Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl
  • Born: January 16, 1948
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Chef

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Ruth Reichl (pronounced RYE-shil) is an American chef, food writer, co-producer of PBS's Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie, culinary editor for the Modern Library, host of PBS's Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth, and the last editor-in-chief of the now shuttered Gourmet magazine. She has written critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs: Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise and Not Becoming My Mother. In 2009 she published Gourmet Today a 1,008 page cookbook containing over 1,000 recipes. She published her first novel, Delicious! in 2014, and, in 2015, published My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, a memoir of recipes prepared in the year following the shuttering of Gourmet.

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A real woman is someone who knows what she wants. If you want to stay home, that's fine, but you have to be clear-eyed.
American food is the food of immigrants. You go back a couple of hundred years, and we were all immigrants, unless we're going to talk about Native American cuisine. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they're talking about.
Anyone who has ever been an ugly adolescent - and we are legion - knows that the feeling of being unlovely and unlovable never goes away; it is always there, lurking just beneath the surface.
Ask people to pitch in - hand them a spoon and ask them to stir. Doing things together, having everyone help, makes for a nicer party.
By the time I met Julia Child, her husband, Paul, was little more than a ghost of a man, so diminished by old age and its attendant diseases that it was impossible to discern the remarkable artist, photographer and poet he once had been. Time
'Comfort Me with Apples' is a love story, or better, two love stories. And since it deals with a later period in my life, most of the people who appear in it are living. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Don't make a big to-do about the turkey; brine it, put it in the oven, and don't think about it again.
For me, cooking is a way to try and please people and tell them I love them. When I fall in love with someone, I want to feed them as well. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Given a choice between great food and boring company or boring food and great company, I'll take the great company any day. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Hunger, I discovered, is very much a matter of the mind, and as I began to study my own appetites, I saw that my teenage craving had not really been for food. That ravenous desire had been a yearning for love, attention, appreciation. Food had merely been my substitute. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I bake bread nearly every day; I use Jim Lahey's no-knead method and leave it to rise overnight.
I came from a family where, you know, we sat down at the table every night, and you better have a story to tell. My father never wrote his stories down. And you know, I learned that they went farther if you wrote them down. Families, Children & Parenting
I couldn't live without butter. Butter is probably my single favourite food. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I don't care what a lot of anonymous strangers think about restaurants.
I don't have my own garden; we're on shale and in the woods. And if I did have a garden, the deer and chipmunks and squirrels and bears would eat everything anyway.
I don't think I hate any food trends. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I don't think there's one thing more important you can do for your kids than have family dinner. Families, Children & Parenting
I have to admit I've never had a Fruit Loop.
I have to say I know much more about football than I would like to, because my husband is a rabid football fan, and it's been so horrible.
I learned so much in Laos. I learned that fried silkworm larvae are delicious. I learned how to make ant-egg salad.
I like poached eggs, but I'll make scrambled or fried or whatever anybody wants.
I like to work. I believe that work helps us find our self worth. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I love breakfast, and I don't see any reason it has to be cereal and eggs and toast. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I love to make pies - pot pies, quiches, savory tarts, fruit pies. I use an old-fashioned pastry blender with wires and a wooden handle. I never use a recipe. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I loved being at the 'Times,' and they were incredibly good to me. I think it's a wonderful paper, and I was really well edited.
I loved writing fiction. I mean, once I found the character, or the characters, and knew who they were and knew their back-stories, it really - I mean, I went into my studio every day, thinking, 'What's gonna happen to Billy today?'
I meet people, and we can get past small talk pretty quickly if they've read my books. It's a great shortcut.
I once ate nothing but grapefruit for an entire month. I didn't lose a pound.
I think I wrote my first piece about food in 1978. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I think it's hard, when you're someone who likes to please people, as I am, to be a boss. I had to learn how to rein myself in and not terrify people.
I think it's part of the DNA of human beings. We are a cooking animal. What differentiates us from all the other animals is that we cook and they don't.
