Aug. 28, 2019
Good morning, foodie friends.
This job is fun for many reasons — I get to invite my co-workers over to eat an absurd amount of corn, I’ve taken a fire truck to the grocery store and I once convinced my boss to eat a burger on a cinnamon bun (it was delicious, by the way). Recently, I hit a new pinch-me-moment when I was invited by former Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl to spend an afternoon sitting at her kitchen counter in her Spencertown, N.Y. home.
But before it was fun, it was a bit nerve-wracking, if I’m to be honest, dear readers. Ruth is kind of a big deal in the food world. Not only has she won six James Beard Awards, but she was also a restaurant critic for The New York Times before taking over Gourmet. Before all of that, she was food editor at The Los Angeles Times.
She’s like the fairy godmother of features editors, but with a spatula instead of a wand, and a magazine-size budget instead of fairy dust. I was awestruck.
But, a kitchen counter is the great equalizer. We’re all just hungry people when we sit down to a kitchen counter, looking for dinner, a snack and, if we’re lucky, some good conversation with the smell of delicious food in the air. When photographer Stephanie Zollshan and I walked in, there was the smell of Ruth’s famous Nicky’s Vanilla Cake in the air and a spread of cheeses, salami and California apricots on the counter. She immediately apologized for not having more to offer us, and I immediately felt more at ease.
(She's smiling at moi in this picture, by the way ...)
The big takeaway for me from the interview was Ruth’s real love of local ingredients — she listed off farmers faster than I could write them down. And by the end of the hour, I wanted to run out and buy fresh peaches and corn before the short season vanished.
If you’re feeling inspired by my chat with Ruth, I recommend her new book “Save Me the Plums,” a perfect book to devour over a long holiday weekend while soaking up the last days, and fresh fruit, of the summer.
Managing editor of Features