When the New York Times newspaper approached Ruth Reichl about becoming their new restaurant critic, she was already reviewing restaurants for the Los Angeles Times and was in no mood to make a change.
Her husband was supportive.
"Why on earth would you want to work at the best paper in the world?"
The Times hires her and Reichl quickly discovers that every restaurant in New York has prepared for her arrival by putting a picture of her face on their staff bulletin board. So with the help of a theatre make-up artist she creates a well-to-do, but very dowdy, disguise for herself.
Reichl's account of the shabby treatment this unfashionable character gets at the fashionable restaurant Le Cirque is refreshingly scathing.
She returns to Le Cirque as herself, the reviewer for the New York Times, and her account of the splendid treatment she gets is just as scathing. She writes a hilarious review about both experiences , and postitive responces roll in from readers.
One reader praised her as "a spy in the house of food".
So begins Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, her memoir of reviewing restaurants in New York City, published in 2005.
Reichl is good company, never takes herself too seriously and seriously loves good food. I picked this up when I was in the mood for something light, urbane and hilarious, and I could hardly bear to put it down.
Also in Large Print.