Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Garlic and Sapphires report

This month we discussed Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl.  A few of us had read Comfort Me With Apples a few years back in the early months of the group, and were pleased to revisit Ms. Reichl.  While the food writing was very good (it was fun to hear the stories, then read the related review), it was the disguises that were the real fun of this book.  We loved all the wigs, and the way she developed an individual persona for each costume, and how her kid saying "mommy is a secret food spy" helped her get into it. She took this secret reviewer thing so seriously!  But while it was interesting to see how restaurants treated anonymous diners vs. a known food critic, what was even more interesting was how Ruth was treated so differently depending on if she was dressed up as a blond hottie, or an old lady.  Does that cloak of invisibility await us as old ladies, too?  In the end, Reichl got a bit too much into the costumes, and started acting like a jerk, so we were glad to see her get called out on the carpet for her poor behavior.  On the positive side, she really helps raise awareness of what we eat..."don't settle for crap!"

On the negative side, some of us were very uneasy with her going out on a date in her blond persona.  There were some incredibly rude people in the book (an exaggerated view of New Yorkers?  Most of us have had very pleasant experiences there). And the recipes included in the book didn't really feel that connected with the story...though happily when we made them they came out pretty darn tasty!

Heather brought a delicious roast chicken and some tasty mashed potatoes.

Julie D. made the hash browns, and though they came out yummy, she is convinced Reichl never made them herself.

Katie S. made some very tasty roasted Brussels sprouts.

Vernetta made a tasty kale/chard/spinach salad with pecan dressing (not from the book, but great!)

Dawn made super creamy scalloped potatoes.

Laura made a tasty risotto for the first time.

Karen made the spaghetti carbonara.

Next month's book is The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber.  There are a few extra copies behind the desk at the Mountlake Terrace Library for Foodie Book Group members. We will be meeting on Wednesday December 12, 2012 at 6:30pm at the Bethesda Lutheran Church.

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