A Novel
Reichl, Ruth (Book - 2014 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Item Details

Working as a public relations hotline consultant for a once-prestigious culinary magazine, Billie Breslin unexpectedly enters a world of New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors while reading World War II letters exchanged between a plucky 12-year-old and James Beard.
Authors: Reichl, Ruth
Title: Delicious!
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2014]
Edition: First Edition.
Characteristics: 380 pages ;,25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Summary: Working as a public relations hotline consultant for a once-prestigious culinary magazine, Billie Breslin unexpectedly enters a world of New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors while reading World War II letters exchanged between a plucky 12-year-old and James Beard.
Local Note: 1 6 7 8 9 15 16 17 18 24 29 35 37 53 57 62 68 69 73 74 76 79 80 97 109 112 118 127 133 138 143 148 149 150 151 152 153 159 160 167 172 175 176 182 188 193 198 203 210 211 216 222 224 226 228 232 233 234 235 236 242 243 245 261 262 263 264 268 280
ISBN: 1400069629
Statement of Responsibility: Ruth Reichl
Subject Headings: Life change events Fiction. Hiding places Fiction. World War, 1939-1945 Ohio Akron Fiction. Letters Fiction.
Topical Term: Life change events
Hiding places
World War, 1939-1945
LCCN: 2013023811
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Jul 18, 2014
  • readsalot80 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book about Billie and her investigation into the World War II letters written to James Beard by a young girl, Lulu. Billie has been through a tragedy which you guess what has happened, but the author doesn't tell the whole story until near the end. Its also about learning to accept family both the good and the bad, while reading about great food and a romance.

Jul 18, 2014
  • LaughingOne rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this story. I don't know much about Ruth Reichl and didn't spend any time trying to find Ruth in the story. There were some predictable parts; I definitely knew about Billie's sister long before anything definite was put in the novel. I found the characters believable, even if somewhat stereotypical, and I loved how they all became family (the goods and bads of family) to each other. I was quite caught up in the substory about a young girl (Lulu) in Akron, Ohio, during the latter part of World War II. For me, that alone was enough to have me read and recommend this novel.

Jul 11, 2014
  • ehbooklover rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Food (lots and lots of delicious sounding food), mystery, and history. Memorable characters. A wonderful setting. What’s not to like? Aside from some occasional bouts of frustration with the protagonist, I really enjoyed this book and plan to read one of the author's memoirs at a later date.

Jul 09, 2014
  • ksoles rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

From New West magazine to the LA Times to the NY Times and finally as editor in chief of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl has reigned as the world's best food writer for more than four decades. Her three memoirs add up to a fascinating autobiography that balances youthful innocence, an honest reverence for great chefs and a playful willingness to mock the pretensions of haute cuisine. Unfortunately, with her first novel, "Delicious!", she proves that her talent lies firmly and uniquely in non-fiction.

In an interview with Ann Patchett, Reichl insists that she "bent over backwards" to make her fiction debut non autobiographical. Hard to believe when her protagonist, Billie Breslin, finds herself out of a job after her employer, Delicious! magazine, decides to shut its doors. Gourmet in thin disguise, anyone? But, to back up, Billie discovered as a young girl that she possessed an "extraordinary palate," enabling her to identify the ingredients in any dish. When she leaves her family in California and heads to New York (a la Reichl herself), she lands a plum job at Delicious! after cooking for the magazine's editor, Jake Newberry. For reasons not specified until well into the novel, Billie has a phobia about cooking: "I don't cook," she says with finality. Not exactly an asset for an employee of a food magazine.

An intact Federal mansion of historical importance houses the offices of Delicious! wherein lies a cast of cliched characters: Maggie, the hard-hearted executive food editor, Diana, the friendly on-staff cook who becomes Billie’s mentor, Sammy, the gay, worldly-wise and kind travel writer and “Young Arthur” Pickwick who belongs to the family of the magazine's owners, one which suspiciously mirrors the Newhouses of Conde Nast. Beyond the characters, the plot itself reads as a contrived tale of sentimentality. Once the magazine folds, Billie stays on in the empty mansion answering queries from readers about the “Delicious! Guarantee” — “Your money back if the recipe doesn’t work”.

Alone in the mansion, Billie chances upon a long exchange of letters between a girl from Ohio named Lulu Swan and the young James Beard. Eventually, Billie becomes so taken with Lulu that she sets off in the slender hope of finding her. Thus begins one of the novel's disjointed subplots, the other two being Billie's attachment to Sal Fontanari and his wife, who run an Italian cheese shop in Little Italy, and the mystery of Billie’s older sister, a beauty who, Billie asserts, “had star power even when we were children."

“Delicious!” certainly has its amiable moments and Reichl sets a heartfelt tone throughout. But such a skilled and versatile writer comes across as amateurish in her attempt to branch out into a new genre.

Jun 26, 2014
  • 3flowers rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Food, love, history, architecture, mystery. This book had something for everyone. I agree ....The title says it all.

Jun 26, 2014
  • paulette4317 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The book started out a little slow for me, but then I got caught up in Billie's dreams and sadness. I was pleasantly surprised how as the plot went on, I enjoyed it more and more. Very good summer read. Recommended to my book club.

Jun 23, 2014
  • lgold08540 rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Very disappointing! Too flowery; plot thin and predictable.

Jun 20, 2014
  • MARIA E WHELAN rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The title says it all.

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl as her pick of the month for May 2014.


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Jul 18, 2014
  • readsalot80 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Billie works for "Delicious" magazine. The magazine guarantees all recipes published and Billie helps those with problems. Billie has a perfect palate, but doesn't cook because of a tragedy in her past. You quickly guess part of the problem, but the author doesn't reveal the complete story until near the end. Billie finds a secret room in the magazine's library. She finds letters written to James Beard during World War II, from Lulu a young girl, who is learning to cook. She meets many interesting people including a man she met at the deli. The ending resolves all issues complete with love and finding Lulu.


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