Save Me the Plums

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

I am now a Ruth Reichl fan. I read Garlic and Sapphires a while ago and enjoyed it but I recently read her novel, Delicious! and now I am hooked. Although I have never read Gourmet magazine this memoir of Reichl's pulls you into a world that is like a novel (in fact I can see where much of the inspiration for Delicious! came from). After a number of years as the New York Times restaurant critic, Ruth is offered the job of editor of Gourmet magazine. This is a magazine she discovered in used book stores when she was a child and instantly fell in love with. That magazine however which introduced its audience to foods from around the world had become a staid publication catering to the entrenched affluent audience of Conde Nast magazine readers. This is the story of how she and her co workers changed the publication for the better right up until it went out of business.
  The New York world of Gourmet was as exciting as you would imagine it. Even after years eating at the best restaurants in NYC, Ruth is not a part of the world of Conde Nast where editors are given excellent salaries (6 times her restaurant critic salary) as well as a car and a driver and a clothing allowance. It takes her a while to actually take advantage of that kind of life style but she is quickly drawn into the world of the magazine and creates a more collegial working atmosphere. It becomes the best job of her life. Even better than the descriptions of working at Gourmet are the glimpses into her life with her parents and with her husband and son. Just reading about her life growing up in NYC seems fascinating to an American who grew up in the suburbs. This is a book that will appeal to those who love to eat, love to cook or just love to read about it.
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This is a memoir that covers Ruth Reichl's time as editor of the famed food magazine, Gourmet.
She takes us on the journey of being offered and accepting the position, learning how to be an editor of a magazine which requires much plate spinning (pun intended!), through to the shocking announcement that the magazine would cease production immediately with the final issue printed in November 2009. 
The parts of this memoir that shine are when Ruth describes food. This is no surprise as her background is both as a cook and a restaurant reviewer. Food is, indeed, her passion. Especially fun was the inside look into the Gourmet test kitchen and the working and reworking of recipes to get them just right. As well as a trip she undertakes to Paris in order to spend time and write about the city from a thrifty traveler's perspective.
Additionally, Reichl has a way of weaving threads of her personal life throughout the story. Particularly with regard to the transformation of her son from a finicky eater, due in part to a medical condition, to a full fledged man with a now healthy appetite and zest for inventive eating. 
The memoir gets a little bogged down with characters, including the fact that there is quite a bit of name dropping, but I suppose one can't blame her, as she did spend a fair amount of time wooing highfalutin advertisers to the pages of the magazine. And, the flow of folks entering through the magazines door, at times, became confusing. 
Overall, though, another fun food memoir from one of the masters of the craft!

Also discussed on episode 69 of the Book Cougars Podcast:

And upcoming episode 70 to be aired on 2/19/19.

#SaveMeThePlums #NetGalley
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I have loved her writing for years. She has a way of  taking our relationship with food and making it exciting and sensual. 
She explores how good is so much an expression of our history and shared experiences. 
Thanks for allowing me to review this book to Netgalley and the publisher
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I have no idea what first attracted me to Ruth Reichl’s books since I’m not much of a cook, live on the West Coast and don’t read food reviews or magazines like Gourmet.  Yet I’ve read all her books and was absolutely delighted to discover she had written a new one.  Thank you Random House and NetGalley for allowing me to read this literary treat in preview.

It’s not the food that I’m attracted to but her experiences and relationships with people, Michael and Nick included.  She’s not a self-avowed feminist, yet she has confidently and carefully negotiated realms traditionally manned by men.  In her ten-year tenure as editor-in-chief at Gourmet she became accustomed to a generous budget, clothing allowance and a driver, which was in stark contrast to the Paris-on-a-shoestring trip she took in the last days of the magazine where she rediscovered the kindness of strangers.  She recounted an occasion when she was stranded in an airport and was invited by a fellow traveler to her home.  She mused, “Those things never happen when you travel on the excess express.  The more stars in your itinerary, the less likely you are to find the real life of another country.  I’d forgotten how money becomes a barrier insulating you from ordinary life.”

One of my favorite moments in the book was when Reichl met a widower while dining and realized that the very expensive dress she had declined to buy in a speciality shop had belonged to his wife.  Years later she met him again, but at a small restaurant and expressed surprise to see him “slumming..” He responded, “When you attain my age you will understand one of life’s great secrets: Luxury is best appreciated in small portions.  When it becomes routine it loses its allure.”

