My Kitchen Year

My Kitchen Year

136 Recipes That Saved My Life

Book - 2015
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Los Angeles Times * NPR * Men's Journal * BookPage * Booklist * Publishers Weekly

In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. "I did what I always do when I'm confused, lonely, or frightened," she writes. "I disappeared into the kitchen."

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons--and Reichl's emotions--as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would "throw quick meals together" for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.

The 136 recipes collected here represent a life's passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl's enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.

Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl's most stirring book yet--one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world's most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.

Praise for My Kitchen Year

"Ruth is one of our greatest storytellers today, which you will feel from the moment you open this book and begin to read: No one writes as warmly and engagingly about the all-important intersection of food, life, love, and loss. This book is a lyrical and deeply intimate journey told through recipes, as only Ruth can do." --Alice Waters

"What will send this book to the top of bestseller lists is the lovely way Reichl describes how dishes come together, like the Greek chicken soup with lemon and egg known as avgolemono, and her talent for assembling a collection of recipes her legions of former Gourmet fans will want to make themselves." -- The Washington Post

"The recipes make for lovely reading, full of Reichl's elemental wisdom. . . . In the best way possible, My Kitchen Year is cozy, the reading equivalent of curling up next to a fire with a glass of red wine and perhaps the scent of bread in the oven wafting over." -- Vogue

"If anyone can convince us that a dessert, plus two more fabulous dishes, can turn a crummy day around, it's culinary writer Ruth Reichl, who knows firsthand just how powerful food can be." -- O: The Oprah Magazine

"The voice is pure Reichl in a way that makes the reader yearn for a house in the country with a pantry full of staples. . . . And as she finds solace through cooking, we find comfort too." -- Eater (Fall 2015's Best Cookbooks)
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781400069989
Branch Call Number: 641.564 REICHL R
Characteristics: xxi, 327 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Vang, Mikkel - Photographer


From the critics

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IndyPL_KathyH Feb 18, 2020

A follow up title to Reichl's "Save Me the Plums", "My Kitchen Year" details the year following the closure of Gourmet magazine. Reichl used cooking and her most loved recipes to heal her heart and spirit. Reichl is a gifted writer - her description of food and flavor and the act of cooking made me wish I was a better cook! Or at least her friend so I could sit at the table with her and enjoy the comfort and community of food. Highly recommended.

May 31, 2018

Excellent! The recipes are easy to follow and execute. Again Ruth Reichl does not disappoint but only adds to her oeuvre of wonderful writing and culinary adventures in the kitchen.

Sarah_CT May 03, 2017

Ruth takes readers and cooks on a journey of healing, discovery and food in My Kitchen Year. Majority of the group read it like a novel and then went back and revisited recipes. Ruth’s journey is set by seasons which helps guide the reader and the chef. We would recommend the recipes for the laid back chef as not all of the recipes are exact and she encourages readers to improvise in the kitchen. Our only true criticism is in the book itself, which has an extremely tight binding that makes it impossible to lay open while cooking. We highly recommend this book for the cookbook reader while cooks should be ready with recipe cards.

CatherineG_1 Apr 29, 2016

In the branch, customers were very interested in this book but this is not outstanding. Theresa, the reviewer before me summed the book up quite accurately - part memoir and part recipes to fill in time after Reichl lost her job with Gourmet magazine.
For those of you who like deviled eggs, the pink deviled eggs look interesting.
Also would love to try the recipe for no knead bread from Jim Lahey.

Dec 31, 2015

In 2009, Ruth Reichl was the editor of Gourmet magazine which also included various cookbooks and two public television shows. It all came crashing down one fall day when Conde Nast ceased publishing Gourmet after nearly 70 years. In shock and disbelief, Reichl retreated to her upstate New York country home. This book is half cookbook, half cathartic memoir as Reichl confronts the emotional work of being unemployed at age 61. The result is a tome of beautiful photographs, seasonal recipes, and tweets from her foray into the Twitter world. Most of the recipes have less than 8 ingredients which make them very accessible to the home cook.

Dec 29, 2015

Loved this book! A perfect gift for anyone who loves food. It's part memoir, part cookbook, and full of goodness.

Dec 27, 2015

I loved this book. The attention to simple pleasures, the joy of being in her kitchen and caring for herself and others through her cooking. Her struggles and challenges seemed quite real to me, and I found it to be a charming, warm book. The audio book is quite good too, and read by the author as if you're having coffee in her kitchen while she cooks up something amazing. Also--a great book to give as a gift.

