Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl (288 pages)
Save Me the Plums, A Food Memoirist’s Journey to Success
Save Me the Plums is a memoir that chronicles Ruth Reichl’s career ascent from restaurant critic for The New York Times to editor-in-chief of the now-defunct food magazine Gourmet. Reichl writes with candour and humility about her journey into what she considers the ultimate dream job, about her successes and failures as a leading figure in the magazine industry.
Dubbed as one of the best food writers of our era by Vox, Ruth Reichl is no stranger to food. She started writing about food in 1972 and continued to write about food as a restaurant critic for most of the ‘80s and ‘90s for the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, respectively. In 1999, she got the opportunity of a lifetime when she was offered the position of editor-in-chief for Gourmet, one of the leading food magazines at the time. She spent the next decade through the ups and downs of the industry and the profession. Save Me the Plums is Reichl’s account of what it was like to manage a top magazine as well as the people and the culture.
A Marriage of Food, Love, and the Business of Managing A Publishing Empire
What I love about the book is not so much Reichl’s experience as an editor but her writing. She gives context and feeling to everything she writes about. Whether she’s describing scenes in restaurants, meetings she has with top executives or her staff, Reichl is extremely adept at giving us (me) the feeling that we are right there next to her. Whether it’s caviar or salads, the food that she describes is mouth-watering and full of nuance; you can almost imagine eating the same food she’s eating!
After ten years as its editor-in-chief, Gourmet was ultimately cancelled by Conde Nast, its parent publication. Reichl wrote in Save Me the Plums with a bittersweet and raw honesty and reflected on the decisions that she made with regard to the magazine and to her career in food and writing. A worthwhile read for foodies or anyone who dreams of combining their love of food and writing together, just as Reichl did.
Save Me the Plums is a delectable tale of a food writer’s dreams and aspirations, the highs and the lows of navigating a fast-paced industry, all the while staying true to herself.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Save Me the Plums is no ordinary food memoir. Fans of Tender at the Bone will delight in the savoury nature of this novel. Reading Reichl will take you on a wild, exciting journey to the world of food magazines and food culture. It’s not every day that a woman gets the opportunity to lead a magazine that she’s loved since childhood. Like a true fairy tale, she rises to the upper echelons of her industry, and along the way, learns about herself, her choices and how it affects her life and those around her.
Have you read Save Me the Plums? Want to connect with like-minded food enthusiasts? Join Brookie host, Dianne Dixon on May 30th for a fascinating conversation about food and more! You can sign up for the event here.