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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  11,392 ratings  ·  2,054 reviews
In her bestselling memoirs Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food mag
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Random House (first published January 1st 2014)
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Jessica Well, I'm only halfway through Delicious!, and it's the only fiction I've read by Reichl, but so far her non fiction has been MUCH better. Seems so…moreWell, I'm only halfway through Delicious!, and it's the only fiction I've read by Reichl, but so far her non fiction has been MUCH better. Seems so much better written, better fleshed out, more thoughtful characters, etc. - likely because they were real people. (less)
Joanna I would probably serve italian meats and cheeses for appetizers, like those at Fantanaris. Then see if you'll could recreate some of the dishes…moreI would probably serve italian meats and cheeses for appetizers, like those at Fantanaris. Then see if you'll could recreate some of the dishes mentioned in the book....pumpkin ravioli, fettuccini with Parmesan, snowball cookies, etc. (less)
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Book Group Worthy Titles for 2014
37th out of 361 books — 1,289 voters
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5th out of 11 books — 52 voters

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Community Reviews

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oookaaaayyy, well let me just start out by saying that I love Ruth Reichl. Garlic and Sapphires is one of my favorite books ever. Genius. Lovely. Gorgeous.
However. This novel. I mean, it's definitely a "write what you know" kind of thing, about a woman who works for a venerable food magazine that suddenly ceases publication. Fine. Gotta start somewhere.
But it's just...okay, so the main character is a genius food person with a miraculous palate! but she doesn't cook! because of her Tragic Past!
May 15, 2014 Cheryl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers who enjoy the energy of debut novels, gourmet magazines, food driven plots
The heroine of Ruth Reichl's first novel is Billie Breslin, who along with her sister and aunt spend hours in the kitchen perfecting cake after cake until they figure out the exact recipe. "It's even better than your mother's," Aunt Melba tells Billie. Even at the age of ten, Billie could deconstruct a delicious concoction discerning each ingredient with her delicate palate.

Eleven years later Billie takes her unique talent to New York to the popular magazine DELICIOUS! where she is assistent to
I've loved all the non-fiction that Ruth Reichl has written and thought her first novel would be a treat. Sadly, it seems that very different skills are needed in writing fiction vs. non-fiction.

Our main character is a cipher. We get hints about a tragic past, but because we can't know what happened, we can't really know the character. Plus, she's young, has curly blonde hair and violet eyes, and the most amazing palate ever. Whoever meets her fall in love with her and wants to be her friend, an
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Recipes, libraries, letters, books, food, authentic Italian butcher and cheese shops, aromas you can smell through the pages, and marvelous characters. What more can a reader ask for?

DELICIOUS is a reader's and a cook's paradise. DELICIOUS is one wonderful page of words after another.

The magic never stopped as Ms. Reichl introduced the reader to her believable, lovable characters and to mouthwatering food. Billie and every single character will steal your heart. The characters just had somethin
Sorry guys -- yet another curmudgeonly review. I just couldn't stay interested in this story. Ruth Reichl is a seasoned writer, but definitely not a novelist.

Somewhere on the TV tropes website where it lists all the various subcategories of Mary Sues, there's probably a name for that wish fulfillment main character who's awkward and self-doubting but instantly loved by all who meet her (despite the absence of any notable personality), and needs only to take off her glasses and change her hairsty
The question in my mind was "Could Ruth Reichl, food editor, restaurant critic and memoir writer pull off a cozy novel?" You bet she can and it was, well, delicious.

Like Reichl, Billie Breslin transplants herself from the streets of California to the bustle of New York where she is hired as assistant editor for a Gourmet lookalike magazine named Delicious. Billie California bags are packed with a sadness of spirit not fully explained initially. Part One finds Billie settling in as she goes abou
First reads. I won, I won, I won! I haven't won anything in like 4 years!

So, full disclosure. I received this book through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the first novel by food critic Ruth Reichl. It's a fun story of a young woman who makes her way to NYC to work for a food magazine (and to run away from her painful past). Her new life is filled with adventures. I got a kick out of the happily-ever-after tone. Anything that could go right did. Just a lot of fu
Most anyone who knows me, knows that Ruth Reichl is at the top of my favorite food writer list. So when I was given the opportunity to receive an advanced readers copy of her newest book and first work of fiction, Delicious!, I jumped at the chance! (A big thank you to Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman!)

Delicious! is custom-written for people like me, someone who loves food and loves to read about it. Delicious! is a longtime food magazine in the vein of Gourmet, and we meet our protaganist, Bill
Kelly Syms
Place this one firmly in the "beach read" category. The prose is juvenile, especially for such an esteemed non-fiction writer. I love Ruth Reichl's food writing, and adored her editorial tenure at Gourmet, but her first novel is badly in need of an honest editor. You'll find unrealistic, shallow dialogue, cliched themes and flat characters on the page.

