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.
Non-Dairy Cookbook by Jeanne Jones, (Presto Food Products, Inc.: $3.95, 128 pp. paperback)
When consumers asked Presto Foods, who put out Mocha Mix, a non-dairy equivalent of half and half or cream, how to cook with the product, Jeanne Jones, a well-established diet-book author was brought on the scene to help develop recipes that could be used by anyone who needed to avoid fat and cholesterol in their cooking. "Many people didn't know you could use Mocha Mix as a substitute for cream," said Fred Clay, the marketing manager of Presto Foods.
Well, now they can. The book covers milk allergy and lactose intolerance, gives cooking tips for handling the mix and provides recipes for soups, sauces, salads and dressings, vegetables, entrees, breads, desserts and beverages, all making use of the mix in lieu of cream. So you'll find chicken curry made with Mocha Mix, a white sauce in which the non-dairy cream is combined with seasoning, water and cream of rice cereal to create its creamy texture and taste. Quiche Lorraine and poppy seed bread are bound with the mix and liquid egg substitute instead of cream and eggs. There are menus as well as recipes to help those on restricted fat and cholesterol diets widen their dining repertoire.