This absorbing memoir by a former NY Times restaurant critic gave me some great background on Reichl's life before she became a famous food writer (those experiences were chronicled in her equally fascinating book Garlic and Sapphires). Reichl starts the book off with a highly memorable part of her childhood, reminiscing quite graphically about her mother's complete lack of cooking skills and inability to grasp basic concepts of safe food storage. This hilarious beginning sucked me in, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Reichl's early mentors in cooking, her experiences learning how to cook and appreciate fine food and wine, and her description of life in a 1970s Berkeley commune. Reichl's strength is her ability to describe scenes, people, and of course, meals in a way that is so vivid that I feel like I'm right there with her.
The book ends on a hopeful note as Reichl is introduced to some famous names in the world of food and I got the sense of great things in her future. I am looking forward to reading the continuation of her memoirs, Comfort me with Apples.