This is unique- so far as I know- a collection of excerpts from world literature, concerned with eating and drinking. To any reader not already caught in the web of fascination that M. F. K. Fisher spins, this may seem far fetched- this relation of the arts of the palate to man's highest aspirations. (Particularly as she confesses that it was tracing gluttony through Old Testament and New that gave her first real interest in the Bible). But for those to whom she appeals, it will be sheer joy to find almost more Fisher than selections, as she ranges from Chinese literature, ancient and modern; Richard Burton, T. E. Lawrence, Marco Polo, adventurers all; Smollett, Rabelais, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Pepys, Scott, Thackeray, Dickens, to the moderns, via the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 19th century. Period- country- the story of a nation's life is charted by its gastronomy, she claims. There are bits from fiction, from letters, there are proverbs, there are recipes. There are the famous chefs whose names have come down,- Brillat-Savarin, Escoffier, Ritz. There's gastronomy in fantasy and nonsense, in history of pioneering, in regional writing, in studies of manners. And always- in her inimitable way- there is M. F. K. Fisher. Very specialized.