Whether you're buying gifts for a culinary novice or an expert, an ideal present is as close as the nearest bookstore. The Times' Food staff looked at a sampling of the cookbooks released in time for this holiday season and offers the following reviews to assist last-minute shoppers. Some of these books get down to the basics, some deal with ethnic cuisines while still others are as much a feast for the eyes as for the appetite. These--or the host of other cookbooks you'll find on sale at local stores--will not only delight the recipient but might ensure the giver some memorable repasts during 1988.
Living Lean and Loving It by Eve Lowry, RD, and Carla Mulligan Ennis (Mosby/Forman: $19.95 hardcover, 280 pp., graphs)
Even if you're one of the few people left who isn't watching calories, cholesterol, sodium or some other vital statistics, you'll be encouraged to do so as soon as you look at the cover of this book. And while graphs detailing U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamins, minerals and fats are not particularly photogenic, they are practical additions to the recipes here.
The recipes are old-time favorites which have been slimmed down by the use of light salt, non-fat or low-fat dairy products, lots of lemon juice and a lot less butter and oil.