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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. : Fresh From France: Dinner Inspirations by Faye Levy; (E.P. Dutton: $22.95, 330 pages, illustrated).

December 17, 1989|BARBARA HANSEN

"In order to really understand modern cooking in America, it is essential to follow the food fashions of France," writes Levy. French cooking today covers a broad range, from classic entrees to rustic dishes to inventive, modern cookery, she states. And it may incorporate such foreign sounding ingredients as star anise, cumin and filo dough because inventive French chefs believe in using ingredients from other parts of the world.

This analysis prepares the way for a varied collection of recipes. In the chicken category alone, dishes range from a lavish chicken with foie gras sauce and mushroom puree to chicken saute with curry-coconut sauce and grilled chicken with cilantro-lime butter and green beans.

Levy writes her recipes with plenty of detail to help the cook. A resident of Santa Monica, she lived for years in France, where she was associated with the La Varenne cooking school as editor and also in Israel. She has written 10 cookbooks.

This book concentrates on main dishes. Chapters cover poultry, meat and seafood, but not accompaniments and desserts.

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