Steal the Menu: A Memoir of Forty Years in FoodBy Raymond Sokolov(Knopf, 242 pages, $25.95) LET US BEGIN with a happy ending. On the last page of his engaging and appetizing food memoir, author Raymond Sokolov sounds a note of culinary optimism. Having noted that 40 years ago there was “no first-rate American cheese, no radicchio, no world-class restaurant, no fresh foie gras, no Sichuan food and no top chef of native birth,” he concludes: At the beginning of my eighth decade, I take comfort from two great leaps forward in human life. As a passionate reader and writer, I exult in the scientific advances that have given me the computer and the Internet. As a physical creature chained to a wasting body, I look back with pride on the progress we have made in feeding ourselves and rejoice to think of the even better meals that lie ahead.
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