Putting It All on the Table; Career Chowhound Ruth Reichl Has No Reservations
Byline: Malcolm Jones
Eating lunch with Ruth Reichl at a New York City sushi restaurant, you can see right off why she's so good at what she does. When the former food critic for The New York Times and current editor of Gourmet magazine confronts a bowl of soup, she takes her time inhaling the aroma and contemplating the arrangement of ground shrimp and mushroom with eel on top. When she finally digs in she practically jumps up and down. "I love this," she exclaims. "This is so good." Sure, she can write; sure, sure she knows about food. But what finally distinguishes her response is the passion she brings to the table.
And now that she's no longer a restaurant reviewer, she can leave her wigs at home. At the Times, as she recalls in her beguiling new memoir "Garlic and Sapphires," if she made a reservation in her own name, the steaks got thicker, the raspberries bigger and the service downright obsequious. To find out how an ordinary diner fared, she had to impersonate one. Tucking her extravagant hair under a wig and wearing a shopworn beige Armani suit, she became Molly, an ex-schoolteacher from Michigan, and got the goods on a lot of pretentious restaurants. …