Whan a Betty Crocker Cookbook index begins ""Afghani main dishes: kabuli pelau,"" the mind reels with the changed winds. Yes, there is sour cream-curry powder chicken, a Mozzarella Saganaki served with rye bread, and enough bouillon cubes to build the Great Wall, but no ingredient actually comes from a convenience food box--Betty Crocker or otherwise--and an attempt is made to encourage cooking rather than can-opening. The problem is the concept behind the book: ""you'll need nothing special just . . . ingredients that are available in your supermarket to discover the exotic flavors of such countries as. . ."" You do, however, need something ""special"" to cook the food of Sri Lanka or Brazil; had the compilers stuck to European cuisines, they wouldn't have needed to come up with approximations. And the goal of edification isn't helped by the random placement of little misinformation boxes captioned ""Did You Know?"" No, we didn't know that turmeric and saffron are interchangeable, that brie is a sandwich cheese, that oysters are shucked with a hammer. To further confuse the novice for whom the book is designed, the chapters are arranged from ""starters"" through ""desserts"" in smorgasboards of unfamiliar names presented without menu ideas or serving suggestions. Or perhaps the less said the better, considering the introductory advice: ""break away from single country menus . . . perhaps even more exciting is a dinner that begins with a warm Greek appetizer, a light Japanese soup, moves on to a Mexican chicken dish . . . Italian salad . . . Indian bread . . . and a glorious French dessert."" A lot of innocent families will need Alka-Seltzer if Mom serves that forth.