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Delicious!

Cover of Delicious!

Delicious!

A Novel
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERRuth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our...More
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERRuth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our...More
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Description-
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

    Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York's most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water--until she is welcomed by the magazine's colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari's, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

    To Billie's surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine's library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu's letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.

    Praise for Delicious!

    "Its title strikes me as perfectly apt. . . . The novel presents a whole passel of surprises: a puzzle to solve; a secret room; hidden letters; the legacy of James Beard; and a parallel, equally plucky heroine from the past, who also happens to be a culinary prodigy."--The New York Times Book Review

    "Drawing amply on her years as editor of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl's fiction debut, Delicious!, follows a perfect-palated aspiring young journalist to her new job at an iconic New York food magazine, where she uncovers a mysterious trove of James Beard's wartime correspondence--and learns how intimately food and legacy are intertwined."--Vogue

    "Reichl's compulsively readable novel is a treat for anyone who loves a warm, character-packed tale--a delectable mix of flavor, fantasy, and emotional comfort food."--O: The Oprah Magazine

    "This savory feast of a first novel blends the rich gifts that readers of Reichl's memoirs and food writing have come to expect. To a tantalizing coming-of-age story about a budding chef and journalist she adds a bittersweet tale of separated sisters."--More

    "Reichl's vivid descriptions of food will have readers salivating, and an insider's look at life at a food magazine is fascinating. Her satisfying coming-of-age novel of love and loss vividly demonstrates the power of food to connect people across cultures and generations."--Library Journal (starred review)

    From the Hardcover edition.
 
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  • From the book

    Eleven Years LaterWhen Jake Newberry asked me to cook for him, I froze.

    "Something wrong?" He swept a strand of silver hair out of his eyes and gave me his famous cool blue stare.

    "I'm not applying for a position in the test kitchen." I tried to keep the disappointment from my voice; the job had sounded so perfect. "I thought you were looking for a new executive assistant."

    "I am." Then he added, "Didn't anybody tell you I ask every candidate to cook for me?"

    How had I missed that?

    Jake reached down and patted the big yellow dog at his feet; the dog wriggled with pleasure, and I found that oddly reassuring. "Look, Billie." Jake offered an encouraging smile. "You seem like a good fit for Delicious! You worked on The Daily Cal. It sounds like you know your way around a kitchen. And you're even willing to leave school to take the job. I like that; it shows how much you want it."

    I'd spent hours working on an explanation for dropping out; it had never crossed my mind that he'd consider it a plus. "You've said all the right things." He looked down at the pile of manuscripts on his desk, and when he looked up again, his smile was crooked. "You Googled me, right?"

    "Would you want an assistant who didn't?"

    "Good answer. But that just proves my point. I don't find interviews all that revealing."

    Every article I'd read about Jake mentioned that he was a non-corporate guy, which was one of the reasons I'd applied for the job. Working at Delicious! sounded like joining a club, entering a little world of its own, and that's exactly what I wanted. Needed. I'd spent hours preparing for this interview, studying Jake, chasing down every detail. Now it appeared that hadn't been enough.

    "What's wrong with interviews?" I was playing for time. I really didn't want to cook.

    "Isn't it obvious?" He was truly great-looking; the photographs captured his all-American looks, but they didn't catch the humorous way his lips turned up or the watchful intelligence in his eyes. "You tell me you love the book, but, then, you're hardly going to say you hate it."

    He'd lost me. Book? I had no idea what he was talking about.

    "Ha! Another piece of the puzzle slides into place. You don't know much about magazines, do you? In this business, magazines are always called 'books.' I don't know why. What I do know is that every writer who comes for an interview is madly in love with this book. Then I ask what they're reading, and they serve up the usual suspects: The New Yorker, and the most challenging bestseller on the current list."

    He pointed an ebony letter opener at me. "I have to admit, throwing Brillat-Savarin into the mix was a clever move on your part; nobody's ever come up with that before."

    Not all that clever: It hadn't taken much to find out he'd written his college honors thesis on the great French gastronome.

    Jake was studying me, and I couldn't help wondering if he'd be easier on me if I were one of the pretty girls, or at least a bit more stylish. Aunt Melba had insisted that I buy a black skirt and a white shirt, but I hadn't bothered trying them on and the skirt was a little too short; now I tugged at it, trying to edge it closer to my knees. But it turned out Jake wasn't concerned with the way I looked. "I'm trying to figure out if you knew I'd ask what you had for dinner last night."

    It had been a lucky guess, but if I were the editor of a food magazine, that's a question I'd be asking. So I Googled around and discovered that Jake had a passion for Japanese food. Then I found some obscure new place in the East Village specializing in Kitakata ramen and went in for a big bowl of...

About the Author-
  • Ruth Reichl is the bestselling author of Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples. She was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for ten years. She lives in New York City with her husband, son, and two cats.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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