It’s going to take something really super-spectacular this week to top my Monday night.
How come? Because my friend Kara and I met the one and only Ruth Reichl. I know, I’m gushing just a bit. But in my defense, it’s Ruth Reichl, restaurant critic/editor/memoirist/James Beard Award winner and now fiction writer. And for the 90 minutes we were in the same place at the same time, she was as warm and down-to-earth in person as she sounds in interviews and looks on television.
On tour to promote her first novel, Delicious!, Ms. Reichl appeared at the Philadelphia Free Library two nights ago. She shared the stage with poet/writer Ana Castillo, an extremely accomplished and utterly engaging author. As she spoke at the podium in the auditorium, the audience was drawn into her world, and it was a treat to hear anecdotes about different times in her career.
After a salads, pizza, and cookies at Pizzeria Vetri, Kara and I got to the library early enough to snag up-close-and-personal seats in the second row. Both authors talked about their latest works and read aloud passages from them. A short Q&A followed, and Ms. Reichl’s candor and humor came through, especially when she described several real-life events that inspired portions of the novel. She spoke about the folding of Gourmet magazine, explained how she named and created some of the characters in Delicious!, and talked about the differences between writing memoir and fiction.
After the last question was asked, die-hard fans waited to get their books signed and for the chance to steal a few more minutes with the women.
This was an evening to remember for a long time. Thanks, Ruth.