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Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise | [Ruth Reichl]

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's riotous account of the many disguises she employs to dine anonymously. There is her stint as Molly Hollis, a frumpy blond with manicured nails and an off-beige Armani suit that Ruth takes on when reviewing Le Cirque. The result: her famous double review of the restaurant: first she ate there as Molly; and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, New York Times food critic.
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Publisher's Summary

Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's riotous account of the many disguises she employs to dine anonymously. There is her stint as Molly Hollis, a frumpy blond with manicured nails and an off-beige Armani suit that Ruth takes on when reviewing Le Cirque. The result: her famous double review of the restaurant: first she ate there as Molly; and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, New York Times food critic.

What is even more remarkable about Reichl's spy games is that as she takes on these various disguises, she finds herself changed not just superficially, but in character as well. She gives a remarkable account of how one's outer appearance can very much influence one's inner character, expectations, and appetites.

As she writes, "Every restaurant is a theater...even the modest restaurants offer the opportunity to become someone else, at least for a little while." Garlic and Sapphires is a reflection on personal identity and role playing in the decadent, epicurean theaters of the restaurant world.

Download some of Ruth's favorite recipes.

©2005 Ruth Reichl; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • 2005 Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir

"[A] vivacious, fascinating memoir." (Publishers Weekly)
"Garlic and Sapphires pulls back the curtain on Reichl's six-year tenure at The Times, and it's never less than fascinating." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (58 )
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  •  
    ciniminis 07-11-06
    ciniminis 07-11-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Way too abridged!"

    This is a good book. I picked the abridged over the unabridged this time, because the abridged version is read by the author. But so much is missing! In the book, chapters of narratives end in Ruth's newspaper column, which serves as a conclusion for each story. Those are cut out (so the stories are left to dangle, without the readers knowing how her article turned out). The entire "umani" sushi experience is gone, as well as other great segments.


    Stay with the unabridged! I am very sorry that I didn't.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha Toronto, Ontario, Canada 04-15-05
    Samantha Toronto, Ontario, Canada 04-15-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fabulous. . . can't wait for the whole thing!"

    Well written, humourous and sharply witty. Well worth the gamble.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny Los Altos, CA, USA 04-22-05
    Penny Los Altos, CA, USA 04-22-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book"

    If you liked Tender At The Bone, you will love this book. You haven't read Tender At The Bone? You will love that too. Ruth Reichl is the best writer on food and the best autobiographer we have writing today.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather W Austin, TX United States 08-26-05
    Heather W Austin, TX United States 08-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic!!"

    This book is so enjoyable--I love that she included the eating experience and then the review. To hear her describe all she went through in the visits to the restaurants and how those combined to become the actual review is wonderful. Her descriptions of dishes are mouth-watering to say the least. They make you want to move to New York and go to all the restaurants. I have to give her only four stars, in keeping with Ms. Reichl's reviews. :) What a delightful diversion!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Therese
    Co. KildareIreland
    3/29/10
    Overall
    "If you love food, you'll love this!"

    This is a fantastic insight into the wonderful world of food journalism, restaurants and class wars. As a budding food writer who is obsessed with cooking it, eating it, dining out, reading about it...I'm always on the look out for a new novel about food. I also love memoirs and factual books so this is a marriage made in heaven. I would love to be a restaurant reviewer myself so this book lets you know the positives and the many negatives that come along with the gig! The only quibble I have is with the author narrating the audio book. She had a very annoying habit of giving all the other female characters in the novel the exact same droning laboured deep voice to depict age. I know it's part of the narrator's job to do the voices but I think a different narrator would've helped move this story along with more of a flow. But in all a "sapphire" of a read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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