When Gourmet magazine debuted in the 1940s, America’s wineries were still reeling from the lingering effects of Prohibition and the loss of wines from war-torn Europe. But for every closed door, there was an open bottle: The bleak postwar years were actually a prelude to today’s unprecedented and widespread appreciation for the grape. New York Times bestselling author Ruth Reichl reread sixty-five years of wine articles in Gourmet to select the best for History in a Glass. The result is a rollicking tale of great meals, great walks, and wonderful drinks as Americans discover the pleasures of wine.
These marvelous essays were written by men and women who were not only on hand to witness wine’s boom but, in many cases, helped to foster the environment that made it thrive. The early days after World War II provided a great opportunity for James Beard and Frank Schoonmaker to reacquaint oenophiles with the joys of European wines. Through tireless dispatches from the Continent, they inspired American vintners to produce world-class wines on their own rich soil.
In subsequent pieces, an impressive, surprisingly diverse roster of writers revel in the sensual and emotional pleasures of wine: the legendary Gerald Asher reflects on the many faces of Chianti; Hillaire Belloc dispenses bits of wisdom by the glass to his niece on her wedding day; the science fiction titan Ray Bradbury rhapsodizes about the earthy pleasures of dandelion wine; Kate Colman explores the moral quandary surrounding a friend’s unintentionally generous gift of a rare Bordeaux; Hugh Johnson reports on Hungarian varieties during the height of Cold War tensions in the early 1970s; even Gourmet’s current spirits editor, James Rodewald, reminisces on the first time he fell in love–with a bottle of Pinot Noir.
With an Introduction by Ruth Reichl, and covering more than six decades of epicurean delights, History in a Glass is an astonishing celebration of all things good and grape.
About the Author
Ruth Reichl joined Gourmet as Editor in Chief in April 1999. She came to the magazine from The New York Times, where she had been the restaurant critic since 1993. As chef and co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California. In the years that followed, she served as restaurant critic for New West and California magazines. In 1984, she became restaurant critic of the Los Angeles Times, where she was also named food editor. Reichl began writing about food in 1972, when she published a book called Mmmmm: A Feastiary. Since then, she has authored the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs, Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples. She is the editor of The Modern Library Cooking Series, released in March 2001. She has also written the introductions for Nancy Silverton s Breads from the La Brea Bakery: Recipes for the Connoisseur (1996) and Measure of Her Powers: An M.F.K. Fisher Reader (2000). She is currently working on Remembrance of Things Paris, The Gourmet Cookbook, and a third memoir. Reichl has been honored with three James Beard Awards (two for restaurant criticism, in 1996 and 1998, and one for journalism, in 1994) and with numerous awards from the Association of American Food Journalists. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan, and lives in New York City with her husband, Michael Singer, a television news producer, and their son.
Advance praise for History in a Glass
“A fascinating history of wine culture in America, with an eloquence that spans generations. It’s a great wine primer, and very entertaining. Crack open some claret, fry up some frogs’ legs, and drink in several lifetimes’ worth of wine wisdom.”
–David Lynch, co-author of Vino Italiano and Vino Italiano Buying Guide
“What better way to get an education in the world of wine than taking a stroll through time while reading commentary from Gourmet‘s most important contributors? Not only have many of these writers captured our attention for over forty years, but many of them have profoundly influenced our wine-drinking culture as well.”
–Daniel Johnnes, wine director, Montrachet
“The pages of Gourmet take us on a retrospective journey through America’s ever-evolving love of wine and its terroir; we are drawn to wine because it transcends our humanity, telling our story, exposing our desires, and giving us hope for great vintages to come.”
–Joseph Bastianich, wine director, Otto Enoteca
“A dazzling historical and literary tour of wine and the wine life by some of our wisest, most entertaining professionals. History in a Glass includes a treasure trove of great meals and great bottles. I read it through in one go.”
–Kermit Lynch, author of Adventures on the Wine Route and Inspiring Thirst