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Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (Audiobook) Bets On...

About the Book

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (Audiobook)

written and read by Ruth Reichl

April 2019

SAVE ME THE PLUMS by Ruth Reichl is a delight on so many levels. For anyone who loved Gourmet magazine, it’s a real insider’s look at the last 10 years of the magazine. For someone like me, who worked at Conde Nast, it’s a brilliant trip down memory lane to the days when the company was in its print heyday --- while digital challenges were overshadowing where things were headed. For anyone who loves to eat --- and explore food --- it’s a cornucopia of wonderful background on how recipes are created, and how chefs and those on the other end of the kitchen collaborate to bring you a brilliant dining experience.

At the start of the book, Ruth is a restaurant critic for the New York Times. S.I. Newhouse, who ran Conde Nast for decades, has his eye on her to edit the venerable Gourmet. The first few chapters are about S.I. and James Truman wooing her to come on board. She clearly is torn on taking the job, though she had been reading the magazine since she was eight. She longs for more time home with her young son, instead of sitting in restaurants critiquing cuisine, and is unsure about managing a staff and budgets. They want her creativity, eye and talent, and are quick to tell her that she will have a team to help with the nitty gritty she does not know.

There are many amusing moments when she first comes on board, as she has no knowledge of how a magazine comes together: “TOC,” “well” and “adjacencies” are foreign words to her in the scheme of magazine production. I love the way she grabs a friend, takes her to lunch and gets the lowdown on the basics. She also has to learn how to work with the “business side” of the magazine, where her publisher is Gina Sanders, a sharp and lovely woman who also is married to one of the Newhouse family members. Talk about pressure.

Ruth quickly becomes comfortable with her position, and from there takes on a starring editor role at Conde Nast. Details matter, and she thrives on the camaraderie of her team. She builds a staff, makes changes as they are needed, and walks readers along with her on this journey. Ideas are knocked around, recipes are tested, and she is constantly on the prowl for ways to keep the magazine exciting. She organizes fun parties that happen after hours in famous restaurants. She promotes socializing with chefs, and them with each other. She pushes herself, takes chances and reinvents. She does whatever she has to do to make Gourmet relevant. She works it all with sheer tenacity. Which is why the swift ending that comes about when the magazine closes hits like such a blow.

I listened to SAVE ME THE PLUMS on digital audio, which Ruth narrates, and she is a really terrific storyteller. You clearly hear her passion for food and dining. And as there are recipes, she talks readers through those. I really want to make the Cheddar Cheese Scallion Biscuits, especially after hearing how they were tested so many times, reminding me that, in a magazine, food has to look great as well as taste great!

Once again, I wanted to hear more. I never read MY KITCHEN YEAR, her memoir of how she took to her kitchen the year after Gourmet closed, but I think it would be fitting to do that now. I really want to know more about what came immediately next for her. This book was just a real delight!

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir (Audiobook)
written and read by Ruth Reichl

  • Publication Date: April 2, 2019
  • Genres: Food, Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Audio: pages
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • ISBN-10: 0385393482
  • ISBN-13: 9780385393485