Dieting and gourmet dinners notoriously don't mix and most of the low carbohydrate, low cholesterol, calorie counting cookbooks are quite simply awful. Not Van Syckel's bright, imaginative collection of recipes for people committed to Stillman or Dr. Atkins or the Drinking Man's Diet. She doesn't try to get rid of the offending carbohydrates entirely permitting a sensible 40 grams a day, and her dessert recipes -- Strawberry Romanoff, Zabaglione, Coffee Bavarian Cream -- allow for the use-of real sugar instead of chemicals. The only concession you'll have to make is learning to substitute cottage cheese and soya powder for flour in homemade breads and muffins. Entrees, appetizers, and soups are mostly a la francaise with wine, sweet butter, fresh mushrooms and cream used generously in such delicacies as Lemon Cream Chicken, Civet of Hare and some terrific sounding Burgundy Hamburgers. The compromises you'll have to make on taste are very minimal; most of these meals are good enough to be their own reward, whether or not they diminish the waistline.