Miami Book Fair: Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl comes to the Miami Book Fair International to plug a huge 1,000-plus recipe cookbook called Gourmet Today -- on the heels of the announcement that there would be no more Gourmet magazine tomorrow. That's sort of like Bernie Madoff going on a financial self-help book tour in the weeks after his Ponzi imploded. In other words, this will be one of the hottest events at the Fair.

Gourmet Today is not a retrospective of recipes culled from the publication's 68-year history, so it doesn't come across as some self-important swan song. Instead, this serious tome (meaning no photos) is steeped in the titular Today and stewed in new ingredients, techniques, and nutritional concerns. "I wrote my first cookbook in 1971," Reichl recalls, "and when I see the difference between what was available then and the food that now fills my supermarket, it makes me want to go dancing down the aisles."

Her years as The New York Times restaurant reviewer, followed by time spent so deftly steering Gourmet into the 21st Century, allow Ms. Reichl a uniquely informed perspective of the food world to share with her audience -- and as a speaker she tends to be unflinchingly honest. Unfortunately, she didn't agree to speak with us, so if you're anxious to query her over Gourmet's demise you'll have to do it yourself at the question-and-answer period following her appearance. (Sample: Do you ever lament that it was all your fault?)

Ruth Reichl reads from Gourmet Today tonight at 6pm in Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor, Chapman Auditorium, as part of the "Evenings With..." series. This event's free - no ticket required - so we suggest getting there early.

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