I have mixed feelings about Ruth Reichl. For many years I devoured everything she wrote. After reading her first couple books, I grew a little weary of her style. Her writing is florid like perfume. Sometimes she says so much with just a spritz; other times her words overwhelm your senses.
However, she has been a talented, successful, and authoritative voice to my generation of eaters and writers. When I got a chance to sit down with Ms. Reichl at a conference in Minneapolis, oh about ten years ago, I was ready to bond.
Didn’t happen. She was rude. She never looked me in the eye. She didn’t ask me one thing about myself or Dallas. (Wouldn’t a national food magazine editor be curious about the dining scene in a major US city?) She was deep into her job as Queen of Gourmet and she didn’t want to talk about food criticism. She was “past that.”
Well, goody for her. Gourmet died and Ruth rose above the rubble. She’s had a series of glam jobs on TV, she wrote books, and is the executive producer of Garlic and Sapphires, a film based on her memoirs. And she has great hair (which I’m sure she hates). My disappointment in Reichl has morphed into mind-numbing mixture of jealousy and resentment. Especially when it comes to her hair.
Today, cue Elton John, Ruth Reichl is back. She is the editorial advisor to Gilt Taste, an online magazine/catalog (webazinelog?) featuring fine writing, artisanal products, and lots of Ruth. Does she get on your nerves or do you love her flowery prose (and The Bridges of Madison County)? But here’s the good news.