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.

Pickled Purple Daikon

The day before I left for Australia, I found a beautiful purple daikon radish at the farmer’s market. I didn’t have time to eat it before I left. So I did the obvious thing: made it into pickles. For the first few hours, the radish’s incredible purple tie-die color lasted. But eventually it gave way to the pickling liquid, and...

Read more | 0 comments

Notes from Melbourne 2: Attica

Melbourne is food obsessed. To walk down the streets of this city is to encounter lines of people waiting - for coffee, for ice cream, to get into all the hot restaurants that take no reservations. Chinatown is packed with people, and if you want to eat well, just get into the longest line you see. It will be good,...

Read more | 1 comments

Notes from Melbourne 1

My first taste of Melbourne: a plate of oysters at the counter at Cumulus. Brinier than any American oyster, crisper too, each one like a little gulp of the ocean. Hello! Cumulus is a lovely introduction to the food of this city. Casual and friendly, it takes its food (and its wine) very seriously. The waitress will hunker down with...

Read more | 4 comments