This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I have only just discovered Ruth Reichl. I know, right? Where have I been? Ruth is a chef, a former restaurant critic, and the last editor-in-chief of the now closed Gourmet magazine to name but a few. She has written some brilliant, mouth-watering memoirs. Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires. I just cannot get enough of her writing. Her writing about food includes such vivid descriptions; taste, smell, as well as how the food looks, with none of this pretentiousness you can get from food writers. They're just sublime.
And now she has written a novel. Delicious! is just like her memoirs. Full of food. Full of taste. Full of mouth-watering experiences. And with a mystery to solve.
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Billie is applying for a job at Delicious! magazine. She has a great ability to detect flavours but just refuses to get into the kitchen (Billie, we find out, has A Past). Except, during her job interview, the editor of the magazine asks her to cook for him. She freezes. But it's a sign of how much she wants the job when she recreates the gingerbread she made with her Aunt Melba some eleven years previously. So, with a white face and panic settling over her body, she makes the cake.
And everybody at the magazine loves it. Including the editor.
I think I understand why Ruth Reichl made the gingerbread the cake of the novel. As soon as I opened my jars of cloves, cardamon and cinnamon and grated the fresh ginger and orange peel I couldn't help but sniff the scents. They hit you, bam! in the face. As the mixture came together in the kitchenaid I pressed my face as close as I dared, without losing my nose, and inhaled the wonderful aroma drifting out. Then, once the cake was baked and out the oven, I became addicted to the smell. Oh my goodness, seriously. It is divine. As I write this, I keep going back to the cooling cake, which is waiting for me to glaze with the orange icing, and I take deep lungfuls of the aroma. It is perhaps one of the most delicious smelling cakes I've made. It smells of happy times, of family and of christmas cooking (the best and most rewarding kind).
You can find the recipe here. But, even better, read the book, which includes the recipe inside. And eat whilst reading. It really is Delicious!.