Those who think Latin American cuisine is largely rice and beans are in for a surprise. Hawkes, a well-known botanist and culinary collector, introduces a fanfare of dishes gathered from all over Latin America and representing an amazing amalgam of Spanish, French, African, British, Portuguese, and native Indian flavors. To inexperienced Yanks some of the taste combinations are bound to seem incongruous in the extreme: ginger-coconut rice, sweet potato soup topped with chili pepper, Brazilian duck prepared with bananas, currant jelly and rum. Hawkes also provides a curiosity-arousing selection of popular fish soups, chicken dishes, and fried vegetable specialties including Akkra (black-eyed pea fritters) and cassava croquettes. Finding the ingredients (there is a much-needed glossary) will be a problem to those without access to specialty stores. Proceed with caution--but proceed.