I got that sort of helpless empty feeling when, at the end of 2009, Gourmet Magazine shut its doors for good. What would I look forward to each month? What other magazine could I possibly find to spend time with — eagerly reading cover-to-cover, devouring beautiful photography, pouring over interesting travel and food stories, cooking recipes from amazing chefs and food writers. Frankly, I felt abandoned.
I remember looking dumbly at the cover of the last copy. November 2009. No warning? Had I missed an “end of subscription” notice?? That’s it!?
No kidding, I tried not to cry.
All I could hope for was that the death of my beloved magazine would leave such a gaping hole it forced other publications to rise to the occasion, filling what I imagined as a resounding need of all Gourmet readers, collectively rising in revolt to this travesty. Many publications have tried to do just this, but in my mind, Gourmet Magazine will be the pioneer — the classic eating and food travel publication.
I can’t imagine what Ruth Reichl must have gone through at the death of the nearly 70 year old Gourmet dynasty. I thought of her at the time. I thought, what will she do now?
I tried to follow her travels on the short-lived show, Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth, but this lacked that blend of voice, not to mention those amazing recipes that Gourmet held. Also, I didn’t want to “watch” Gourmet Magazine, I wanted the physical paper and print to curl up with.
Rather randomly, I came across a tweet this summer from indi-bookstore Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio.
@JosephBethCincy: .@ruthreichl our manager found an ARC of #MyKitchenYear and she is LOVING it. Now the whole staff can’t wait til it comes out in September!
Advance Reading Copy!? I was curious and excited! What newness was Reichl writing?
I was thrilled to find that Reichl was about to share a brave new book tackling the very sudden and emotional break with Gourmet — My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life.
This is a year I look forward to traveling with Reichl, as she shares the intimacy of her own kitchen cooking, her processing and just living in the wake of a major life change. I believe this action of cooking through emotional life change is something that I and other readers will be able to identify with, and I’m hoping that in a way this book leaves us with a similar sense of closure and insight into that sudden end of an era.
One of the things I really hope for readers or listeners [of the audio version] of My Kitchen Year, is that they’ll have a sense that they’re cooking with me. That I’m in the kitchen with you. — Ruth Reichl
Reichl, in my kitchen? Rather intimidating at first thought, but if her candor is anything to go by, I’ll soon relax, welcome her, and enjoy this journey through 136 healing recipes in her kitchen year.
Ruth Reichl will be available to sign all books purchased at Book Larder on Sunday, October 4. Book Larder is an amazing all-cookbook and food related reading mecca in Seattle, WA for chefs and home cooks alike. For more on this event, read here.
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life
In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”
My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.
The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.
Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world’s most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.
RUTH REICHL is the bestselling author of the memoirs Garlic and Sapphires, Tender at the Bone, and Comfort Me with Apples and the novel Delicious! She was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two cats.
— Penguin Random House