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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. : Only in California edited by Joyce Hyde and Sue Bubnack for the Children's Home Society of California (Wimmer Brothers, $17.95, 255 pages, illustrated).

December 17, 1989|JOAN DRAKE

You'll no doubt find many familiar sounding dishes among the more than 300 kitchen-tested recipes in this cookbook. Most are for good, simple fare and are easy enough to be prepared by even novice cooks. Some include a nutritional analysis.

The editors' goal was to select "recipes that capture the spirit and life style that make California so unique." The dishes also reflect a mix of ethnic cuisine and draw on the bounty of produce grown in our state.

Chapter headings are typical--appetizers, soups, breads, seafood, poultry, meat, etc.--but each opens with some basic wine suggestions. There's also a section of introductory information on California wines.

Because it's spiral bound, the book lies flat when opened, a convenience during use. The section entitled "A California Pictorial: Capturing the Spirit and Lifestyle of California" includes eight color prints of California scenes by artist Sue Tushingham McNary, along with a brief description of 12 state regions defined by the authors.

The book has been published to raise funds to benefit Children's Home Society of California (CHS). All proceeds from the sale will benefit the families and children in the multi-service programs and services offered by this organization.

Copies of "Only in California" are available for $17.95 plus sales tax for California residents and $3 shipping from Children's Home Society of California, 2727 West Sixth St., Los Angeles 90057-3111. Make checks payable to Children's Home Society Cookbook.

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