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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. : South American Cooking by Barbara Karoff, (Aris Books: $18.95, 229 pages, illustrated).

December 17, 1989|ROSE DOSTI

Flipping through the pages of Karoff's book makes one realize the importance of South America's contribution to cuisines of the world. Where, after all, would we be without allspice, avocados, beans, cashew nuts, peanuts, pineapples, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, turkeys and vanilla?

Pumpkin stew with chiles and cheese will entice the vegetarian looking for a respite from ordinary fare. Among the meat dishes there is a lamb stew with spices, black beans and meat, Brazil's national feijoada completa and rabbit braised in coconut milk. There are several fish recipes that are sure to give your repertoire a lift: Bahaian seafood stew, fish with tangerine sauce, or peanut sauce, and more.

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