing was able to save the magazine from the depths of the nation’s financial devastation. 

Reichl’s stories are beautifully told, filled with textures and flavors, nuance and surprise, and just like the best gourmet meal, a dash of magic. I love reading her stories. She has a way of explaining how things change as they stay the same and how you can move forward by staying in place. And that story of Paris and the black dress? Absolutely breathtaking! 

If you’ve read Ruth Reichl before, then you know how special her writing is. You should buy this and devour it immediately. If you’ve not read her before, then my advice is the same. Start with this one, or a different memoir, or her novel Delicious!, or one of her cookbooks (I adore her 2015 cookbook My Kitchen Year on audio—yes, I do know how that sounds, and believe me, you do want to listen to a cookbook on audio!). But give yourself the gift of Reichl’s writing. After you read one, be prepared. You’ll be left hungry for more. 

Galleys for Save Me the Plums were provided by Random House through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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Picking up where My Kitchen Year left off, food writer Ruth Reichl invites us on a literary and culinary journey from her transition of leaving the The New York Times as restaurant critic to becoming the Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine.

It was refreshing to be given an inside peek at her learning curve of becoming a beginner once more: learning the different slang of a magazine vs. a newspaper, her championing of the layout, content, images, and recipes to appeal to everyday readers, along with the tricky but necessary partnerships with advertisers. In her later tenure, she recounts the struggles of personnel changes while remaining optimistic despite the doomsday predictions and eventual shuttering of Gourmet.

What a treat it was to return to the beautiful and comforting prose of Ruth Reichl, which is as just delicious and mouth-watering as the recipes she shares at the end of each chapter.

My thanks to Random House and NetGalley for access to the digital ARC.
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Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in April.

Reichl's introduction to and experiences within Gourmet magazine by way of starting as a critic with the New York Times. The cast of characters expand with each passing chapter (which happen to be bookended by simple, worldly recipes) about food's transportive qualities, trying new things, tracking trends in cuisine, traveling the world, noshing and shopping for culinary implements with the famous, letting go of the reins and not micromanaging, Reichl wanting to advance the magazine as its editor with the times, rather than having it stay mired in classic French decadence.
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I really love Ruth Reichl’s work. It was cool to learn so much about Gourmet, publishing, and NYC during the years Reichl spent at the magazine. But it’s her writing that I most appreciate. She’s funny and blunt, but also sensitive and reflective. She writes confidently about both her achievements and her vulnerabilities, acknowledging her privileges along the way. I’m so glad I’ve not yet read a few of her backlist titles - more delights await!
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As a long time subscriber to Gourmet magazine ,and one who was extremely disappointed when that subscription abruptly stopped, I was really happy to get an advance copy of this book. I loved getting a glimpse into the Conde Nast empire and the inner workings of Gourmet. The authors's descriptions of food make you feel the taste. I have always been a fan of Ruth Reichl and enjoyed this book immensel y
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Warm and endearing with all the aromas and textures one expects of Reichl. A nice look at the inside of a foreign world with the luxury publishing business. Fun and playful, it can't distance itself enough from Reichl's other works to make it feel unique. It is more like another volume in her autobiography. Given the richness of her life, that is not a bad thing but as a stand-alone work, it felt out of of place
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Thank you for the advance copy, NetGalley. I have enjoyed all of Ruth Reichl’s prior books and this one did not disappoint. The memoir begins with Ms Reichl taking the reigns at Gourmet magazine, and finishes with the closing of that iconic magazine. I had been hoping that this story might one day be shared. Knowing the end of the story, it was intriguing and interesting to read and experience the decline of Gourmet on a personal level. A good read, especially if you miss Gourmet! Even better, this book includes several recipes - try the Jeweled Chocolate Cake - simple and delicious.
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I love Ruth Reichl.  I have read all of her books, and given them as presents.  I followed her avidly when she was the food critic for the New York Times, and I cheered when she became the editor of Gourmet, of which, like my mother before me, I was a long-time subscriber.  When Conde Nast shut the magazine down so abruptly I went into mourning for weeks, as if I had lost a good friend, which I had.

