10 Questions with Food Writer Ruth Reichl

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10 Questions with Food Writer Ruth Reichl
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10 Questions with Food Writer Ruth Reichl

Read on to learn more about Ruth Reichl, including the food she still hasn't mastered.

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Q: What made you want to dive into fiction?
A: I am addicted to fiction. It’s the thing I love best. I could do without almost anything. If I never got to buy another piece of clothing, it would be fine with me...But if you told me I couldn’t read another novel, I would tell you, "Okay, it’s time to check out." I always said that I would try to write a novel at some point in my life. Then the point just came. I started working on it, and it was really hard finding this main character. But once I found Billie...I just fell in love with her, and sort of woke up every morning thinking, "What’s going to happen to Billie today?"

​Image Credit: Getty Images

Q: Do you see yourself writing forever?
A: I do. I’ve always written. I was a journalist, and then I sort of made this leap into fiction—and I can’t imagine ever not wanting to be [involved] in a book.

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Q: Is there one stand-out thing you've learned in your career?
A: The process of being alive is learning. If you’re not learning every day, there’s something wrong with you. I would say that at every point in my life, everything I’ve done has taught me something. In many ways, working at Gilt Taste is very much what led me into my character Billie. I was working around these amazing young people who were so different from my generation. I admired these women so much, and it sort of infused the character of Billie...[They're] really passionate, really open to learning, hard working, and [have] an ability to take things that would be setbacks—they take lemons and make them into lemonade. [They say], "Oh we don’t have money to hire a photographer anymore? I’ll go out and take a photography course. What an opportunity. I can be our photographer." So, learning is just what life is.

Image Credit: Gino DePinto / AOL

Q: Is there anything your fans still don't know about you?
A: Probably that I’m miserable if I don’t have a cat in my life. I am miserable at the moment, because my wonderful 20-year-old Stella just died...I had two [cats]. Hailey died a couple years ago. Stella was so reveling in being an only cat. She really loved it that we didn’t get another. As soon as I get off book tour, we will get two more cats.

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Q: What's your go-to meal when you're short on time?
A: Spaghetti carbonara. I always have dry spaghetti, Parmesan cheese, bacon and eggs. Always.

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Q: Any other foods you always have stocked?
A: There are many. I always have butter, lemon and eggs—and homemade chicken stock in my freezer.

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Q: Is there a question you get asked most from home cooks?
A: The question everybody asks is how do I manage quick meals and how do I manage to feed my family? And my answer to that is planning. Figuring out what you’re going to cook is the hardest thing.

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Q: What's your favorite food trend?
A: I really love the fact that Middle Eastern flavors are starting to come into the American palate. It’s pretty new...but you look at what’s going on in food today, and there’s a new flavor palate which I love.

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Q: Is there one food you still haven't mastered?
A: Puff pastry still eludes me. Probably because every time I think about making it, it looks like so much work I don't do it. Also, you can buy such good frozen puff pastry. It's like, why would I bother?

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Q: Is there anything you want to do that you haven't done yet?
A: At this point in my life, it’s all about being a mentor, helping the next generation, passing it on.

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Ruth Reichl is an award-winning food writer and famed former restaurant critic. She's written best-selling memoirs and was the last editor-in-chief of the now shuttered Gourmet magazine. Now, she adds fiction writer to that list. She releases her debut novel, Delicious!, this month.

We sat down with Ruth to ask her a few questions about her recent leap into fiction, the food items she always has stocked in her kitchen and the one question home cooks ask her most frequently.

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about Ruth Reichl.

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