I haven’t consumed a book this fast since, well, Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires.
Comfort Me with Apples is a much more personal, less food-centric memoir than Garlic and Sapphires. Tracing the manner in which she and her first husband drifted apart, her enlightening, almost other-worldly journeys to Europe and Asia, and her developing relationship with the man who would become her second husband, I admire Reichl’s penchant for detail and confessional honesty. Her words, if I am allowed to say this, are so unexpected from a “food writer”, which is one of the reasons why her compositional risk-taking is so refreshing.
Though Comfort Me is without the theatrical antics of Garlic‘s invented personalities, I enjoyed this book more. Being a part of her world, even as a mere reader, is addictive (Tender at the Bone is on request as we speak). The recipes in this text are great as well, and it won’t be long before I give her version of mushroom soup, or Danny’s lemon pasta, a spin.
I continue to go back to her line which addresses A.J. Liebling’s quote: “The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite.” Reichl’s response:
“Liebling was wrong. Appetite is not enough. And knowledge is not sufficient. You can be a decent critic if you know about food, but to be a really good one you need to know about life. It took the next few years to teach me that. You’ll see.”
Comfort Me with Apples exemplifies the notion that one’s life can be better than fiction. You’ll just have to read it to find out how much better.