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Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  16,850 Ratings  ·  941 Reviews
In this delightful sequel to her bestseller Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl returns with more tales of love, life, and marvelous meals. Comfort Me with Apples picks up Reichl's story in 1978, when she puts down her chef's toque and embarks on a career as a restaurant critic. Her pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles, ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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“When I got on the plane, I didn’t really know why I was [going to Barcelona]. But I [did] now. I needed to find out that sometimes even your best is not good enough. And that in those times you have to give it everything you’ve got. And then move on.”

In reading Reichl’s culinary memoirs, I don’t know how I skipped over this one! This volume chronicles a momentous decade in her life that ultimately shaped her into the outstanding food writer and editor she is today. Reading her previous books
Rebecca Foster
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reichl traces the rise of American foodie culture in the 1970s–80s (Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck) through her time as a food critic for the Los Angeles Times, also weaving in personal history – from a Berkeley co-op with her first husband to a home in the California hills with her second after affairs and a sticky divorce. Throughout she describes meals in mouth-watering detail, like this Thai dish: “The hot-pink soup was dotted with lacy green leaves of cilantro, like little bursts of breeze ...more
By the time I was a quarter through this book I was freaking out (bet that is a Berkley term). I was telling myself, "Don't judge! Stop judging! Take a deep cleansing breath, another!" It only helped so much. I was definitely judging! By the time Ruth and Doug have their honest conversation I was furious. I had to keep telling myself, "This is Ruth's life not yours, Doug is not your husband so you don't have to kill him." I mean I was judging Ruth too, but man (another Berkleyism I'm sure) Doug ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Reichl, food critic and former editor of Gourmet magazine, is a fluid and engaging writer. Her stories about the early days of California Cuisine were interesting, as were the anecdotes involving people like Wolfgang Puck, Alice Waters, and the Aidells sausage guy before they became household names. But too much of the book is about her personal life, which at this phase involved living in a commune in Berkeley and pursuing several extra-marital affairs. Even if all her descriptions of meal ...more
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like memoirs and food
This followup to Reichl's first memoir, Tender At the Bone, is as lush as its predecessor, if a little sickening as a comforting marriage splinters, a self is reinvented, and a longed-for child is gained and lost.

Though she's well-known for writing about food, Ruth Reichl is just as adept at writing about the self, particularly when the self is caught in unfamiliar, transitional phases.

In the beginning of Comfort Me With Apples, Reichl finds herself embroiled in one extramarital affair after the
Sep 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I liked the real foodie parts of this book, but it pretty quickly devolved into the sort of memoir where I felt somewhat aghast for Ruth’s friends, family, former and current spouses, and lovers. Yikes!


It would have comforted me if she had stuck an apple in her mouth rather than telling me quite so much about her infidelities.


I don’t know why this is so…she just seemed so stupidly self-destructive at some points and yet constantly fell forward into better and better jobs. I reall
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks, memoir
I just could not get into this book--I have very little patience for people who want sympathy while living obviously self indulgent and absorbed lives.
Billie Criswell
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book picks up right where Tender At The Bone left off, which was a great comfort to me. I love nonfiction , but I am always left wondering what happened, and this satisfied my hunger for more "book." And there is no surprise why--Ruth Reichl is a great writer and I wanted more. In fact, after reading this book, I still want MORE!

I have found in my reading that second books by nonfiction authors tend to be more honest, morose, and therefore sad than the first books. This was no exception, b
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-clubs, cookbooks
When I picked up this book for book club (having not read the first), I never expected it to be as engaging as it was nor to have such a profound impact.

