• Delicious!

  • A Novel
  • By: Ruth Reichl
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,259 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In her best-selling memoirs, Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts. 

Billie Breslin has travelled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is suddenly shut down, the colourful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: Staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee" - a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries - until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery. 

Delicious! carries the listener to the colourful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors. And from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky 12-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues - the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2014 Ruth Reichl (P)2014 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Ruth Reichl is] the culinary scene queen...the most influential food person in America today." ( National Post)
"Reading Ruth Reichl on food is almost as good as eating it...Reichl makes the reader feel present with her, sharing her experience." ( The Washington Post Book World)
"[Reichl] is fair-minded, brave, and a wonderful writer." ( The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Delicious!

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Love Reichl but her nonfiction is her strength

Would you consider the audio edition of Delicious! to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print edition. The narrator did a fantastic job though.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Many of the plotlines ended predictably, and were kind of too good to be true. The plotline with the sister seemed a little convoluted and the revelations seemed a little forced. I loved Lulu's plotline but the culmination also seemed a little unbelievable. There was so much potential in this story but I felt like it veered off in really strange ways a lot.

Which scene was your favorite?

Reichl is always at her best when describing food so any scene containing that was great (though once she had the characters boasting about how much they know about food it got kind of tiresome). The "Sal Test" was fun, and the whole section with the library and Lulu's letters were great. Interesting to learn about the treatment of Italians during the war.

Any additional comments?

Loved the character of Sammy. Surprisingly, I didn't find him over the top. I think that sort of affectation in an older gay man in NYC is totally on point and believable. Sal was good too, and Lulu. Billie got a little insufferable, her motives and reactions were often hard to understand. I wanted to like Mr. Complainer but once we got to see more of him he just came off like a snob. I know people like him in real life and I can't stand being around them. I love food and appreciate quality but he just seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't shut up about it. Billie's makeover was also eye-roll worthy. Seriously, is this a highschool movie? The heroine we're told over and over is plain and unattractive gets contacts, a haircut and some nice clothes and all of a sudden she's gorgeous? Come on. That is the laziest kind of character development.

A lot of the characters were just kind of hard to understand. Their reactions seemed either over the top, or not enough. A lot of things just were kind of dropped, and other things seemed rammed home to the point of disbelief (Sal's refusal to ever leave his store, Maggie's grudge-holding and meanness, etc).

Also, too much judginess about food and "the old ways were better" type of thing. I did enjoy this book, but I found my eyes rolling A LOT.

I expected better from Ruth, whose memoirs I ADORE, but I guess her strength isn't fiction.

6 people found this helpful

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Practically edible!

This is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time, I hated to see it end. The author brings her characters so alive that I almost believe I could go to New York and join them.

5 people found this helpful

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I really enjoyed this book. Really well read.

This book had it all. Heart rendering, with bitter sweet warmth and charm. Author incorporates her love of food and cooking into a sweet story.

This soul-searching story, includes, good friendships, romance, and the personal growth of the main character. Overall, if you looking for a relaxing good listen, you might really enjoy this book.

5 people found this helpful

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Julia Whelan's reading makes this book come alive.

Where does Delicious! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a great introduction to using Audible.

What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Absolutely. Her voice and voices for the characters were delightful.

5 people found this helpful

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Memoirs to novels: it works!!

Have read and loved everything you have written and this switch works. I loved that the girl had the genius palate.I know how rare that is. Descriptions of the spices, cheeses, and meals were wonderful. I am not one of those silly foodies, I love food, wine and conversation. And any good book about them. Thank you.

4 people found this helpful

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Love this every time!

If you’re a fan of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you’ll enjoy this book as discovered letters from the past add another dimension to this story of a young woman finding her way from her troubled past to her brave, new sense of being.

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely scrumptious!

This is a most charming, uplifting, and heart-warning story! Ms. Reichl has woven history, divine food, recipes, sleuthing, love, and real friendship into a a truly delightful tale that will make you want everyone around you to partake!

2 people found this helpful

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it was good!

it was an engaging read with imaginative characters you would want to meet. i loved the reading voice, well done.

2 people found this helpful

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A Great Read

I adored this book, just disappointed there is no follow-up for the characters I came to love. Mitchell, Sam, Billie, Jake, etc. All gone? I'm frankly disappointed that she just dropped them in favor of flavors. I do like the foods, but those will not hold us forever.

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absolutely wonderful! !

loved the story! loved the narrator! a book I'll listen to over and over again.

2 people found this helpful