Why Ruth Reichl Loves Round Tables, and Other Sound Bites from Dinner

September 24, 2015

The sound bites from our breakfast for dinner with Ruth Reichl.

Sit down to dinner with Ruth Reichl and she'll regale you with cooking knowledge, humor, honesty, and inspirational quotes you'll feel compelled to emblazon on a t-shirt or mug. That's exactly what happened when we had her over.

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Here are some of the highlights the editors scribbled down in between mouthfuls of breakfast (for dinner):

  • “I am not a sweets person. I get my sugar from wine.”

  • On Merrill’s squash recipe: “I’m very impressed that this is her idea of comfort food. There aren’t a lot of people who think of vegetables as comfort food.”

  • On Marcella sauce: “The smell of the butter and tomato with that little bit of onion is one of the most comforting smells in the world.” (We agree.) 

  • “The first time I met Marcella, I said to her, ‘I really love that tomato recipe of yours’ and she went ‘the one with the hun-yon?’ So now in our house we call them ‘hun-yons.’”

  • On whether she likes cooking alone or with people: “I like cooking. I like anything you can do in the kitchen, even doing the dishes.”

  • “Cooking alone is like a meditation.”

  • On learning to write as a kid: “Everyone was expected to come to the table with a story about something that had happened that day. I feel like I learned to write being at the dinner table. First of all, you learn what the interesting story is. Then, what’s the lede—how do I present this story?”

  • “Cooking and writing for me are very complementary tasks. Writing is so hard and it takes so long, and the rewards are so far down the road, and you’re alone. With cooking, you cook for other people, the rewards are instant—you spend a couple of hours in the kitchen and then you have this fabulous meal that you then give to people. It’s really great, when you’re writing, to have the cooking to go to.

  • On round tables: “There’s something wonderful and embracing about that shape…it’s what your arms do when you hug someone!"

  • The most genius recipe is not a recipe; it’s a baked potato. My ideal topping: just butter.”

Photos by Hannah Wilken

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.

1 Comment

Cheri M. September 25, 2015
I think I will steal that idea about the round table, I have always loved them, now I know why, "it is what you do when you hug someone"