Sunday, June 24, 2018

Ruth Riechl's Roasted Rhubarb #CooktheBooks

Let me start off by saying that I LOVED the selection for this round of Cook the Books.  Our host this month, Claudia of Honey From Rock, chose Ruth Reichl's, Garlic and Sapphires.

This is a fun and entertaining story that I think you will love whether or not you are a foodie.
Ruth Reichl is best known for her time as editor for Gourmet magazine but prior to that she was a food critic for the New York Times.

I must confess that the first time I heard about Ruth Reichl was in 2015 when the selection for Cook the Books was her "Comfort Me with Apples".  I LOVED that book as well it inspired me to make what turned into one of my favorite "go to" recipes, Basil and Lemon Pasta.

Needless to say, I was extremely excited when another of her memoirs was chosen this time.  

Did I love it as much as the previous mentioned memoir?  I daresay, I loved it even more.  This is a laugh out loud, very interesting picture of what life is like to be a restaurant critic.  It had never occurred to me that if you were a restaurant critic you needed to be able to dine in restaurants without being recognized.  Otherwise, you will only know the service and food you are given as a celebrity instead of a normal joe, like you and me.  

Unless you are a celebrity and have chosen my little obscure blog to read today,  Should that be the case, please accept my apologies and stress that it is even more important that you read this memoir because you have no idea that your favorite restaurant may be a terrible experience for a common folk like me.

The pains that Reichl goes through to become different personas is hilarious.  The disparity in treatment of these personas is disturbing.  The insight that Reichl finds into her own personality when portraying these personas is very interesting.  And the relationships forged and nurtured throughout her years as a food critic for the New York Times is tender and touching.

Of course, there was tons of food inspiration throughout this entire memoir.  In the end, I chose a very simple recipe of Reichl's that she shared near the end of her story.  Ruth Reichl was at a crossroads in her life.  She no longer felt fulfilled as a food critic and didn't believe she had anything more to offer her readers.  Like me, Ruth Reichl's best soul searching came during the time she spent in the kitchen, cooking for those she loved.  She created a homey, comforting meal of Roast Chicken with all the sides. 

One of these sides was Roasted Rhubarb.  I happened to have some rhubarb left in the refrigerator from the Eat the World challenge where I shared Rubarberpaj when we virtually visited Sweden.

It doesn't get much easier than this.  Two ingredients and a half an hour in the oven.  Luckily I have an outdoor oven because it has been H O T, hot here in Michigan.

Note to my fellow bloggers.  DO NOT use an orange baking dish when cooking rhubarb.  The photos turn out like this and it is extremely embarrassing.  You would think that after nearly 5 years of food blogging I would start to get a clue!!

This was a perfect way for me to use that remaining rhubarb.  I used it, warm from the oven, as a topping for ice cream.  It was a wonderful summertime treat.

This round of Cook the Books lasts until the end of July.  You have a lot of time to get this memoir and join in the fun.  The book is so good that you won't want to put it down so it reads quickly.  I would love to see what you are inspired to create.

Have you read any of Reichl's books?  Which was your favorite?

I will be sharing this recipe and review over at FoodiesRead.  Stop by and see what the other Foodies are reading this month.

#cookthebooks, #bookreview, #rhubarb, #desserts,
rhubarb, fruit, dessert, roasting
Yield: 2Pin it

Roasted Rhubarb

Fresh from the garden, tangy rhubarb is tossed with sugar and roasted in a hot oven until tender and caramelized. This is a wonderful topping for ice cream.
prep time: 5 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 35 mins


3 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1" dice.
1/3 c. sugar


Toss together the rhubarb and sugar in a baking dish.  Roast in a preheated 400* oven for 25-30 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender and caramelized.


This recipe adapted from Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. That rhubarb looks delicious. I really enjoyed this book too and am looking forward to reading her childhood memoir.

  2. Reichl's memoirs all entertained and enlightened me, and I shared most of your reactions. I think I read them one at a time as they were published a few years ago. Her time in college in Ann Arbor and at Berkeley were both very delightful to read. She came to Ann Arbor a couple of times to promote the books and to publicize a TV series that had something to do with Gourmet when she was the editor.

    best... mae at

    1. Yes, I enjoyed the fact that Comfort Me with Apples was written about her time living here in Michigan. I am looking forward to reading more of her story.

  3. So glad you enjoyed the book. It's often difficult picking something everyone will like. Your rhubarb looks delicious, though it's not something we usually get here in Hawaii, so I often sub in guava.

    1. Guava would be a good substitute. I always enjoy this group, even if I don't enjoy the chosen book. I am happy to have incentive to expand my horizons, otherwise I get stuck in a reading rut.

  4. I just started re-reading this selection yesterday afternoon. It had been so long ago that I forgot how hilarious it was. (And perplexing, especially as she experienced food service through Betty's eyes.) Great post! I recommend ALL her books!

    1. I really enjoyed it, Debra and was glad it was this round's selection.

  5. I was so curious about this recipe, because I've never cooked with rhubarb. I'll definitely be on the lookout for it next time it's available!

  6. I do have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Reichl's descriptions of getting into character for the food critic forays... they are hilarious and in some cases touching. Rhubarb is one of my fave spring delights, so will refer to this next year when it comes in season again

  7. I also considered doing a recipe with rhubarb: I have a kind neighbor who keeps a plant going mostly for me and I just have to go to his garden and harvested it. I have never roasted it though, so will need to go back to this idea later. Thanks!

    1. Don't thank me Simona, thank's a delicious idea.


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