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.
What to Eat When You're Expecting by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff and Sandee Hathaway, (Workman Publishing: $7.95 paperback, 349 pp.)
Best-Odds Diet gives baby the best odds of being born healthy because mother has eaten the best possible diet while pregnant. So if you need a rationale for eating nutritiously during pregnancy, the book will be persuasive.
Best-Odds helps you evaluate and change poor eating habits, gives you the low-down on what junk food does for you're unborn baby and even allows for approved cheating on your diet. Ice cream brands are analyzed for their nutrient-fat content and cruciferous vegetables and supplements are discussed. There is a chapter on morning sickness, constipation and other problems of pregnancy as well as a chapter on eating on the go.
The chapters on what to eat when you're nursing and eating for the next baby help round out the Best-Odds Diet. There are recipes for cereals, eggs, breads, soups, vegetarian main dishes, entrees, side dishes, salads and desserts.