Dec 12, 2015

Ugh. I have read most of Ruth Reichl's books, but I can barely get past the first few pages. OMG, things are going to be so hard for us as we struggle as a family with a child, as we go to our second home in the country...

That was page 2.

Then the epiphany that eggs and potatoes are wonderful. Really? That is new? Tortilla from Spain. Hash browns and eggs. Yes--totally new. I get it, her life was hard and she needed potatoes & eggs. After a friday or saturday night, many of us prefer something including eggs and potatoes. And lots and lots of fat. Maybe she should get a grant to study the effects of starch, B-vitamins, and fat on hangovers.

Returning tomorrow when I head in to buy a gift at Jazam's. I don't have the patience for someone so removed from reality, condescending, and full of herself.

Edit: with the exception of my recent interest in Humbolt, everything I read is food & travel related. Food, travel, memoirs about food, memoirs about travel, memoirs about food and travel, food, ancient cookbooks, religious cookbooks, books with food and memories and tidbits. Most are happy and fulfilling. This? No. I'm very sorry that a 61 year old with a very satisfying career lost her job, but does she have to be so full of syrupy self-absorption?

Edit 2: I thought I would give the book another chance. So I looked up anchovies in the index. There was a story of everyone meeting up near Fairway market, some in new jobs (good for them!). Then, of course, the conversation moved immediately to "when was the last time YOU were without an expense account and had to pay for a meal?" "1977". More tears. I'm really sorry she hasn't had to pay for a nice meal since I was 5 years old, but really? Even the Slice Harvester guy paid for his own pizza for his blog and Bourdain, Batali, Brown, and Pepin eat out on their own dime when they're not paid to do so.

Yet again, she's insufferable.

coroboreefarm Dec 05, 2015

This is a cookbook to choose as much for the beautiful photographs and memoir as for the delicious recipes. Organized through the seasons of a year, the book relates the author's personal journey as she tries to process the shock and disappointment that shattered her world after losing her job, at age sixty-one, as editor in chief at Gourmet Magazine, when the magazine abruptly folded after seventy years in publication. Devastated, she retreated to the country, and turned to Twitter and to creating recipes to keep her sanity, and to process her intense emotional state.

Each recipe included in this book uses simple, seasonal ingredients, and is accompanied by pictures that will inspire the reader to head to the kitchen immediately to create something fragrant and comforting. Part cookbook and part memoir, this is a book you will want to cook your way through.

Nov 30, 2015

Although the book was visually stimulating, I found its tone to be very self-absorbed. Poor poor accomplished Ruth, with two lovely homes and such hard decisions to make every day...

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SPL_Robyn Nov 10, 2015

Job loss is stressful for anyone. When job loss happens at age 61 - 4 years before most people retire - it can be devastating: an entire career, working family, not to mention a salary – gone. When this happened to Ruth Reichl, the 61-year-old editor of the beloved magazine Gourmet which had been an institution in the industry until it closed its doors, she battled depression, anxiety and grief, and retreated from friends and family… to her kitchen.

Out of her year of grieving, however, comes an incredibly personal and beautiful cookbook. Reichl includes the recipes she developed in her year of recovery but also chronicles how her feelings led her to experimenting with different foods and palettes, giving each recipe a very intimate context to be savoured as much as the food itself. This is, in fact, a mood cookbook.

In fact the entire feel of the cookbook is one of comfort; the design trend in the publishing industry for heavy stock paper, matte-and-cloth covers and plentiful but not glossy pictures makes holding the book feel like holding a cozy blanket. And as Reichl works through her grief, the joy she feels in cooking starts trickling back into her seasonal descriptions: “Hot. Hawks dance in the air. Grass prickles. Warm peanut butter and jam on thick white bread. Summertime picnic. Feel about five.” Then, as her cookbook nears completion, her anxiety creeps back but with an air of anticipation for what comes next: “Four a.m. Can’t sleep. Motorcycle screams up the highway. Strange birds chirp. One lonely siren. Hot fudge on vanilla ice cream. Better!”

Let’s face it, we aren’t all of us prepared to tackle spice-rubbed pork cooked in banana leaves, but a diva grilled cheese, or hot fudge? Now we’re talking. Because who can be anxious in the face of hot fudge?

Find My Kitchen Year at the Stratford Public Library (and if you’re lucky, under your Christmas tree).


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