Pageviews last month

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

Ruth Reichl, currently the editor of “Gourmet” magazine, tells of her experiences as the New York Times restaurant critic during the 1990s. Although Ruth’s career in the food industry included stints as chef, restaurant owner, food writer and restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times, none of these posts prepared her for such an exalted position as that of the New York Times food critic. Operating in this competitive atmosphere required fortitude, an encyclopedic knowledge of all foods and cuisines, and a sense of the dramatic. In order to accurately assess each restaurant, Reichl developed a variety of characters and dressed them in an assortment of wigs, makeup and clothing. Then each of these personalities anonymously visited the restaurants to evaluate their menus and to see how they behaved toward typical customers. Sensual descriptions of food, hilarious accounts of the New York City restaurant culture, and some of Ruth’s favorite recipes enliven the pages of this book.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and social critic, here is a satirical commentary of the first decade of twenty-first century life in the United States. Ehrenreich mourns the disappearing middle class and the rise of a two-class society, upper and lower. She zeroes in on the enemy, who include the private health insurance industry, the oil companies, the financial industry, medical professionals, big box stores, and more. Politicians and college administrators also feel her barbs.

This is a compilation of 62 previously published essays, for such publications as “The New York Times” and “The Progressive”; each essay being a few pages in length. Ehrenreich also is the author of several other books, including “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” and “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream".