Ruth Reichl: Chef, Food Writer, Memoirist
Jun 6, 2017
A Conversation with Susan Scheftel, PhD
Chef and food writer Ruth Reichl’s acclaimed memoirs touch on her relationship with her brilliant, ambitious mother, a woman limited by both bipolar illness and pressure to conform with societal ideals of feminine domesticity. Raised in Greenwich Village, the young Ruth ventured through communes in Berkeley and the sexism of the restaurant world to become food critic for the New York Times, editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and winner of four James Beard awards. Her works in include Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, and My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. In her later memoir (Not Becoming My Mother, renamed For You, Mom. Finally!) Reichl delves into a trove of her mother’s letters and diaries to poignantly reconsider this complex woman from the vantage point of experience and maturity.
Columbia University psychoanalyst Susan Scheftel, Ph.D. explores such themes as the role of food in Reichl’s relationship with her mother, the sublimatory power of cooking and writing, and Reichl’s overdetermined and serendipitous career.