Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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***Garlic and Sapphires

The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

by Ruth Reichl

Reviewed May 9, 2005.
The Penguin Press, New York, 2005.  333 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#9, Biography)

When Ruth Reichl was selected to be the restaurant critic for The New York Times, she was surprised to learn that her picture had been posted in restaurants all over New York.  A waitress recognized her on the plane and told her about a standing offer of five hundred dollars for anyone who spotted her.

Fortunately, Ruth Reichl had a friend with acting connections.  She decided to disguise herself.  She learned that, at some restaurants, the food critic from The New York Times got entirely different treatment than ordinary folks did.

Ruth got more and more involved in her disguises.  She got credit cards for her creations and invented personalities to match their appearances.  She found out about sides of herself that she hadn’t known existed.  She wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or offended when her husband fell for her eccentric redhead persona.

This book makes fun reading.  It’s about food, complete with recipes.  It’s about the drama of eating out at an expensive restaurant.  It’s about the many personalities hidden in all of us.  And it’s about finding your true calling and knowing when to move on.

Review of another book by Ruth Reichl:
Not Becoming My Mother

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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