Every collector of cookbooks and everyone interested in social history should own this book, which deals with the little known genesis of gastronomy. This goes back to the classic days of Greece and Rome- to ancient Persia and India and China where ancient civilizations had perfected cooking to an unimaginable degree. Even the cannibals had culinary wisdom. Medieval gastronomy may not be to our taste, but the monasteries had home baked bread and a famous viniculture. Cookbooks were among the earliest printed items. All this is told against a vigorous picture of changing ways of life in different cultures. Coffee had been known in the Ottoman and the Arab-Moslem world; when it was introduced in Europe via Austria, coffee houses came into being and they were the earliest restaurants. France began to develop the cuisine that has held its own and the Cordon Bleu was founded in the reign of the Grand Monarch. It is hard to know what to stress in this book. It is social history; it is biography in its own field; it is full of enchanting anecdotes of the sources of famous dishes, some accidental, some intentional. There are, in each section, a few recipes, adjusted to the American kitchen, as well as the regional specialties of this country. The promised 16 pages of illustrations may give an added touch- but the text in itself is enough.