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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|Joan Drake

Creme de LA Coast--(Small World Guild: $17.35, 376 pp., illustrated).

"Creme de LA Coast" has been published by Small World Guild in a continuing effort to support Childrens Hospital of Orange County. The three-year effort by organization members has yielded not only a cookbook, but also a look at Southern California life styles.

Where else would menus be devoted to local events such as the Pageant of the Masters, Rose Parade and Festival of Lights Boat Parade? The influence of area ethnic groups is evident in Cinco de Mayo and Chinese New Year celebrations; concern over earthquakes has spawned a chapter on survival preparedness. Divided by seasons, the book also includes foods to enjoy while whale-watching in the spring, autumn tailgating or winter skiing.

Ingredients may not be in the exact order used, and there are a few errors (like the omission of page numbers), but that just seems to add to the book's charm. These are the tried-and-true recipes of the group's members--some familiar, but certainly enough others to justify the purchase, especially since proceeds go to an excellent cause.

Copies of the book are available for $17.35 (includes sales tax and shipping) from Small World Guild, Childrens Hospital of Orange County, P.O. Box 5700, Orange, Calif. 92613-5700.

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