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Cookbook Watch

October 07, 1998|LAURIE OCHOA

Like most cookbooks produced by food magazines, the new "Saveur Cooks Authentic American" (Chronicle Books, $40) is full of beautiful pictures. The book also manages to catch the essence of the magazine itself. Without gimmickry, Saveur's designers and editors elegantly work in odd facts, kitchen tips and personal stories of the cooks profiled in the magazine. The pictures aren't simply beauty shots of food but of farmers, bakers and cooks in the kitchen. What comes across in the photos and the writing is a passion for real people and real food, whether it's Hawaiian poke, border chiles rellenos, Memphis-style barbecue ribs or Pennsylvania Dutch creamed corn.

"Gourmet Sweets" (Random House, $27.50) is a more traditional magazine cookbook, focused on recipes, not people. But Gourmet's test kitchen is known for its great-tasting recipes that rarely fail. These are the recipes that good home cooks love to collect. Among them: Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding, Lemon Verbena Poundcake With Strawberries, Black Walnut Pie and Pineapple Coconut Layer Cake.

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