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 68 69 73 74 76 80 97 109 112 118 127 133 138 143 148 149 150 151 152 153 159 160 167 172 173 182 188 193 198 203 210 211 216 222 224 226 228 232 233 234 235 236 242 243 245 261 263 264 268 280
ISBN: 9780812997033
Statement of Responsibility: Ruth Reichl
Subject Headings: Letters Fiction. World War, 1939-1945 Ohio Akron Fiction. Hiding places Fiction. Life change events Fiction.
Topical Term: Letters
World War, 1939-1945
Hiding places
Life change events
LCCN: 2013023811
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Sep 11, 2014
  • writermala rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a 'delicious' novel! Food, love, history, architecture, mystery; this book had something for everybody. I loved the recipes but it was the characters in the book who spoke to me. All along I was rooting for Billie and wanted a Cinderella event in her life. Voila! The author gave it to me and I was delighted. The story of a food magazine, how Billie continues working there after it has shut down, her finding interesting letters and her quest to find the writer, all make for exciting reading. I loved it!

Sep 04, 2014
  • jazpur rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

All the ingredients are there but...Delicious doesn't quite make it.Too many flavours.

Aug 12, 2014
  • MaxineML rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Reichl is a wonderful writer, and her memoirs and other non-fiction writing is a must for any foodie's bookshelf, but Delicious! ends up being too syrupy sweet to be a good book.

Our story is set in first person, with Billie (Wilhelmina) Breslin our main character and narrator. Unfortunately for the reader Billie is young, immature, and prone to melodramatic statements. She is whiny, self-pitying and apprehensive about life.

All of the secondary characters come from the back drawers of stock-characters, from the gay friend, the love interest, the old-man who dispenses advice, the friendly Italian cheesemonger, to the plucky heroine of the hidden letters Billie finds in the deserted Timbers Mansion.

The overall plot of the novel is farfetched, but sweet and endearing - with a better writer this could have been a wonderful novel about second chances, learning from the past, growing up, learning to trust yourself and others, and becoming who you are meant to be. The scenes of food are the best of the bunch - reading about the cheeses in Frontanari's store, the gingerbread cake Billie makes, the meals they have at the Pig - these are the descriptions where Reichl shines. Yet, she can't manage to make the emotionality of her characters anything other than flat.

Read Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything to read about food as it should be written. Or, read Ruth Reichl's memoirs for a great glimpse into her life.

Aug 06, 2014
  • booklady413 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Ruth Reichl does a great job at her first attempt to write fiction. I loved it!

Jul 31, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book! I don't usually like fiction by women but this one had lots of good plot lines and intrigue.

Jul 31, 2014
  • tegan rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Not my favourite book, but the characters were charming enough that I continued to read. The plot line was ridiculous, I won't go into details, as I don't want to spoil the book. But, if you are looking for a realistic read, this is not the book for you.

I have heard that Reichl's non-fiction is quite enjoyable. I may check that out. I heard a CBC interview about Tender to the Bone, which sounded interesting. And Garlic & Sapphires (?), the one where she talks about dressing in disguises as a food critic sounds pretty amusing.

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.

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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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app09 Version tobio (tobio) Last updated 2014/09/24 13:12