Garlic and Sapphires

The Secret Life of A Critic in Disguise

Reichl, Ruth

Book Club Kit - 2005
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Garlic and Sapphires
The editor-in-chief of "Gourmet" recounts her visits to some of the world's most acclaimed restaurants, both as herself and as an anonymous diner in disguise, to offer insight into the differences in her dining experiences.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, c2005
Branch Call Number: B REICHL R
Characteristics: 10 books (333 p. ; 21 cm.), 1 reading guide - in a plastic tote


From the critics

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Aug 01, 2014
  • shellypain rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I thought my days of reading until dawn were long over. This book proved me wrong. It is a page turner. I would never have thought a memoir could be that. What a wonderful book. I already have two other books that she's waiting on hold. Enjoy!

Jun 13, 2013

Because if they know you are a critic, they'll make the food taste bad?

Jun 03, 2013
  • flowerpainter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is my favorite book. Ruth Reichl tells her story and one may laugh out loud and truly enjoy the ride.

Aug 15, 2012
  • yve168 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What can i say about this book, except that i simply loved it. she made you feel as if you were in the restaurants with her eating all of that great food. it is one i would recommend highly to others

Jul 08, 2012
  • ASK123 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very entertaining! Reads like fiction.

Jun 23, 2012
  • LauralLibrarian rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It is an amazing story about a food critic whom goes to great lengths to disguise herself from chefs and wait staff in restaurants she is reviewing.

Sep 27, 2011
  • gigglespisano rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I love to read and learn from people's story's and the fact that Ruth is a food critic makes this a perfect read.

Jun 09, 2011
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I put away my decorator bookmark for my reading of Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichi. Instead I used blank recipe cards to mark my way through this delightful memoir of the author’s time as the food critic for the New York Times. Not only does this woman have a marvellous sense of taste, she can write. Her descriptions of some of her lavish meals had my mouth watering. Her ability to separate and identify the subtle flavors of each dish was amazing.

She was the New York Times food critic during the early nineties, and she made a conscious choice to widen the horizons of food culture to include ethnic restaurants. She also didn’t hesitate to poke a pin into the hot air of many of the so-called top restaurants of the day, calling them out for their snobbish manners and for resting on their past reputations.

One of the most important parts of being a restaurant critic is the art of being anonymous. The designing and creating of her many disguises was both fascinating and humorous. For each new disguise, she created a personality and back story, to the delight of her family and dining companions.

I highly recommend Garlic and Sapphires for any “foodie“, or anyone who is in the market for a light read about an interesting subject. Oh by the way, the blank recipe cards didn’t stay that way. The author sprinkled some marvellous recipes throughout the pages of the book and I acquired quite a collection!

Mar 28, 2010
  • SaratogaTracy rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Luckily the recipes are all on one track so you can skip to the next and get on with the story. Nothing worse (for me) than listening to a recipe when I am driving. I loved the story and the descriptions of food, N.Y. and L.A.

Dec 09, 2005
  • AdrienneC rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

What an enjoyable book! Reichl, editor of GOURMET magazine, writes of her years as the restaurant critic at the NEW YORK TIMES. To avoid being recognized by restaurateurs and their staff, she invented a stable of characters, each with her own personality, backstory and wardrobe, so that she would not be recognized and receive special treatment. Reichl''s writing is lively and engaging, and her vivid descriptions of sumptuous meals were enough to get my stomach rumbling and my mouth watering. Many chapters end with reprints of her reviews from the TIMES, and the reader gets a good understanding of her critical process: the chapter describes one or several visits to the restaurant, and we see what she includes in the final review... as well as what she chooses to leave out. Also included are some of her favourite recipes. A quick read that most foodies will love.


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