When listeners left Ruth at the end of Tender at the Bone, she was in Berkeley, California, working as a chef at The Swallow restaurant. Comfort Me with Apples picks up in 1978; Ruth is still living in a commune with her husband, Doug, but she's decided to put down her chef's toque and embark on a career as a restaurant critic. After a bumpy start (at the end of her very first on-the-job dinner, her credit card is unceremoniously rejected), she is soon visiting restaurants all over the world in search of a meal to write home about. The story that follows is an affectionate look at the apprenticeship - funny, daunting, always entertaining - of one of our best food writers.
Ruth Reichl's pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles. She encounters world-famous chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and the three-star aristocracy of French cuisine, and her accounts of these meetings range from the madcap to the sublime. From a transformative lunch with M.F.K. Fisher to a friendship with Alice Waters, Reichl lovingly re-creates all her memorable meals in such succulent detail that listeners will yearn for truffles in Provence and shrimp in Beijing.
Throughout it all, Reichl is unafraid, even eager, to poke holes in the pretensions of food critics, making each and every course a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. Reichl also shares the intimacies of her personal life - the joys and the heartbreaks behind the reviews - in a style so honest and warm that listeners will feel they are enjoying a cozy dining-table conversation with a friend.
"While all good food writers are humorous...few are so riotously, effortlessly entertaining as Ruth Reichl." (The New York Times Book Review)