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helenliz

helenliz

Garlic and Sapphires

Garlic and Sapphires - Ruth Reichl This starts with Ruth heading to New York ready to take up the post of the New York Times' restaurant critic. this is a high powered post, as everyone want to impress the food critic and get a good write up for their establishment. She discovered quite how high much pressure there is on her on the plane to NY, when a fellow traveller starts giving her a once over. Once they spot a food critic, the restaurant is likely to try and impress (the tale of the increasing raspberres is a beautiful vignette to illustrate this point). So Ruth resorts to a subterfuge in order to be able to visit these places as a normal punter. She goes in disguise. And that's wig, makeup, padding, clothes and fake credit card. To get into character, she develops a backstory for each alias. Although it does seem that each one is not so much a separate character so much as a facet of her own character enlarged upon. Molly is meek, Miriam is her mother, Brenda is her best self, Emily isn't. It's a very interesting idea and seems - according to this tale - to have worked. Who notices a little grey haired lady sitting being invisible? Not the waiters that appear in this book. She adds the relevant reviews of some of the places that she takes her aliases for dinner, and it is especially noticeable how different the experience of dinning can be when she goes as different people. The recipes that intersperse the chapters are a nice touch and you can see that this is where her enthusiasm really lies - in food, not the dinning. This was a fairly easy read, and I did read it over quite a few cups of tea & cake during a weekend away. but it was most illuminating - we all dream of being able to have a fabulous meal out in a really good restaurant, but the tales here show that sometimes the little people aren't treated very well and that the mark of a really classy establishment is that it makes everyone who walks in the door feel like they are one of the great and good.