Author: Ruth Reichl
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Number of Pages: 400
How I Got It: Edelweiss
Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee"-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.
Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues-the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.
Ruth Reichl's memoir TENDER AT THE BONE was a celebrated memoir and now her debut novel DELICIOUS! is a foodie dream novel. Billie possesses an impressive palate, narrowing in on flavors and combinations like a musical prodigy with perfect pitch. As Billie becomes submersed in the food family surrounding her job, she begins to feel at peace with food again. Prone to panic attacks when entering a kitchen, she sticks to her work at the magazine and her side job at family run deli. When Delicious is shut down, Billie is offered the job of staying behind in the mansion to answer the telephone for the Delicious Guarantee. Filled with a great cast of characters, readers will experience the connections of workplace grudges and friendships. The secondary story of correspondence between James Beard and Lulu Swan is sweet and heartbreaking. A great novel for all the foodies out there.
** I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review **