Tender at the Bone is Reichl’s memoir. Her childhood is tumultuous, both enviably privileged and sadly tough. Being sent off to boarding school may sound luxurious, but it was also lonely and difficult. Having cooks and housekeepers may sound glamorous, but being cared for by others instead of her bipolar mother was not. Any pangs of jealously over trips to Paris were tempered by tales of Reichl working her way up the food(ie) chain.
She had a very interesting path to food and I was definitely drawn in by her interesting experiences as well as her storytelling ability. I didn’t expect to read about years spent in a commune or waiting tables. Retrospectively it’s obvious that her path led her to where she is now, but it was impressive how much that path wound about indirectly. My favorite moment of the book was when she was reviewing her first restaurant and her past mentors’ lessons flooded her. It was a poignant way to bring all those threads together.
It was a good read — well written, interesting content, and enough mystery for me since I didn’t know much about Reichl’s past. Someone hit our power transformer with an SUV so I actually read it mostly in one sitting and partially by candlelight. It didn’t have the same heart-to-heart feeling of A Homemade Life, but I definitely felt more sympathy for Ruth Reichl than I did for Paula Deen. Some of her other books are now on my to-read list. The only thing that bothered me, ironically, was her honesty. In the preface to the book she says that while all the events are true, it is not always factual (or something to that extent), which left me wondering at the end which characters were composites of multiple people. If I hadn’t read the introduction, I might never have known.
Never miss an update: Subscribe via RSS feed, connect on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.
Comments? Leave them below or email me.