My Life in Food, by Steven Berkoff

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The Independent Culture

Someone with such a love of physical theatre as Steven Berkoff is bound to be regularly hungry, so it's unsurprising he's developed the passion for food described here. Unfortunately there's a peculiar quality to his prose that makes reading about it hard. Sentences that he perhaps hoped would read as urbane come across like the bumptious ruminations of a drunk – though the intoxicant in question seems to be his own, regal presence.

Here he is, dining out: "There are few experiences that one looks forward to with more unalloyed joy than tea on the exquisite black and white terrace at Reid's hotel, Madeira... your eyes soothed by a bay of everlasting blue under a slowly floating carapace of soft white gossamer clouds." In small doses this is entertaining, but can any reader be expected to deal with sentences such as: "He would plunge his naked arms into the pickle barrels and fish out a few for you and while they were undoubtedly delicious the proximity of his being in such close conjunction was a bit intimate"?

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