I think of fiction as the highest calling. I'm kind of addicted to it. It's the thing that has gotten me through all the hard points in my life. Life
I think that reading is always active. As a writer, you can only go so far; the reader meets you halfway, bringing his or her own experience to bear on everything you've written. What I mean is that it is not only the writer's memory that filters experience, but the reader's as well.
I wanted to figure out a way of living where I didn't have to be in an office every day.
I was in Berkeley when the food energy in America was in Berkeley. Then it moved to Los Angeles, and I went to Los Angeles. It moved to New York, and I went there. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
If we make it national policy that we will support small farmers the way we support agribusiness, we'll suddenly see it change in terms of the cost of organic food. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
If you go back in American history, oysters were the food of poor people. New York was filled with oyster saloons in the 1800s. History ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
If you have caviar, the way to eat it is by the spoonful. Don't combine it with shrimp, pomegranate seeds and huitlacoche.
If you really taste a doughnut, it's pretty disgusting. They taste of grease.
If you start with a great peach, there's nothing you're ever going to do that's going to make it any better than when it comes off the tree. In 1970, that was a revolution.
If you're going to tell stuff, you might as well tell the real stuff.
I'm a home cook, and I'm constantly embarrassed by twentysomethings who really do know the mechanics of cooking. How to build a sauce.
I'm convinced that the main reason we've become so obsessed with restaurants is due to our basic need to get out of virtual space and into a real one. We're not going out to eat merely to share food; we're there to sit at the same table together, slow down, breathe the same air. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I'm not a big turkey fan, but my husband loves it. Thanksgiving is his favorite meal.
In really good times, you say, 'No, I'm not taking that ad.' But in bad times, you'll take anything.
It takes a great deal of strength to be an optimist.
It was through cooking food and sharing it with each other that our ancestors learned how to become social animals. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I've always hated Zagat. If I'm going to listen to someone else's opinions on restaurants, I don't care if I agree or not. I just want to know who they are.
I've been to a couple of restaurants in L.A. that were so loud, I left there with a sore throat; you literally could not have a conversation. I think it's very deliberate: There's this idea that somehow it's more fun if there's a roar in the room.
Laos is a country where everything is eaten. When I came back, I would find myself chopping parsley and thinking: 'Why am I throwing these stems away? They're perfectly edible.'
Let's face it: my life tends to revolve around food, and I love feeding people. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
M. F. K. Fisher was a wonder and a huge influence, and someone I got to know pretty well at the end of her life. Life
My idea of good living is not about eating high on the hog. Rather, to me, good living means understanding how food connects us to the earth. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
My kitchen was built for my body. It forms a 'U' in the middle of the living room and dining room. It's not huge, because I don't like huge kitchens.
My mother really would make these dreadful concoctions. She really prided herself on something called 'Everything Stew,' where she would take everything in the refrigerator, all the leftovers, and put them all together.
My mother started out by being a very good girl. She did everything that was expected of her, and it cost her dearly. Late in her life, she was furious that she had not followed her own heart; she thought that it had ruined her life, and I think she was right. Life
My mother's father was a doctor, and she desperately wanted to be a doctor.
My mother's name was Miriam, but most people called her Mim.
One of mom's greatest acts of generosity was that she trained me to be defiant. Her great gift to me was encouraging me to be the person that I wanted to be, not the one that she and my father wished I was.
One of the effects of cheap food is, we have food that is so unsatisfactory. We need to go back to flavor. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
One of the things I really love about restaurants is that in many ways, they are the ultimate democratic institutions, where you get to walk in the door, plunk down your money, and for however long that you're there, you can be anyone you want to be. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Money, Coins & Minting
People are so used to eating terrible pancakes, no matter how you mess up, they're going to be great. And if you make fresh orange juice, they'll be over the moon.
Reading an audio book is a very odd experience because there are three people sitting out there while you're reading in this glass booth, and you can see their reactions.
