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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

January 02, 1994|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

A LITERARY FEAST edited by Lilly Golden (Atlantic: $23; 273 pp.) It's such a wonderful genre, food writing, one of the few in which the more tangents the writer takes, the better. Usually when writers write about memorable meals, it's with a deep, calm pleasure, and I like to think it brings out a generosity, a luxuriousness, just as eating that fine meal did for the tight-lipped townspeople in Isak Dinesen's "Babette's Feast" (included here). Some of the writers in this collection are the real pros: M.F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, and cher maitre, A.J. Liebling. Others are the creators of famous meals in literature: Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf. One cannot help but notice three recurring variables: money (having it or not having it--both of which can contribute to good eating), appetite (as a metaphor for living life), and Paris, which, in geography or memory, is never very far away.

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