There are brief moments of pleasure, mainly concerning glorious descriptions of meals and artisanal food. Some reviewers feel that these moments
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Ruth Reichl is a well known author, so I had high hopes for this, her first novel. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

A young woman drops out of college and moves to New York, where she gets a job as an assistant to the editor of Delicious, a highly regarded food magazine, not unlike Gourmet , the now defunct magazine at which Ms. Reichl was editor. The protagonist, Wilhemina "Billie" Breslin, has a unique gift. One taste of anything and she kno
Delicious! is a light, fun, fictional book that should appeal to foodies. The framing story involves Billie Breslin, a young woman with a discerning palate, who starts a job as the assistant to the editor of Delicious! magazine in Manhattan. A beautiful historic mansion holds the offices of the food magazine (which is similar to Gourmet magazine where Ruth Reichl served as the editor.) In addition to writing food articles, Billie is responsible for manning a recipe hotline. The magazine guarante ...more
Billie, the lead character, has a rare perfect palate, one that can distinguish almost any flavor in any food she eats, certainly flavors I've never even heard of. This makes her a valuable commodity for Delicious! , the food magazine that hires her. It had at one time made her an excellent cook herself, but something has happened in her past that now gives her panic attacks at just the idea of cooking or baking. She's a complicated character, accustomed to growing up in her older sister's shado ...more
Rebecca Foster
I loved Reichl’s memoir of being a food critic, Garlic and Sapphires, so I was excited for her first novel. To exploit some food metaphors, the result might not be haute cuisine, but it’s ideal comfort food. I raced through it in a weekend; I can also imagine it being a wonderful Christmas vacation read.

Billie Breslin is Reichl’s young heroine, an ugly duckling transplanted from Santa Barbara to New York City, where she is the newest writer for Delicious! magazine, a culinary landmark for over a
Many years ago, I went on vacation with my parents. I walked into our house at the shore and my day handed me The Prince of Tides. Several days later I emerged from Conroy's world to find that my world was still turning. I fell into that novel.

This weekend we are on vacation with friends who have not seen in months. When I walked in the house, there was Riechl's book waiting for me. My friend had finished this novel and knew I would love this. Once again, I was on vacation, but living vicariousl
Billie Breslin knows she's lucky to get a job at Delicious!. She's dropped out of college and doesn't even cook, but she has her reasons and she has an amazing palate. Within months she's written her first piece and is right where she wants to be. But then the magazine is abruptly shut down and everyone around her is looking for new employment. Billie is kept on to run the magazine's guarantee - you'll love the recipe or your money back - when she makes a wonderful discovery: in the depths of th ...more
☔Diane S.
3.5 Food is the ultimate comfort and so this book about food is a wonderful comfort read. The descriptions about the amazing food stores in New York, the ingredients that go into recipes, the recipes themselves, and the quirky characters all add their own special flavor to this story. Throw in a mystery concerning the iconic James Beard and a young girl he corresponded with during the war, all of which kept me turning the pages with delight. Family, food, friends and finding ones own way, I enjo ...more
Ruth Reichl had so much fun writing this novel. I don't know this for a fact, but I sense it in every page. This sweet confection is full of joy. There is not a mean bone in this book's body. There aren't many bones at all, really. You definitely don't need a knife and fork to eat this one, but a large napkin to catch all the drips would be good.

Inspired perhaps by Reichl's days at the venerable food magazine Gourmet before it was summarily shuttered by the publisher, Delicious! is a celebratio
Jenny Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book #37 Read in 2014
Delicious by Ruth Reichl

This book was a great read for foodies, romantics, readers and people who just enjoy good writing. In this book, Billie heads to New York City and finds an assistant job at a culinary magazine. She finds some old letters between a young girl and a culinary expert from the magazine and she thinks that they might perhaps make a good book. More importantly, Billie becomes engaged with the story of these letters and wants to find out more about the people
A good choice for a summer read - light romance, a touch of mystery, and likable characters. A little too "chick lit" for my tastes but no one writes about food better than Ruth Reichl - and that is where this book shines. Unfortunately, there's not enough of the food and a little too much of the other stuff. Still, an enjoyable summer romp - and, as a bonus, a recipe at the end for a gingerbread cake that is discussed at length throughout the book. If anyone makes it, let me know! Sounds yummy!
Penny McGill
I'm not usually a jealous person but I find I can be jealous about books that I love. I find myself too attached to the characters and the story and then just can't part with the book. I drop them into our drop box or feed them into the automatic sorter with my eyes closed - like I'm hoping some magic will make the book pop back up and be mine forever. It's a childish feeling but I imagine it happening. Recently A J Fikry had my heart and now it's Ruth Reichl's first foray into Fiction with Deli ...more
If protagonist Billie Breslin, with the phenomenal palate, were to “taste” this novel, she would quickly identify its excess of ingredients, likely find it irreparable, and suggest starting over from scratch.

