I like to cook--sometimes--though I've never considered myself much of a "foodie." I've never read Gourmet. But, I DO love well-written food--it always makes me want to cook more, to learn all those little secrets that take food from "fine" to "delicious." So I figured that Ruth Reichl's memoir of her time as editor of Gourmet would at least give me some inspiration to do some cooking. It definitely did, and it also provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the world of Condé Nast--I do love a good insider look at publishing. Gourmet was an institution of the magazine world, known for its meticulous recipe-testing process and for catering to the luxury eater.
As such, its staff lived in a rarefied food world--upscale and out of reach for most. As editor, Reichl toed the line between maintaining the luxury brand and bringing it down to Earth for a new generation of socially conscious readers. Ultimately, Gourmet was undone by its owners' reluctance to move it into fresh spaces (can you imagine a publication now resisting a website?), but Reichl's somewhat unconventional journey to editor and her fight to keep the magazine alive made for fascinating listening.
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Trailblazing food writer and beloved restaurant critic Ruth Reichl took the job (and the risk) of a lifetime when she entered the glamorous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Now, for the first time, she chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet, during which she spearheaded a revolution in the way we think about food.
When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined. She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. And yet . . . Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?
This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat. Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication. This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down.
Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.