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For the Kitchen Bookshelf : Cookbooks. Big books, little books, showy cocktail table books . . . all arrive in time for holiday shopping each year. The Times' Food staff took a look at some of this year's offerings, many of which will make excellent gift choices for last-minute shoppers. Here's a rundown on some we found interesting.

December 21, 1986|TONI TIPTON

Non-Chew Cookbook by Randy Wilson (Wilson: $14.95, softcover, 195 pp.).

Sound like a gimmick? It isn't. There are nearly 40 million people in this country who have a chewing disorder, and this book is receiving accolades for coming to their rescue.

It is the first cookbook ever accepted to exhibit at the oral surgeons convention, according to author Randy Wilson. Most recently it was spotlighted at the American Diabetic Assn.'s Las Vegas convention.

At first glance, a cookbook full of recipes designed for people who can't chew seems to be an attempt to capitalize on the misfortune of others. But this endeavor was the byproduct of an exhaustive search by Wilson, who had been seeking recipes his wife Bobbie could enjoy after enduring painful jaw surgery.

He accumulated a few ideas by adapting foods prepared for the entire family because, as he said, "When somebody is recovering from an accident or disease they have a tendency to eat mashed potatoes, Jell-O, baby food and lots of ice cream." Diets of this type are usually nutritionally deficient and don't contribute very highly to the morale of the patient.

Wilson worked with the head of the food sciences and human nutrition at Colorado State University on the book. They have received endorsements from dentists and dietitians throughout that state.

What is particularly encouraging about the book is the recipes. They make surprisingly good dishes, not just pureed overcooked vegetables and soups. We tried the baked chiles rellenos , which was given a nod by our tasters. The book offers a selection of main dishes, vegetables and desserts, and, of course, beverages and soups are included, too. We didn't care much for the chocolate bread pudding, a combination of melted unsweetened chocolate, honey and bread crumbs topped with meringue. But baked fruit compotes and custards did sound promising.

Overall, this is an excellent gift suggestion for patients with chewing disorders or for the elderly. It is available at B. Dalton Booksellers as well as through mail order. Write to Randy Wilson, Wilson Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 2190, Glenwood Springs, Colo., 81602.

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