In the beginning, I was drawn in by the author's engaging writing and beautiful descriptions of the food she encounters. I also found myself captivated like someone watching a train wreck as she (view spoiler) It's so unlike my o
Meg Powers
I would be embarrassed to read this in a public place, but it's a mindless read and I have a hard time resisting descriptions of food. This is a good break-up book so far: all the romantic relationships Reichl describes crumble, and her writing is too cheesy for me to feel like she's a real person (see: Made From Scratch, the Sandra Lee memoirs), so it's pleasantly cathartic. Plus- recipes!
I shouldn't speak too soon, though. Maybe she'll meet some amazing guy she's still with in an inspirationa
Mary Timbes
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Comfort Me With Apples is a good, racy read--full of delicious stories from real life and a few actual recipes. Ruth Reichl, renowned food writer, has lived a full and adventurous life, not all of it soothing. This is the second memoir. I confess I didn't read the first but am somewhat familiar with Reichl as a food celebrity and was curious what she might reveal about her life. The book captured my interest and led me through some of the highs and lows of her life. I think it helps to have an i ...more
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, inspiring book, full of amazing descriptions of food (though some foods, like boiled brain, don't sound all that appetizing) along with recipes that are woven into this story. This book is an autobiographical account of the author's early life as a restaurant critic. I found it compelling, but perhaps mainly because I had already read her second volume of life in NYC. This book I read chronologically out of order, but had already fell in love with the author, so her descri ...more
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves food, and has a heart
I read this book on one part of a flight, and ended up in tears on the plane. Oh, she is such a beautiful writer, and just the type of writer that I love. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I kept reading sections to my foodie husband, and it was just a delight to, on top of that, read about berkeley and boonville and truckee... living in oakland, my husband cooked at the boonville hotel, and my parents live in tahoe.

Her love stories are so b
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies, those who like memoirs, or interested in the gourmet restaurant business
I really enjoy her writing style. Even when I have absolutely no interest in eating the food she is describing, she makes it sound so wonderful, so I can enjoy it vicariously through her Reading her book is like sitting down with a friend for drinks - great conversation, some laughs, some funny moments, and even a pearl of wisdom or two. A nice way to spend some time. A couple of the recipes looked like I might try them (like Danny Kaye's lemon pasta, yum!)
Hilary Hanselman
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book covers the beginning of Reichl's career as a food critic, but more than that it covers some of her affairs and the disintegration of her marriage. It was a bit cringey, and not enough about food for my taste, but still very readable.
Wendy Darling
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
More great writing, more great recipes...especially the one for baked swiss pumpkin! It's become an annual fall dish.
Madhulika Liddle
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
A constant theme through restaurant critic Ruth Reichl’s memoirs Comfort Me With Apples is of food and cooking being therapeutic: it helps her go through difficult times, both professional and personal. Chocolate cake for when she can't figure whether to stay with the husband she is still so deeply attached to, or move in with her lover. Crab cakes for when she can't decide if she should take up a new job or not. Mushroom soup to help her and her mother get over the death of Reichl’s father.

Marcia Rodney
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a treat to read, an escape into an appreciation of good writing, good food, good living, and good loving -- with heavy doses of not-so-good of the last on the side. Although it is truly hard to beat the sensuality of two food writers entwined in their craft and each other while immersed in an illicit affair in France. And having lived and cooked and explored the joys (and failures) of 1970s back-to-the-earth recipes in The Best Communal House in Philly, I really enjoyed hearing about he ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: chefs, foodies
I'm supposed to be reading this for book group, but I can't finish it. I don't know if its fair to write a review, since I haven't finished...but here I go anyway.
If I were stuck with Ruth Reichl at a party and I had to listen to her droning on and on about her boring life, my eyes would glaze over and I would try to get away from her as soon as possible. I don't care to hear about every course of *every* meal she has ever eaten! I certainly don't care about her affair. It *was* interesting to r
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read non-fiction, I sometimes am disappointed by how much is told about the author's personal life rather than about the topic I chose the book for (in this case, food). Yet in Ruth Reichl's life food plays such a big part, that you probably cannot write about one and not mention the other.
I have never met Ruth Reichl, but from what I've read (this and also Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise ) she seems extremely likable and nice. Therefore, I laughed and I crie
I didn't like this quite as much as Tender at the Bone or Garlic and Sapphires. There wasn't as much food description, and I wasn't as interested in the details of Reichl's personal life here as I was in her childhood (in TatB) or her restaurant reviewing and sociological observations (in GaS). Still, there's much food goodness, and I like how she conveys her sense of comfort in food and eating.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it

