Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl
Did you know that you can eat milkweed? This is one of the interesting facts I learned from Ruth Reichl’s debut novel, Delicious!
At the age of 10, Billie Breslin discovered she had a gift. She is able to recreate the recipe for a cake based on her memory of the flavors she tasted in that cake. Eleven years later, Billie finds herself in New York, far from her family in California, applying for a job, not as a chef but as an administrative assistant for a food magazine, Delicious.
While at the magazine, Billie uncovers a series of letters written during World War II between a young girl, Lulu, and Mr. Beard, a former employee of the magazine and a chef. Billie becomes fascinated with them and wants to learn more about Lulu. As Billie attempts to solve the mystery of Lulu’s letters, she works on issues in her own life.
I particularly enjoyed reading the letters from Lulu with their descriptions of how she and her mother coped during the war. Reichl added interesting information about food rationing and foraging for different plants throughout Lulu’s letters. In writing to Mr. Beard, Lulu tells him about observing people shopping: “They weren’t buying food. They were finding their way home.” Food does help us find our way home, back to the tables of our families and friends. Delicious! is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read!