Ruminating with Ruth

If you're a chef in New York, you know Ruth Reichl.

This week I had a chance to attend a lecture at Columbia University given by Ruth - the editor of Gourmet, former New York Times restaurant critic and a best-selling author.

As a culinary student and fan of Ruth, I was eager to soak in all her words.

She started off by going through her day, which included: writing about holiday cookie recipes, meeting with her publisher to address declining ad revenues (a problem almost all magazines face today), working on television programs, tasting a Tuscan soup with squid, incorporating Twitter into her daily routine and finding time to cook for herself.

When Ruth speaks, it's clear that she's a great story teller. And when she took questions from the audience, she was candid.

One person asked about the popularity of celebrity chefs. Although they are inevitably a part of the restaurant world, Ruth said she hasn't cared for that rise. She actually believes that may change in the future as artisan butchers, cheese makers, bakers and brewers gain popularity.

The lecture also touched on an issue brewing amongst the food blogs: What can the Obama administration do for the food movement toward more organic and locally-based eating?

Recently there was a push from Ruth and chefs, like Alice Waters, who wrote to the White House about installing a chef who would push for such an agenda.

Her message was that food is intertwined with politics - "politics of the plate" if you will.

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