In her best-selling memoirs, Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.
Billie Breslin has travelled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is suddenly shut down, the colourful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: Staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee" - a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries - until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.
Delicious! carries the listener to the colourful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors. And from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky 12-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues - the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2014 Ruth Reichl (P)2014 Random House Audio
"[Ruth Reichl is] the culinary scene queen...the most influential food person in America today." (National Post)
"Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it...Reichl makes the reader feel present with her, sharing her experience." ( The Washington Post Book World)
"[Reichl] is fair-minded, brave, and a wonderful writer." ( The New York Times Book Review)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a great introduction to using Audible.
Absolutely. Her voice and voices for the characters were delightful.
Have read and loved everything you have written and this switch works. I loved that the girl had the genius palate.I know how rare that is. Descriptions of the spices, cheeses, and meals were wonderful. I am not one of those silly foodies, I love food, wine and conversation. And any good book about them. Thank you.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
What a delightful little surprise this book was. Lighthearted, yet meaningful. Predictable, yet purposeful. As the main character, Billie, struggles with coming to grips with the ghosts who haunt her, she finds escape and purpose through the 70+ year old letters from a girl during WWII, written to the great chef James Beard. Not sure if it's the foodie, NY lover and romantic in me that enjoyed the book best, but it was a great combination for me. Well done, Ruth Reichl!
Haven't read the print edition. The narrator did a fantastic job though.
Many of the plotlines ended predictably, and were kind of too good to be true. The plotline with the sister seemed a little convoluted and the revelations seemed a little forced. I loved Lulu's plotline but the culmination also seemed a little unbelievable. There was so much potential in this story but I felt like it veered off in really strange ways a lot.
Reichl is always at her best when describing food so any scene containing that was great (though once she had the characters boasting about how much they know about food it got kind of tiresome). The "Sal Test" was fun, and the whole section with the library and Lulu's letters were great. Interesting to learn about the treatment of Italians during the war.
Loved the character of Sammy. Surprisingly, I didn't find him over the top. I think that sort of affectation in an older gay man in NYC is totally on point and believable. Sal was good too, and Lulu. Billie got a little insufferable, her motives and reactions were often hard to understand. I wanted to like Mr. Complainer but once we got to see more of him he just came off like a snob. I know people like him in real life and I can't stand being around them. I love food and appreciate quality but he just seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't shut up about it. Billie's makeover was also eye-roll worthy. Seriously, is this a highschool movie? The heroine we're told over and over is plain and unattractive gets contacts, a haircut and some nice clothes and all of a sudden she's gorgeous? Come on. That is the laziest kind of character development.
A lot of the characters were just kind of hard to understand. Their reactions seemed either over the top, or not enough. A lot of things just were kind of dropped, and other things seemed rammed home to the point of disbelief (Sal's refusal to ever leave his store, Maggie's grudge-holding and meanness, etc).
Also, too much judginess about food and "the old ways were better" type of thing. I did enjoy this book, but I found my eyes rolling A LOT.
I expected better from Ruth, whose memoirs I ADORE, but I guess her strength isn't fiction.
Yes, it kept me interested and couldn't wait to get to the next chapter.
Billie, of course, the lead character. Her transformation was interesting.
Hard to choose. Enjoyed all of it.
Lulu's sub-story was fun to follow.
Definitely a good book to consider.
How well everything tied in together.
Billie you could follow her story and feel her struggles.
Billie and Lulu
When i finished the book I felt I had lost my best friend.
Photo is of my portuguese water dog, Sheila!
This book is sweet, but kind of loses steam at the end. Not nearly as good as Garlic and Sapphires. Worth a credit, for light reading.
Formerly the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, Reichl is an impressively descriptive wordsmith who uses adjectives, similes and metaphors so much more inventive than any I ever seized upon that I found myself complementing her regularly throughout the book. And the story completely drew me in. It is a drama, a mystery, a love story and a romance braided together like Italian Easter Bread. I highly recommend this compelling novel.
While I'm not a "foodie" per se, I do appreciate a good meal. I appreciate good characters even more, and a good mystery is an added bonus. This novel gave me more than I expected on all counts. It was fun--the writing is good and the plot moved along well. Good light read.
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