She concludes with an acknowledgement:  “This whole book is , or course, a thank-you to the late Si Newhouse, but it can’t be said often enough.  If only the world had more people cheering for excellence.”  Indeed.
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Once again Ruth Reichl has written an endearing memoir about her life as a food aficionado, this time from the vantage point of the editor of a magazine.  When she was wooed away from her successful New York Times position as a restaurant critic, she had her doubts about her own ability to pull off such a high power role as editor of Gourmet Magazine.  It turned out that she was excellent at her new job, resulting in new energy and creativity at the highly regarded publication.  What's fun for the reader is learning some of the ins and outs of magazine publishing, along with anecdotes about some big names in the culinary world and New York's fast lane.  Reichl manages to make the narrative conversational and entertaining, almost as though we're sitting across the kitchen table from her.  Knowing about the magazine's demise doesn't detract at all from the end, and the pace is quick and satisfying.
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A behind the scenes look at Gourmet magazine and the fancy New York publishing world, as it was a decade ago (and sadly, is no more).

I am a fan of most things Ruth Reichl, and it is such a treat to have a new title from her. I got a bit lost in the names and job titles, but immersed in the tales of recipe testing, trips, etc.  Chocolate cake, made scores of times and taste-testing all along? Paris, several times, for work? Lavish parties with the best canapes in town? Yes please, I'm in!

This will appeal to foodies, Gourmet lovers, appreciators of memoir.  Not as moving as her earlier titles (Tender at the Bone, Garlic and Sapphires) but a fun romp.

With big thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A true delight! I have to admit, I have read all of her books and always enjoy them. This one was a fascinating peek into publishing, magazines and the food world. Lots of detail, some gossip and I felt like I learned so much. 

I did find the timeline a little wonky at times. She spent a lot of time with some aspects of transiting into magazine work but then all asudden she had been there a year or more without talking about too much in between.
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We're you a fan or reader of 'Gourmet' magazine? Are you the kind of person who pours over new recipes and lets your imagination run with options? If you are a fan of Ruth Reichl's writing then you'll definitely want to read this new book. You'll have  glimpses into her upbringing, her time in LA and NY, work as a food critic, and then on to her move to Conte Nast. 

The biggest surprise was learning that "brand Ruth" (all the promotional things that made her a household name) were done in an effort to save her beloved magazine; learning this made me sad -- that her employers used her this way. On the other hand, the world got to know a uniquely special person.
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I have not read Ruth Reichl’s work before and wasn’t over eager to read this book. But read it I dd. Or should I say   I devoured her memoir of updating Gourmet magazine--a magazine she loved as a child, and making it relevant to a wider, more food savvy audience. I enjoyed her account of learning the magazine publishing world: the business and political parts as well as the creative side. It is a delight to read. I did not want to stop.
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I fell in love with Ruth Reichl's writing within a few pages of this book! I devoured every chapter and was extremely delighted to find that she included recipes as well. I appreciated every word on the pages and found this memoir to be so informative on how a monthly magazine is created. 

A few years ago I gave my husband a copy of Ruth's book "Garlic and Sapphires", which he raved about nonstop, I now understand why. She has a gift with words that I've not experienced before. This may be the first book I've read by Ruth Reichl, but it will not be the last.
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I love Ruth to begin with and I wasn't disappointed by this new memoir of hers. Particularly loved the juicy details of editor life at Condé Nast!
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As a longtime fan of Reichl's writing, I really looked forward to this memoir of her time as editor of Gourmet. Unfortunately, it's not my favorite of her books. It's still good, and if I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars. I just didn't find the story as vivid or interesting as Tender to the Bone or her novel Delicious! (which I loved). I guess I was expecting Reichl to say more about how print media has been changing over the years. There was a bit of discussion about sales and the shift to web content, but I was surprised that with the hindsight and perspective she has now, she'd have talked a bit more about how the business side of magazine publishing. It actually surprised me to read about the extravagance and jet-setting still going on at Conde Nast only recently. I wanted to know how that worked! Is it really like The Devil Wears Prada over there still?  The sections on the stylists were the most engaging to me because it gave Reichl a chance to describe the food and the concepts behind the cover and article design. That stuff is what I came for! I also quite liked the way she talked about the people and relationships she had with them, but it also felt like she really skimmed over things and didn't share enough gossip. Maybe it just wasn't enough sumptuous food description or behind the scenes details for me, but I'll still read whatever she publishes.
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I loved this! 5 bright stars for Reichl's latest foodie memoir, dedicated to her time at Gourmet magazine. I adored Garlic and Sapphires, but was unfamiliar how and why she moved from the NYT to Gourmet. Her behind the scenes look at the Ruth era of Gourmet was riveting; I appreciated the peek into how magazines operate and how she transformed the publication under her leadership. The personal anecdotes about food and family were especially endearing. I can't wait to recommend this to my readers and listeners.
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This book, which examines the rebranding and unfortunate downfall of Gourmet, draws you in in a way that you feel like you were part of the publication. Or, at least, you wish you were part of it.

