Steal the Menu by Raymond Sokolov
A Memoir of Forty Years in Food

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Mr. Sokolov has clearly had a good, big, varied life, but he doesn’t get it on paper. His editor might have taken a page from Rosenthal and said at some point while reading this manuscript, “This isn’t working out.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

Four decades of memories from a gastronome who witnessed the food revolution from the (well-provisioned) trenches—a delicious tour through contemporary food history.

When Raymond Sokolov became food editor of The New York Times in 1971, he began a long, memorable career as restaurant critic, food historian, and author. Here he traces the food scene he reported on in America and abroad, from his pathbreaking dispatches on nouvelle cuisine chefs like Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard in France to the rise of contemporary American food stars like Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz, and the fruitful collision of science and cooking in the kitchens of El Bulli in Spain, the Fat Duck outside London, and Copenhagen’s gnarly Noma.

Sokolov invites readers to join him as a privileged observer of the most transformative period in the history of cuisine with this personal narrative of the sensual education of an accidental gourmet. We dine out with him at temples of haute cuisine like New York’s Lutèce but also at a pioneering outpost of  Sichuan food in a gas station in New Jersey, at a raunchy Texas chili cookoff, and at a backwoods barbecue shack in Alabama, as well as at three-star restaurants from Paris to Las Vegas.

Steal the Menu is, above all, an entertaining and engaging account of a tumultuous period of globalizing food ideas and frontier-crossing ingredients that produced the unprecedentedly rich and diverse way of eating we enjoy today.

 

About Raymond Sokolov

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Raymond Sokolov ate his first meal in Detroit in 1941 and dined with tenacious curiosity in France as a correspondent for Newsweek. He went on to sustain himself writing about food at The New York Times and Natural History magazine, and, most recently, by covering restaurants worldwide for The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of The Saucier's Apprentice, the novel Native Intelligence, and a biography of A. J. Liebling, Wayward Reporter. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley.
 
Published May 14, 2013 by Vintage. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Cooking. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Steal the Menu
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on May 09 2013

Mr. Sokolov has clearly had a good, big, varied life, but he doesn’t get it on paper. His editor might have taken a page from Rosenthal and said at some point while reading this manuscript, “This isn’t working out.”

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 01 2013

Captivating and humorous, Sokolov’s inviting memoir joins the ranks of Ruth Reichl’s and Judith Jones’s elegant recollections of a life lived at table.

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Kirkus

Above average
on Feb 18 2013

Perhaps a bit too acidic for some tastes, but most foodies will find the book refreshingly different.

Read Full Review of Steal the Menu: A Memoir of F... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Penny Pleasance on May 11 2013

The world is now awash in food bloggers. Yet cut through all the noise and you will find someone like Raymond Sokolov whose food writing has been a constant and original voice for over 40 years.

Read Full Review of Steal the Menu: A Memoir of F... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for Steal the Menu
65%

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