My Kitchen Year

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 one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things.

The 136 recipes collected here represent a life’s passion for food: a blistering ma po tofu that shakes Reichl out of the blues; a decadent grilled cheese sandwich that accompanies a rare sighting in the woods around her home; a rhubarb sundae that signals the arrival of spring. Here, too, is Reichl’s enlivening dialogue with her Twitter followers, who become her culinary supporters and lively confidants.

Part cookbook, part memoir, part paean to the household gods, My Kitchen Year may be Ruth Reichl’s most stirring book yet—one that reveals a refreshingly vulnerable side of the world's most famous food editor as she shares treasured recipes to be returned to again and again and again.

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My Kitchen Year Reviews

  • Susan
    Oct 5, 2016


    There is no author that I know of that can write about food like Ruth Reichl. Period. The book opens as Reichl is informed that Gourmet magazine is being shut down by its parent company, Conde Nast. There was no warning that this was about to happen and Reichl is devastated. “I di...

  • Donna Azure
    Sep 20, 2016

    Donna Azure

    Wonderful!! She is a marvelous food writer and understands how to use fresh basic ingredients to make wonderful dishes using simple but important techniques! An intriguing story of how interacting with food & her cooking skills helped her to move on in the face of discouragement. ...

  • Laura
    Sep 11, 2016


    Great recipes in here, as well as a few I will definitely never try (lobster claws?). There is a nice mix of Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, meat dishes, breakfasts, vegetables, and desserts that look fairly simple. Beautiful images, maybe a little bulky. The depiction of hardships during he...

  • Dianne
    Aug 21, 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 pas...

  • Terry
    May 7, 2016


    I am glad I read this book. I'm a HUGE fan of her first two books (Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table and Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table). I have to admit after all the other heavy reads I've been reading for the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, this felt ...

  • Renata
    May 4, 2016


    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! Rut...

  • Laurie Garrison
    Mar 20, 2016

    Laurie Garrison

    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 re...

  • Joanne
    Feb 27, 2016


    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 c...

  • Robin Kempf
    Feb 23, 2016

    Robin Kempf

    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 ...

  • Chris
    Feb 15, 2016


    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 ...