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My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,252 ratings  ·  704 reviews

In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmet magazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Random House
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
The subtitle to My Kitchen Year, Ruth Reichl’s memoir-cookbook hybrid is “136 Recipes That Saved My Life.” Saved her life? Wow. What had happened to have so dramatically affected her life that it needed “saving?” you might ask. I know I did, and I purchased it using one of those precious book gift cards that comes along every now and then when good fortune smiles. I’m apt to hoard those cards, saving them for something that has staying power: a cookbook, an art book, historical non-fiction…a Led ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2016
I don't usually rate cookbooks on Goodreads, but this is a more than a standard cookbook. It's an interesting pairing of personal diary with recipes that mark milestones in the diary.

I am a foodie and a cookbook fanatic. I read and collect cookbooks like novels - one of my happiest pastimes is curling up with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and purusing stacks of cookbooks or old Bon Appetit/Gourmet magazines (I have a collection that goes back to the 80's). I especially love cookbooks that h
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, memoirs
I just adored this foodie memoir and have been raving about it to friends for days.

Ruth Reichl was the editor in chief of Gourmet when Condé Nast abruptly shut it down in fall 2009. Stunned and saddened by the loss of the beloved magazine and not sure what to do about her career, Reichl returned to an old comfort: cooking.

"I was sixty-one years old, and I wasn't sure I'd ever get another job. I had no idea what to do with the rest of my life and no notion how we'd pay the bills. And so I did wha
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chris by: Michael
There are precious few food writers today that I would follow to the ends of the earth; Amanda Hesser is one, and Ruth Reichl is the other. I don’t re-read, but looking at her list of books through the past 20 years or so I realized I have re-read at least two of them. She’s just that good. Anything she writes will make you want to get in the kitchen and cook and this book is no exception.

In 2009, Reichl, and the rest of the country, was shocked when “Gourmet” magazine, the oldest cooking publi
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Oh, Ruth, at least you didn't talk about your mother. But you did wallow in self pity. And you did write a recipe for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches--that includes the word "sexy" nonetheless. Oh, and the tweets. Sigh. ...more
Judith E
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction
This is a perfectly entertaining escape when life doesn’t allow you to deep dive read.

Ruth Reichl shares recipes that have given her peace and comfort during a particularly stressful time. She ‘savors’ every moment and movement during food preparation. She is not overly precise and encourages experimentation in her recipes with instructions to ‘slick a pan with oil’, ‘film it with peanut oil until it shimmers’ or ‘ pour a glug of olive oil’.

Anyone that loves wax paper and a perfect peach deser
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When Gourmet Magazine closed without warning, Ruth Reichl was dumped into a world without a direction. The first year after Gourmet was a tough one, but cooking helped her keep her sanity and process the emotions. This is really a cookbook with a framed narrative, including Tweets she made during the time (@ruthreichl). Because of her respect for ingredients and since practically everything in the book is comfort food, many of the recipes sound appealing.

I listened to the audio, which felt a bit
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: foodie-reads
Once I find an author I love, I read absolutely everything she/he has written. Such was the case when I discovered Barbara Kingsolver in the early 90s. (Animal Dreams still remains one of my favorites). After I heard David Sedaris on "This American Life," I had to read everything he ever wrote (and I've seen him in person twice). Then there's Bourdain (who I also shelled out big bucks to meet). I would so run away with him if the chance ever presented itself.

I fully admit that I have a stalker l
Slightly depressing (will she ever work again after finding herself unemployed at age 61?). Something of a bragfest (of course she will, she's world famous editor in chief of Gourmet mag, and author Ruth Reichl), but I won't hold that against her since she wrote it as a diary not for publication. Very quick read as there are recipes and gorgeous pictures with very little text. I probably won't make any of the suggested recipes as my tastes are simpler (no oysters, duck, matzoh, or puntarelle in ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you sometimes like to cook (but not always), if you like a variety of delicious foods, and if you are often tantalized by the beauty and fragrances of food as much as the flavors, then make friends w Ruth Reichl and her new book. With any luck the friendship will last for years!
Ruth Reichl has been writing about food almost as long as I've been enjoying food. The passion for food runs deep to the bone both in preparing it and sharing it w friends and family and in ever exploring and learning
Author Annabelle Leigha
I was drooling through the entire thing! I'm so glad there was a PDF of all of the recipes. I'm going to be busy. I also loved the stories. I learned of Ruth through Top Chef on Bravo, I believe. I had no idea of her history in the culinary world. I'm glad I listened! ...more
This is an open book of how “twitter and cooking saved her life” the year following the closing of Gourmet magazine.

In her writing, you can sense the loss felt on the shuttering of Gourmet, more so as it happened on her watch. There is also the loss of belonging – losing your Times Square office; deciding where to live; questioning what could you have done differently.

“I’d been dreaming that I was being chased across a field by an angry army of produce.”

As she shares snippets of her diary entrie
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Devoted cooks/foodies who like to read
Shelves: memoirs, cooking
Although my feelings about Ruth Reichl's books have been somewhat mixed since her first memoir, Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, I will say that this book actually had a lot to recommend it. It's kind of halfway between a cookbook and a memoir, with some touching sections about Ruth's emotional struggles after the abrupt termination of "Gourmet" Magazine and her editorship and how cooking, and eventually turning her cooking experiences into this cookbook, comforted her. Ruth writes p ...more
Laurie Garrison
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Sometimes you have to overlook the bad in order to find the good in something.