Certainly she would have done more than tweak her own character. A brilliant but reluctant cook, hiding beneath a wild hairdo, unattractive glasses, and dumpy clothes, and on a Very Big Guilt Trip, escapes her native California to seek employment in New York City at the venerable food magazi
I have been a Ruth Reichl fan for years. My favorite is Garlic and Sapphires about her time as the New York Times food critic. I really enjoyed Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples. I resubscribed to Gourmet when she was named editor and mourned the loss when it folded. At least once a year I check her Gourmet cookbook out of the library to read her writing. She is the foodie I aspire to be.

Delicious is her first novel. I think she has invented a new genre, foodie chick lit. I read the
One of the best books I've read in a really long time. It took me until a little before half-way through the book to be hooked, but once I was I couldn't stop reading. I loved Billie she was a real person with real issues. I loved how she grew and changed throughout the story. I also loved all the talk and descriptions of the food. I love all varieties of food and was amazed to learn of some things I never heard of. I really feel like all the characters in the book were just very well written an ...more
If I'm going to be honest this was a two star book. The plot had a nice concept, but it was sloppily executed. This is the authors first work of fiction. It was silly, crowded, predictable and dragged where it needed to just get over itself. That said, it was still great fun because when Ruth Reichl talks about food, it's gospel to my foodie soul. I blame this book for my midnight mozzarella run and at least five pounds gained this week! Deep and thought provoking this isn't, but light summer re ...more
I started out loving this book. The parts that focused on food and cooking were great. I especially loved Sal and his cheese shop. The rest of the story, though, just came off as way too hokey and unbelievable. Once it hit the romance twist there toward the end, I just couldn't force myself to read anymore. Sad, really. It had such great potential there in the beginning.
I'll devour tasty literary fiction like any book-loving foodie, and Delicious mixes in equal parts history, mystery, and human interest for a full-bodied novel. Add to that an all-but-forgotten library that cryptically hides a series of old letters between unexpected pen pals, and you've got the cherry on top for this Librarian reviewer!

I generally lean toward nonfiction foodie reads, so the storyline felt noticeably contrived to me, but it was still fun. Pacing was slow at first and picked up
"A great meal is an experience that nourishes more than your body."

What can be better than a book about food, family/friends, and self discovery. Toss in some great history elements, a mansion with a surprising human impact (Chapter: Between Triborough Bridge and Union Square) and a secret room (full of letters written during WWII) in a library--- and you've got yourself a beautiful story that sends your senses and heart into overdrive.

The first chapter is titled "Gingerbread". Being that I'm th
In the acknowledgements Ruth Reichl says, "Feeding people is an act of generosity—I don’t think it is possible for a great cook to have a stingy soul—and I have done my best to honor that." You could feel this sentiment throughout Delicious! Reichl's love of food, food shops, New York City, and the world of cooking magazines shine. I enjoyed every minute of the story--especially the descriptions of the building that housed Delicious! The story weaves together mystery, romance, family, coming of ...more
May 12, 2014 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness
Shelves: 2014-books
I was very lucky to read this as an ARC (thanks to Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness) and I really loved this novel about the intersection of food and magazine publishing in New York City. Billie Breslin has dropped out of college and moved from California to take a job at Delicious! as assistant to the editor. Similar to Gourmet magazine, Delicious! Is closed , yet Billie is retained to honor the Delicious! guarantee, refunding readers' money if a recipe fails. Alone in the offices, she enters t ...more
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Eat, Drink, Read: Kitchen Catastrophes 4 7 Jan 28, 2015 11:04AM  
Eat, Drink, Read: Recipe Pairing- Delicious! 1 5 Jan 13, 2015 08:53AM  
Eat, Drink, Read: Food and Culture 1 7 Jan 13, 2015 08:49AM  
Eat, Drink, Read: Comfort Food 1 6 Jan 13, 2015 08:49AM  
Eat, Drink, Read: Foraging for Food 1 7 Jan 13, 2015 08:48AM  
Eat, Drink, Read: Finding Your Way Home 1 5 Jan 13, 2015 08:47AM  
Indian Readers: My Books - Rebecca 36 100 Dec 26, 2014 09:03AM  
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Ruth Reichl is an American food writer, the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and culinary editor for the Modern Library.
Born to parents Ernst and Miriam (née Brudno), she was raised in New York City and spent time at a boarding school in Montreal. She attended the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, the artist Douglas Hollis. She graduated in 1970 with a M.A. in art history
More about Ruth Reichl...
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way

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“You'll find that historical research is extremely soothing. When you spend all day among old papers, the people come alive for you, and you begin to see the present through different eyes. You'll see. You view young people knowing that this is only one moment in time and it's passing very quickly. It's comforting. You begin to understand that time is no more than a trick of the mind; some days I'm convinced that my young self is still here, somewhere, just walking down a different street." Anne” 3 likes
“I am telling you that if things can change for the worse, the opposite is also true. But only if you open yourself to the possibilities.” 2 likes
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