Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl: Billie Breslin is a young woman with an amazing sense of taste - she can identify even the most subtle ingredients in a bite of food. She leaves her home in California and arrives in NY to work at the preeminent foodie magazine, Delicious!. Her colleagues quickly learn about her special skill and it earns her their respect and some acceptance into her new world. Billie needs acceptance - she has lived in her older, prettier sister's shadow and considers herself awkward. When Delicious! is suddenly and abruptly shut down, Billie is thrown into uncertainty.  While figuring out her next steps, she discovers a series of letters sent by a young girl, Lulu, to James Beard while he was at Delicious! during WWII. Although only a young girl, Lulu has a lot of lessons for Billie and reading her letters becomes a way for Billie to face some things in her own life which she was tried to avoid.

Lulu lived in Ohio during WWII while her father was fighting overseas and her mother was working at a factory that made planes for the war effort. Although living with constant uncertainty about her father's safety and worries about getting by on the rationed food that was available, Lulu has a sunny outlook which comes right through the letters. With a passion for cooking and baking, she writes Mr. Beard for advice on recipes and ultimately their correspondence develops into one in which Lulu provides updates on her life and even reveals some of her anxieties about the fate of her father and her mother's ability to cope with it all. Billie looked forward to finding each letter (they had been hidden with cryptic clues by a librarian that had worked at Delicious!) and seeing what was happening with Lulu.  As Lulu matured and transformed, so did Billie.

My Thoughts
 This book offers a rich exploration of food, New York City, life during WWII and tops it off with the coming of age story of Billie Breslin.  Like a well-made dish, it has multiple layers and surprises you as you savor it. I was torn between whether I enjoyed the storyline with Billie in current day or the storyline with Lulu set in the 1940's more - both characters have something to hide which is ultimately revealed through the story and that kept me reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will be on my Top 10 for 2014 for sure! I have not read the author's memoirs but I am certainly a fan of her fiction debut.

For other thoughts on the book, you can visit the blogs on the TLC Book Tour.


  1. I've enjoyed Reichl's memoirs, but somehow missed the fact that this book was fiction... can't wait to read it!

  2. Oooh, I've been wondering about this book. So glad to read your review - and you loved it!

  3. It's high praise to already have a Top 10 contender! This sounds like a different spin on the letters from the past story.

  4. Sounds perfect! I love foodie books, books about NYC, and books about WWII as well as double story thread. Will definitely check it out.

    Great review :)

  5. I actually think Reichl's memoirs are better than this one and this one was pretty cute.

  6. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  7. I am looking forward to reading this. THANKS for your review.

    I hope I see you this week too.


  8. I loved this book. Adored it, devoured it. I thought the writing was beautiful. Couldn't you just smell Billie and Sal's tour through Little Italy?