Really, the only way to face the biggest problems we have is for the government to change the way they subsidize food. The way we subsidize food makes it cheaper to go to McDonald's and get a hamburger than a salad, and that's insane. Government ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Sharing food has always had a central place in civilized societies; it's no accident that so many of our cultural, religious and patriotic rituals are involved with eating. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
Some magazines are run from the top down, where the editor-in-chief decides what every article is going to be and who's going to write them, and then they're doled out. My idea is to do it the opposite way, to do it from the bottom up.
The American government policy on what we supported and subsidised in agriculture was a social experiment on a whole generation of children. Government
The critic has to do more of what the book critics and art critics have done in the past. Which is give you a context for understanding the restaurant, give you a better way to appreciate it, give you the tools to go in there and be a more informed diner who can get more pleasure out of the experience. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The first time you make something, follow the recipe, then figure out how to tailor it to your own tastes. Time
The hardest part of cooking is shopping, and if you organize yourself and shop once a week, you're halfway there.
The implications of Americans devoting their lives to fast food are more profound than the fact that our kids aren't eating well. There are real repercussions that we need to know about and think about. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The secret to life is finding joy in ordinary things. I'm interested in happiness. Life ;Happiness & Unhappiness
The thing I like most in my kitchen is my marble counters. Everybody said not to use marble because it's fragile, it stains, it cracks, and it doesn't remain beautiful. But I love marble. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The truth is, as much as I loved writing restaurant reviews, it always felt very self-indulgent to me. It was so much fun, I loved doing it, but there's so much else to say about food. Truth ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The way we allow children to be advertised to is shocking. Eating is a learned behavior, and we've made these kids sitting ducks for all the bad messages about industrialized food. The fact that we allow that to go on is horrifying. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The way we live is changing. Each year, our free time shrinks a little more as computers clamor for an increasing percentage of our attention. Time ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
There is an almost anti-epicurean tradition at the very base of America. For much of the middle part of American history, people who wanted to overcome that went to France. History
There is that romanticized idea of what a bookstore can be, what a library can be, what a shop can be. And to me, they are that. These are places that open doors into other worlds if only you're open to them.
To me, cooking is man's natural activity. But I think writing is really hard. Certainly writing fiction is the hardest thing I've ever done.
We in America have gotten addicted to cheap food. The result of that is antibiotic-laden fish, foods that are bred to be portable. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
We in the media have been guilty about not doing a better job of making people understand how really simple cooking is. We've made everyone feel like they have to be a chef.
What does happen in 'Gourmet,' we had eight test kitchens, and at any given time, there were, like, ten or twelve test cooks. And whenever anybody finished something, they would yell, 'Taste!' and everyone would go running towards it, and then taste, and then brutally deconstruct the dish. Time
What I always do in times of trouble or stress is to try and do something I don't know how to do.
What I learned is that how we present ourselves to the world is really how we get treated. So if you want to be treated really well in a restaurant, you really have to dress up. You cannot just show up.
What I like best is the challenge of learning something I didn't know how to do, going beyond my comfort level. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
What often, too often, happens in magazines is that you end up with a great editorial product, and then you're selling things that you don't really approve of.
What was so extraordinary to me about going through this box of my mother's letters and diaries was meeting my mother not as my mother, but as a real person. And what breaks my heart is that I had no idea how self-aware she was and how protective of me she was.
When I ate slowly and deliberately, giving myself time to consider whether I actually wanted that next bite, I often discovered that I didn't. Time
When I came to 'Gourmet,' I had no clue how to run a magazine; for television, I am fascinated to learn about editing.
When you're a restaurant critic, you're not home at night, so breakfast became really important for us.
World War II really fascinated me because it's the only time that everybody in this country sat down at the same table, because eating on rations was your patriotic duty. Time ;War & Peace
Writing about food is my default. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
You can be a decent critic if you know about food, but to be a really good one, you need to know about life. Life ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
You don't want to give people what they want. Give them something that they didn't know that they wanted.
You look at the Barefoot Contessa or Lydia Bastianich, and it's just like watching your mother cooking.