Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard... MORE

Get Ruth’s Words in your inbox. Sign up for the e-newsletter here.

Remember Pousse Cafes?

I certainly do. When I was a cocktail waitress, conventioneers loved to come into the lounge I worked in and order pousse cafes all around. This was a nightmare for the bartender, who had to make the things - but more of a nightmare for the waitress, who had to carry them, very carefully, across the dining room, with a...

Read more | 0 comments

Vintage Dal, Lasagna and a Great Old Grill

It's September 1960, and Gourmet has a very good piece about growing up in South America - complete with recipes for empanadas that sound very good. But that recipe also has a "Chilean paella" - pictured on the cover - which is kind of a mess of a recipe. All you need to see are those canned olive-embellished artichoke hearts...

Read more | 0 comments

Very Likable Lamb

Romney Sheep Went into The Meat Market in Great Barrington the other day, in search of inspiration, and spied a very lean-looking leg of lamb. "It's a Romney," said the butcher. "We don't get them very often." "What's different about that breed?" I wondered. Sheep, he explained, are divided into two categories: wool sheep and meat sheep. Romney, apparently, are...

Read more | 2 comments