Savvy Reading: Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a book on Savvy Eats that wasn’t a cookbook. Delicious!, famed food writer Ruth Reichl’s first novel, seems like a good way to jump back into the book reviewing pool. I loved all of Reichl’s memoirs, so I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Delicious! earlier this year. 

In an attempt to keep her novel from sounding too much like her memoirs, Reichl made her heroine, Billie, what she described in an interview as the “anti-Ruth.” And it worked – where Reichl’s love of all things food shines through bright and clear in her memoirs, Billie is unsure and hesitant. She has a brilliant palate, but stepping foot in a kitchen induces immediate panic attacks.  But she takes a job at Delicious!, a fictitious food magazine, serving as an administrative assistant. When the magazine suddenly shuts its doors, she is kept on staff to uphold the magazine’s “love the recipe or your money back” guarantee. Alone in the building, she explores the library, only to stumble upon a stash of letters between a young girl and James Beard from the World War II era.

As Billie endeavors to find more of these letters, she learns about both national and food history, and comes to terms with her own personal and family histories as well.

I expected to enjoy Delicious!, largely because I love the way Reichl writes about food. But I didn’t anticipate the plot and characters to be quite as engrossing as they were. One night, I found myself reading well past midnight, unable to convince myself to put the book down and go to bed. If you’ve enjoyed Reichl’s memoirs, or you’re a fan of both fiction and food writing, I highly recommend this book.

I give Delicious! by Ruth Reichl…

5 out of 5 stars.


  1. says

    I haven’t picked up a book that wasn’t a cookbook or learning type book in a long time but your review makes me want to for sure. So very intriguing ! Also so nice to meet you this weekend at BHF!

    • Julie says

      Definitely do it! You could consider it work if you wanted – say you are studying the food writing 😉

      Nice to meet you, too!

  2. Ginny McMeans says

    This book sounds like I would really like it. Thanks for pointing me towards it.

  3. says

    I love being introduced to new to me authors. I am all over the place as far as style of books I enjoy, so I love to explore. Thanks for the info on this one.

  4. says

    I’m a big fan of Reichl’s work – she has such an extraordinary way with words that sucks you in and makes you feel like you are sitting at the table with her. I’ll have to give this a try!

  5. says

    I downloaded this book after seeing it recommended in the BlogHer facebook group. I thought I might it start it this past weekend during downtime at the conference but as I’m sure you know, there was no downtime 🙂

  6. says

    I just love books like this, where you are so into it you lose track of time. Guess I’m going to have to check this one out.