I really enjoy Ruth's writing style and her descriptions of food are amazing. I might not want to actually eat what she is eating but the way she herself enjoys the food and describes the experience almost makes me think that maybe I could try it someday. I did not enjoy this book as much as her first memoir, Tender at the Bone, simply because the subjects in this second memoir are more challenging. She discusses the death of her father, the extremely slow breakdown of her first marriage and
Ruth Reichl wrote a trio of memoirs. I read the first which was about her growing up years with her parents. Comfort Me With Apples is the second in this trio. This covers the period in her life, her marriage, beginning of her career, infidelities, divorce, remarriage, and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption of a little girl. Her writing style just draws you in and I found it really hard to put this book down. I felt she was very honest and didn't gloss over the things that put her in a bad ligh ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Look, this book is templated on multiple MFK Fisher books. Lots of cooking memoirs are: personal reminiscence, recipe, personal reminiscence, recipe. Could be that MFK is using someone else's template. I don't know. At any rate, the format is familiar, the stories pithy (Danny Kaye was a gourmet cook, she chronicals a couple of affairs--not with Danny Kaye), the recipes tempting. Did it change my soul? No. Did it challenge my preconceptions? No. Was it a good read? A good time was had by all.

May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I wish I hadn't read this book: I ended up not liking Ruth Reichl at all. I loved Tender at the Bone, so when I saw this book at Costco I bought it on impulse. I enjoyed maybe the first 1/3 or 1/2--after all, I lived on Channing Way in Berkeley in the 70s also--and the book was an easy read, but she just seemed to make bad and then worse decisions in her personal life, and then justify each one, and eventually I realized I reading it just to finish the dang thing. I might try some of the recipes ...more
May 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of three books about Ruth’s life. I loved this one as much as the other two. This was a fun book to read because it reminded me of life in the 70’s and the values that were being explored. Ruth lived in a commune where one roommate recycled EVERYTHING and everyone showed up on Sundays for her great cooking. As a young woman she is married and starting her career working at Alice Water’s restaurant and getting her first food review gig. The book is also filled with great recipe ...more
Sep 08, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yummies
Reichl writes so well about food, you can almost taste it. And when she sticks to her food stories, it's fascinating. The story of the disintegration of her marriage was sad and well written, but less interesting for me.

I loved her stories about MFK Fisher and Danny Kaye though.

I'm now reading Garlic and Sapphires, and loving it. Mostly because I'm really into the whole evolution of restaurant criticism. I first got into reading them as an art form about 8 years ago and there really is a differ
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is much more intimate than Tender at the Bone, and in a way, much less about food. Reichl's writing about her choices within relationships can be raw at times, and absolutely riveting. I admire the openness with which she wrote about her decisions, and the goodness it takes to be honest and real about choices that some might perceive to be bad. Her boldness and vulnerability are the same thing; it's what I like about her most.
This book made me really want to eat Chinese and Thai food! I love the way Ruth Reichl writes about food. Everything is an experience, and the setting and characters play just as important role as the food itself. I was a little disappointed by some of her personal decisions, but I certainly wouldn't pass any judgement. She has had a really interesting life, or at least does a great job of writing about it in an interesting way.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Love Reichl's writing. She was a former restaurant reviewer for the NY Times and former editor of the late Gourmet. Needless to say, she is a far more adventurous eater than I. This book is a lovely combination of memoir and food writing (one of my favorite combos). She is a great storyteller. This book should be read with Tender at the Bone, in my opinion.
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Read by Theme: Comfort Me with Apples - by Ruth Reichl 1 23 Jan 01, 2013 11:33AM  
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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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“I felt that I was really living in the moment. I did not know where my life was going, but right now the future did not trouble me.” 12 likes
“and he smiled when he saw me, as if just the sight of me had improved his day.” 7 likes
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