This is not the first book I've read my Ruth Reichl, and I was excited to see that this new book was coming out. She has a very unpretentious writing style that makes you not only wish you were with her during most of these experiences, but actually feel like you were there, too.

That coupled with the handful of recipes that she writes about -- which I can't wait to test in my own kitchen -- make this a book definitely worth reading. I managed to read it all in one sitting, just because I got sucked in and couldn't put it down.
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This is exactly the book I've always wanted from Ruth Reichl! I've read all of her memoirs throughout the years and loved them all (especially her insider's look at being the food critic at the NYT), but as someone with a passion for food magazines who still desperately misses Gourmet magazine, Save me the Plums hit the spot for me.

I loved learning what went into Reichl's decision to join Gourmet as Editor-in-Chief and I especially enjoyed seeing the wonderful changes she made at the magazine (along with the great crew she hired). Really, you can tell from anything you read by her, but Reichl is just plain a good person and someone absolutely anyone would want to work for. I admire her leadership skills so much and think the world would be a better place if more managers took a page from her book.

Admittedly, this may not be the ideal book for everyone... If you aren't interested in the inner workings of magazines or don't care about food magazines at all, you may be a bit bored by this, but if you love cooking, writing, and just food in general, definitely consider reading Save Me the Plums. And if you were ever a Gourmet subscriber, I pretty much guarantee that this book will make you happy.

At this point, Ruth Reichl has covered so much of her life through memoirs, but I'm still hoping she has more to share with us in memoir form because I can't get enough of these inside peeks of her life.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colourful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.

Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.

I loved this book: Ruth Reichl is one of my favourite food writers and this memoir did not disappoint. It was interesting to read about her tenure at Gourmet and unlike some autobiographies, it is not self-serving or bragging. She knows how to write, that is for sure. 

If you love food or are addicted to the Food Network, Gusto and other channels, you will find this book beyond interesting: I belong to a biography book club and this will be a summer pick. Why sumer> Because there are local plums in the stores!   

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🍑🍑🍑🍑🍑 (sorry, no plum emoticons!)
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I can't imagine Ruth Reichl writing a word I wouldn't want to read, so I was thrilled when I heard this memoir of her Gourmet days was upcoming. True to her signature style, Reichl's writing is beautiful and rich, focusing on the food while minimizing the drama of the last days of the storied magazine's abrupt closure. (For a grittier, up-close take on those final days, her barely-fictionalized novel "Delicious" is a real treat.) Though it's a memoir, there are a few recipes sprinkled throughout, and I found myself bookmarking them - when a food writer of Reichl's caliber only includes a very few recipes in a book, it's safe to assume they're recipes worth trying. I would heartily recommend this to any foodie, or anyone who'd enjoy an inside look at the decline of the magazine industry over the past decade.
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I have read all the other books of the author and this one did not disappoint. She certainly lived an interesting life and she proved one can change careers mid-life. As a subscriber to Goumet for many years, I found her experiences there both hilarious and poignant.
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After finishing this book, I wonder how this was my first Ruth Reichl book? How I haven’t discovered her books sooner? This memoir tracks her time as editor at Gourmet magazine, which I had just started to discover before it folded. She starts by talking about how she discovered an old Gourmet cookbook at a used book store with her father when she was a child, and her adventures with the book, her mom and dad, that made her fall in love with cooking. It jumps to her considering joining the magazine, and her tenure there. I really enjoyed this book and her stories about her time at the magazine. For newer readers of Reichl, like me, I would say that if you love Samin Nosrat, you’ll enjoy getting to know Ruth through this book. It includes a few recipes, and I’ve added the ingredients to the shopping list for one already.
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Absolutely lovely. I couldn’t get enough of Ruth’s story. I’m sad Gourmet is no longer around!
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