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Read All About It : From once-obscure Asian cuisines to classic French to the lastest grain craze, the variety of cookbooks available for gift giving swells as Christmas approaches. To help cull the best from the rest, The Times' Food Staff has reviewed the year's most intriguing cookbooks. : The Open Hand Cookbook, compiled and edited by Robert C. Schneider (Pocket Books: $18.95, 304 pages).

December 17, 1989|BARBARA HANSEN

A collection of menus by such noted food personalities as Hubert Keller, Alice Waters, Laura Chenel, Rene Verdon and Jeremiah Tower could not fail to draw interest. What makes this book even more worthwhile is its charitable purpose. A portion of the proceeds will be turned over to Project Open Hand. Founded in San Franciso in 1985 by Ruth Brinker, this organization provides two meals daily to AIDS patients who are unable to market and cook.

The menus are divided according to season and cover such diverse situations as an unintimidating dinner for friends, an eastern European dinner, an ambitious dinner for four and a simple southwestern dinner for a summer's eve. This is not a fancy book, but it offers plenty of substance.

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