A sideboard of anecdote and encyclopedic chitterlings about noted chefs and diners, dishes and menus from the Assyrians on up. Miss Norman uses the leapfrog approach -- once settled in Western civilization with Greece and Rome, she's home to England, then over to France with just the mildest of mentions of 20th century New World cuisine for a windup. There's no scholarly or aesthetic overview, but some for instances are diverting enough (i.e. the entertainment involving the explosive entrance of a medieval jester in a huge bowl of custard). There is also a section given to brief historical portraits of various viands, and a selection of menus from ancient and modern extravaganzas. Readers will probably get as far as ""Ancient Greece"" and the ""glistening dish of eels."" Saturnalia marginalia.