Thursday, December 11, 2014

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Running away from a family tragedy, Billie Breslin has dropped out of college to pursue a food writing career in New York City, where she lands a job as an assistant Delicious! This century-old Pickwick Publication magazine runs it's office out of a federal mansion.

During her first year she becomes close with the staff, including Sammy, the eccentric travel editor, the cooks and even a smoothie eating canine. But one of the most important relationships she forms is with Sal Fontanari, the owner of a family run Italian cheese shop where she takes on a second job.

When Pickwick unexpectedly shuts down the magazine, Billie is asked to stay on to maintain the magazine's promise of "The Guarantee," where readers can get a refund for any recipe that isn't spectacular. It is a message from one of the readers that leads Billie to dig up a recipe in the second floor library, which has been locked up for years. In the library Billie discovers a letter from a precocious 12-year old girl to the renowned chef James Beard during WWII rationing and is sent on a search for information on the young girl, Lulu, that has been hidden for decades.

This is the type of story that pulls you in early on and keeps you entertained until the end and is peppered with quirky and endearing characters. Just be warned that the detailed and delightful food descriptions will make you hungry. This is escapist fiction at its best.

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