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Behind the Recipes: Q&A With Ruth Reichl

Behind the Recipes: Q&A With Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Magazine's former Editor-in-Cheif

The Seattle Times

Ruth Reichl, former New York Times restaurant critic and current editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, is considered one of the most influential figures in the food world. Reichl, who has a large female fan base for her five best-selling memoirs, is promoting the new cookbook, “Gourmet Today: More than 1,000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen.”

Q: You write that the way we eat is different now. How are the supermarket aisles different?

A: We have a house in upper New York. And the supermarket there … there is an aisle (called) ‘Rices of the World’: Jasmine, basmati, Arborio, sushi. It goes on and on. They have about 30 kinds of rice. They have an entire section of Latino ingredients and all kind of Asian ingredients … You have five different kinds of chicken _ organic, free-range, hormone-free, et cetera. And you have grass-fed beef and Berkshire pork that has been humanely raised.

Q: What food trends do you see in restaurants?

A: The biggest is recession-driven. People do not want to spend the money that they used to spend. And chefs (are) looking at less-expensive cuts of meat … It’s no accident that the chic menu item is pork belly. That started out because it’s cheap. All of a sudden, people realize how delicious it is.

Q: What’s your favorite recipe in the cookbook?

A: It’s like asking which is your favorite child.

Q: What’s in your fridge?

A: I always have butter, bacon, Parmesan cheese, lemons, good soy sauce, oyster sauce. Two or three different salsas and hot sauces. I make chicken stock almost every weekend. Chicken stock is like gold in your freezer. If you got that, dinner is ready. You can make risotto. You can make great soups. You reduce it down, and you can make great sauces. It’s free. It’s just bones.

Q: So every foodie is going to want to know: Where will the Gourmet editor eat when she’s in town (Seattle)?

A: It’s hard for me to eat on book tours. So I end up ordering room service. In (public television’s upcoming) “Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth,” shot last May, I had some really wonderful meals there (in Seattle). Tilth. Canlis. And I love Cafe Acute; Juanita. I really like Lark.

Q: What’s the Seattle episode about?

A: It’s about seafood in Seattle and foraging at Totten Inlet. We got oysters and clams and mussels.

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