I would have given this book a higher rating, but the book itself is the size of a large hardcover novel so, you physically have to manhandle the book to keep it open while you’re trying to follow the recipes. The photos are very lacking too, they most defiantly won’t make you want to jump up and start cooking. Then there is the story of self-pity in which I didn’t much care for so, I quit reading it after a few chapte
reading is my hustle
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
wonderful comfort read that is part memoir & part cookbook.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. Ruth Reichl is an amazing writer. This book was beautifully written and I could feel her passion for food and her many emotions in her writing. I expected her recipes to be too expensive to try. But to my surprise, they weren't all expensive dishes. I felt like the author did a great job of including expensive and inexpensive recipes, easy and hard recipes, and recipes from around the world. This was a very impressive book.

So if I loved it so much, why did I o
Robin Kempf
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I would have put this down if not for the challenge from BookRiot to read a food memoir. I would have given this one star, but I will give it two because there were 10-12 recipes that sounded interesting. Still, I am not motivated to copy them on principle. The faux poetry/tweets that start every section: irritating. The writing style: too smarmy. Even the recipes were written in a folksy style, which put me off. The substance: barely there. Two paragraphs on average per recipe. The story of her ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I loved this book. It was like having a warm shawl wrapped around my shoulders. It was the format that did it for me.

Divided into seasons, the timeline of the book started immediately after Gourmet Magazine was abruptly cancelled. Reeling with shock, Ruth Reichl retreated to her country home to lick her wounds. A brutal winter ensued, and she found the most comfort in the kitchen. Thus followed a year of recipes, following the old adage of fresh and seasonal. None of the recipes are impossi
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: wine-and-food
after 10 years being boss of 'gourmet' magazine, author is fired, magazine is shut down (after about 80 year run?) and reichel is a bit of a loss about what to do next. she was in her early 60's, a stable family, an apartment in nyc and a country house up river in the north. she cooked her way out of sadness and depression from the shock of shock capitalism. and this book is a lite tale of her 'year' figuring stuff out, and cooking some good stuff. heavy on flour, pork, butter, but also has lots ...more
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Three stars for her writing style (which I love!) and the recipes. The cookbook/memoir style of this particular book was way too choppy. As soon as I'd settle in to the memoir portion, oh here's another (usually quite accessible and really delicious-sounding) recipe.

Then there's the fact that she's depressed. Hard to read her wallow in self-pity with such problems as having to choose whether to give up ONE of her homes. When you're talking about how much you love the Gourmet staff, you HAVE to
I just finished reading Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir and loved Ruth Reichl's writing so much that I immediately downloaded another one of her cookbooks/memoirs. I thought it would be weird listening to a cookbook, but the recipes are mostly about techniques, and open to creativity. It made me very hungry and thinking about all the recipes I want to make. The memoir parts were great as well, and she does mention working at Gourmet, but was mostly about her life after the magazine closed d ...more
Mona Nomura
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Reichl fan and devour anything she writes. I am also an avid cook. This one, is more a cookbook than a memoir. The recipes are extremely accessible and reminiscent of an Ina Garten type cookbook. Those looking for a 'Garlic and Sapphires' type read will probably be disappointed. I loved this book and all the recipes for what it's worth. Her pain while Gourmet was closing was woven through in short spurts in the usual Reichl-esque elegant style. ...more
Jim Beatty
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The turkey can be dry, the stuffing wet, the mashed potatoes filled with lumps; but as long as the gravy holds out, none of that matters.
This is a great companion book to Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir, which is Ruth Reichl's memoir of her years at Gourmet magazine. After the magazine closed and Ruth had no idea what to do next, she turned to her love of food, family, writing and cooking. She tweeted out her thoughts about food and cooking to her fan base as she faced the fall and winter in her home in rural Hudson Valley, NY. Gradually, she realized that a cookbook was forming. At the end of four seasons, her book was com ...more
Sarah Nealy
I liked how the reader was the author, it made it very personal. I mean it was a memoir so it would of been weird if someone else read it. However it was not a solid memoir, it was more of a cookbook with snippets of her life, so I felt like it was a bit jumpy. I loved all the different recipes, and I learned a lot of different tricks and tips, so I'm exited to try them. I lost some interest at the end though, I felt like the bits about her was not interesting anymore. Overall though I liked hea ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
When Gourmet magazine folded, Ruth Reichl had been editor in chief for ten years. She was lost. She felt as if the magazine had survived for almost seventy years, and folded on her watch. After she finished her book tour duties for the company, she and her husband retreated to their home in the country. And, that's where she rediscovered the joy that resulted in My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life.

Reichl spent years working in restaurants, reviewing restaurants, writing about food. N
Oct 09, 2015 added it
Shelves: cookbooks, 2015
Very, very basic recipes…almost "arrangements of ingredients." That's not necessarily a bad thing…I love Ruth Reichl's other books, and I mostly enjoyed the recipes as experiences and not because of their technical merits (although I feel like it's worth mentioning that the narrative in books like Garlic & Sapphires is Ruth tackling more complicated cuisines in an attempt to understand cooking on a more technical level, whereas this is "comforting" food eaten during a difficult year, and usually ...more
In September 2009, Gourmet magazine suddenly closed up shop. Ruth Reichl, the final Gourmet editor, was taken totally by surprise, and was devasted. This book, a combination cookbook and diary/memoir, recounts the year following Gourmet's closure, and Reichl's journey to acceptance of this major change in her life.

I loved this book! I'm not sure how many of the recipes will end up being prepared in my kitchen—the Italian Plum Torte is a definite candidate—but the combination of the stories surro
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
She takes what could be a depressing story – older woman out of work, increasingly irrelevant in a technological world – and triumphs in My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. Read my review here ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ruth Reichl's writing is just gorgeous, silky, sumptuous. The only problem with sitting down with one of her books (I can literally read them cover to cover like a novel), is that you will absolutely have to punctuate that reading time by jumping up a time or two to try one of her recipes. Delicious! ...more
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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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