When Gourmet suddenly folded in 2009, one of the biggest surprises was that Ruth Reichl -- then editor-in-chief of the magazine and previously Los Angeles Times food editor and restaurant critic for The New York Times -- would be out of a job. These days she's as busy as ever, writing three new books: a memoir, a novel and a Twitter-based recipe book.
In speaking with Israeli publication Haaretz, Reichl recently divulged some unexpected details about her memoirs, comparing her time at magazine publisher Condé Nast to "Sex and the City" and "Gossip Girl," a "world of luxury and possibility [she] didn't know existed."
An active Twitter user with 111,757 followers and the inspiration for James Beard award-winning Twitter account Ruth Bourdain, Reichl said her recipe book is based on a series of tweets she's updated since Gourmet's closing, poetic, staccato descriptions of what she's eating. Each page will include a tweet, its backstory and an accompanying recipe.
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A recent tweet: "Alone on the beach. 7 a.m. Low tide. Clear water. One crisp slice of watermelon, juice dripping down my arms. Gulls circle, covetous." Funnily enough, it was the description of peach juice dripping down her arms a year ago that began a Chowhound topic "Ruth Reichl: Stop her before she tweets again" as well as a requisite Ruth Bourdain tweet: "I smell peaches. Turned on, I stand at the sink, juice dripping down my arms, biting into the flesh. Wow. I guess I'm into rough fruit sex."
Reichl offered the least information on her novel, explaining that it will center around food and take place in two times, the present day and World War II.
Reichl has a history of defying food writing convention, famously donning a wig, dowdy clothes and the affectations of an invented Midwestern character named Molly to write a review of famed New York restaurant Le Cirque. Part of the review described her experience as Molly, the other when recognized as The New York Times restaurant reviewer. Molly received smaller raspberries.