This book is about how she became the editor of Gourmet, and her time there.  It is as wonderful and interesting as her other books, and I can see myself giving this one away to friends and family.  It is written in Reichl’s unique style, and the reader feels as if she is sitting across the table telling stories.  It is just great, and I am not going to say any more and spoil your enjoyment.  You will want to hear Reichl’s voice when you read this book, not mine.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Five stars is not enough to reward it, but that is all I have to give.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
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I've always been a magazine lover. From Highlights in grade school to my teen magazines (Sassy, YM, Seventeen) in middle school, and my obsession with fashion magazines in high school. I loved that there was a world out there that was full of animals and adventures, fashionable high school students, and edgy and elegant women living it up in the big city. As a mom and wife I looked for answers of how to feed my family and make a happy home in every homemaking and cooking magazine I could find. It took until my late 30s to figure out that I can take in all the information I find in magazines but I don't need to measure my worth against them. Just like I enjoy reading about or watching the antics of Anna Wintour, I am not building my day around her thoughts--as you would see from my daily uniform of yoga pants. Same for Ruth Reichl. She's lived a life totally submerged in the food trends of New York, pursued culinary travels through Europe, and run the top food magazine before the internet consumed almost all traditional media. I admire her career and empathized with her struggles to juggle her career with being a mother, but I also felt a disconnect when she discussed some aspects of working in the magazine industry. I enjoyed the behind the scenes views she provided but with the constantly rotating cast of characters I found myself wanting to know why this or that coworker with this or that background now had this this title.  

Quick summary: This is a memoir of a food writer with a focus on her career and the who's who of Conde Nast/Gourmet in the aughts. While interesting, I wanted more personal food stories.
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Thanks to Netgalley, for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I read one of Ms. Reichl's previous books, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, describing her adventures as a food critic, and loved it. Understand, I don't normally eat at upscale restaurants like those she reviewed, and I'm by no stretch of the imagination a "foodie" - but her descriptions of the food and her adventures at restaurants were enthralling.

Similarly, I don't believe I've ever read Gourmet magazine, except perhaps to leaf through it in a waiting room. However, once again, Ms. Reichl's writing and her description of her tenure at Gourmet were enthralling - I was carried along, just waiting to see what would happen next!

I think part of the secret is that Ms. Reichl seems like a "real person" - somewhat bemused by the circles in which she's moving. While I'm sure that part of this is the persona she's striving to portray, it's very convincing, and this makes the book something that I could relate to, imagining how I would handle these situations.

An extra bonus is the inclusion of several recipes, including one for chocolate cake that sounds wonderful!

At any rate, the book is a joy to read - interesting, amusing, giving me a window into a life that's far removed from my own. A terrific read!
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Ruth Reichl has done it again! Mostly memoir, with a dash of well placed recipes, Reichl weaves us through her time leading up to and through her experience as editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine. I've loved all that Reichl has done and this is no exception. In fact, this might just be my favorite!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for the ARC. These opinions are my own and are in no way swayed by the method in which I received this book.
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Ruth Reichl has always been an instant read author for and Save Me The Plums doesn’t disappoint. What an incredible career she has had! An eye-opening view of the chutzpah needed to run, grow and support not just the birth of a magazine, but the renaissance of the ultimate insider view of all things foodalicious.
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I love reading Ruth Reichl. She is passionate, funny, adventurous and articulate. This memoir of the ten years she spent as the last editor of Gourmet magazine is fun, sad, enlightening, and very much captures the excitement and camaraderie of that time and place.

For those of us, like Ruth, who grew up with Gourmet, it was fascinating to get an insider's view of how the magazine operated, the test kitchens, and the people who created it. And reading about the end of it all was tinged with melancholy and nostalgia.

Her writing is laced with insights and philosophy, as well as the occasional recipe. I did her her speak on a book tour once, and she came across in person as she does in print -- unpretentious and approachable.

Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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