stealDetailed Autobiography of R. Sokolov




By Raymond Sokolov
Knopf, 242 pages, $25.95

If you are looking forward to a book of enjoyable food writing in Steal the Menu you will be as disappointed as I was. This is a complete autobiography of author R. Sokolov starting with his birth and continuing through the next forty years over two-hundred pages. His writing is not easily readable, as he describes his life and career as writer and food critique in fine details, involving many friends, acquaintances and colleagues and his associations with them. Sokolov describes the foods he has been eating both in France and America, particularly in New York. Some of this is interesting to read yet his writing style is not inviting us to be page-turners. In fact, most of it is tedious, colorless and lacking sparkle, text after text with frequent footnotes, occasional small black-and-white illustrations, both sketches and historic photos. He divides the book into an introduction and five chapters, roughly breaking up his autobiography according to the phases of his life and career. Because of the many fine details, it’s difficult to enjoy this memoir unless you are truly interested in his life. New Yorkers may get more out of this book than the rest of us.

Reviewed by George Erdosh

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