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IN BRIEF

Non Fiction

February 07, 1993|KAREN STABINER

EVERYTHING ON THE TABLE by Colman Andrews. (Bantam: $21.50; 308 pp.) This is the story of a lifelong love affair between the author and good food--sumptuous, sensual good food, the kind people swooned over before there were such things as nutrition labels, before people swapped cholesterol counts on a first date. The essays are part autobiography: Andrews' love of cooking is a clear argument for environment over heredity, since his parents ate plain food in cans. Some of his favorite meals have been taken with Claude, his adopted extra father, and cooked by Pepita, Claude's wife. They introduced the young Andrews to French food, and to a decidedly un-American attitude about food--that wonderful food is an almost religious delight, a sacrament to be taken despite what Jane Brody and others of her healthful ilk might have to say. Andrews' often curmudgeonly air is sure to ruffle some feathers, particularly those belonging to double-income families. He doesn't like the dishwasher because it robs the cook of the tactile finale to his meal. He wonders, "But what's the hurry?" to get out of the kitchen, when more than half the couples in this country only wish they had time to get into the kitchen. Still, his is a useful, urgent voice--and the recipes a vicarious thrill, even if your doctor won't let you eat them.

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