Perhaps you don’t feel sorry for Ruth Reichl. Yes, Gourmet magazine’s former editor was left jobless after Condé Nast abruptly shut the magazine down in 2007. Yet as many Americans were losing everything during that time, Reichl got a generous a severance package, was in good health, and had residences in New York City and in the upstate New York hamlet of Spencertown.
Indeed, her long career in the food world was glorious by any standard: multiply-awarded, well-compensated and highly recognized. But suddenly, all that seemed to be over.
A stunned Reichl retreated to the kitchen, jotting down what became My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. A memoir, journal, and cookbook chronicling the year after Gourmet’s shutdown, the book is a heartfelt account of losing one’s life work, of mourning a magazine with a 69-year history, of picking up the pieces at age 61.