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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  29,879 ratings  ·  4,436 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, 380 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Random House
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Laura Laura
I am a little more than halfway through, and I have set it aside. I'm finding it a little corny and contrived. Sorry Ruth, stick with reality.…more
I am a little more than halfway through, and I have set it aside. I'm finding it a little corny and contrived. Sorry Ruth, stick with reality.(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 mentio…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)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  29,879 ratings  ·  4,436 reviews

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Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
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!
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
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
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
Jul 01, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kelly Syms
May 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: debut, fiction
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
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: firstreads
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
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
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars.
An enjoyable, light read set around food and a mystery involving letters from the past. Billie Breslin gets a job at Delicious the premier food magazine in New York. But just when things seem to be going well for her, things change in ways she never expected. It is during this time of change that Billie finds letters by Lulu Swan, a young girl who corresponds with Chef James Beard during World War 2. For anyone interested in food, food preparation and eating out, this book
Barbara H
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The main character, Billie, works at “Delicious!”, a fictional food and cooking magazine. She abandons college and leaves her home in California to take the job in NYC.  She discovers the city is a food lover's paradise, although it takes her a while to adjust to life away from home. She is enticed by the city, its people, and the variety of food, but a mystery surrounds her.  She has a superhuman palate, she can taste any dish and can identify its ingredients, but steadfastly denies that she ca ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book...kinda. There were quite a few lags in the story. Our heroine has landed a job with a cooking magazine. Although she has a gift in cooking and an amazingly intensive palette for flavors, she doesn’t cook. We discover why as the story unfolds...slowly. Meanwhile there are some lovely side stories and a lot of history on WWII. There is also my ‘dream kitchen’ in its pages. “A bookshelf took up one entire wall; the jumble of books was so dense that half the volumes were in danger ...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Connie G
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
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
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Read for my work Reading Club - not my cup of tea at all.

-As a Vegan I don't care to read the in-depth descriptions on all the cheese and meat in New York. Ugh.

-Not a fan of Billie. She was the "I am so plain and ordinary, there is nothing special about me" trope that gets on my last nerve. Get some balls girlfriend.

-The writing was choppy and awkward. I listened to this on Audible and even then it was still choppy.

Overall, this just is not my type of book - that doesn't mean you wont like it
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
While reading this book I just wanted to eat the whole time!
Aug 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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! ...more
Julie  Durnell
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was truly delicious! For her first foray into fiction I thought it quite wonderful on so many points. Not a cookbook by any means, but a mouthwatering descriptive foodie story of trips to the shops of downtown New York and tasty meals simply put together with friends. Not exactly historical fiction but the stately Timber mansion and it's lovely library containing letters exchanged between a girl and famous chef James Beard during WWII is great historical reading. A kind of love story b ...more
Book Concierge
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Digital audiobook performed by Julia Whelan
3.5*** rounded up

Adapted from the book jacket: Billie Breslin has left her California home for New York City and a job at Delicious!, an iconic food magazine. She feels like a fish out of water and writes long letters to her older sister, Genie. But she is welcomed by the colorful staff, and seduced by the vibrant food scene. In the magazine’s library Billie uncovers a secret cache of letters written during WW2. She feels a powerful connection to the gi
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
A completely delightful, charming and wonderful book - when you read it!! I started this one in audio and I'm sad to say it was quite awful?! Whelan attempted too many voice changes and her male voices were verging on comical (and absolutely annoying). As soon as I switched to the book it became a wonderful story! ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
**happy sigh**
Oh, I adored this book, but then it was pretty much designed for me. It features mouthwatering food, glorious flavors and pungent aromas that jump off the page, old letters, even a secret library!! Brilliant, even if it leans toward hokey at times. I found the characters completely absorbing and enormously entertaining. This is simply one of those books that you just want to live in for a while.
Penny McGill
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

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Her Favorite Fiction About Food: Prime your palate with these savory novels recommended by the food critic and memoirist whose fiction debut is...
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“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.” 13 likes
“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” 9 likes
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