I didn’t discover Ruth Reichl’s books until I borrowed one from my Mom. She is a very ecclectic reader and I have found some interesting books through her. Ruth’s books are among those. I enjoy her books so much that I took a second turn at them. Yes, they are that entertaining.

This one, Tender at the Bone, is the first of her autobiographical presentations. She is only about 10 or 11 when the story starts and right away we know all about her family. Her father, Ernst, is easy going. He has to be, considering Ruth’s mom, Miriam, is rather…eh… intriguing. She can “make a meal out of anything!” Often much to her family’s chagrin. Ruth even states her brother, Bob, was lucky to have made it to the age of 25.

    Most mornings I got out of bed and went to the refrigerator to see how my mom was feeling. You could tell instantly just by opening the door. One day in 1960 I found a whole suckling pic staring out at me. I jumped back and slammed the door, hard. Then I opened it again. I’d never seen a whole animal in our refrigerator before, even the chickens came in parts. He was surrouned by tiny crab apples, ….. and a whole wreath of weird vegetables.

Now you know why I said her mother was intriguing. And thus begins the story of Ruth’s life.

Family anecdotes fill the pages of Ruth’s book. As do stories of her love relationships. Tales of her travels in Europe with her mother, North Africa with Serafina,

    We passed dark shops filled with patterned rugs, woven clothes, and amber beads. The cook, thick walls closed around us. Serafina licked her lips and hissed at me, “We could get lost and never find our way out. We could disappear forever. Nobody even knows we’re in Tunis!”

And this after traveling with two young men they didn’t know. Can you imagine doing that today!!

But it was cheap and exotic!!!


Her job at The Swallow Restaurant where she worked and learned about so many different foods and different people.

    I began studying the othr members, thrying to figure out how to persuade them to vote for me. Chrissy and Linda were the easiest; they were the backbone… Peter and Michael were easy too: they wanted help making soup. …Antoinette who was French and talented…. Judith, the professor’s wife, was not impressed with me either.Bob, considered me insufficiently temperamental to be a great cook.

But I don’t want to tell you too much. What you need to do is read Tender at the Bone.

And then read Comfort Me With Apples.

And then read Garlic and Sapphires.

All of them whimsical, entertaining, enlightning, sad, inspiring, and truly, truly intriguing.

And, there is ONE little thing I forgot – THE RECIPES!! But only in Tender…

    Mrs. Bergamini’s Sliced Veal Breast
    Mohammad’s Bisteeya
    The Swallow’s Pork and Tomatillo Stew
    Coconut Bread

and Comfort….

I enjoy her books and look forward to reading them again – for the third time. Visit The Kitchen Reader and see how the other book club members liked Ruth’s Book.