A book of this kind--a mix of history, anecdote, observation, and culinary formulas--is by definition not so much written as it is compiled."" So L.A. food-writer Andrews begins, but in fact this homage to the cuisine of Catalonia is quite extensively, and engagingly, written. Andrews' trove of culinary lore and anecdotes will captivate all those inclined to do their armchair traveling in the kitchen; and his compilation of basic Catalan ingredients, sauces, and major dishes will wow jaded cooks who thought there were no more undiscovered cuisines. Though many Catalan staples are familiar Mediterranean fare, their combination and treatment clearly justify the designation ""Catalan cuisine."" Even the world-famous paella Valenciana is not, it seems, what we have made of it. And the indispensable bacalla (salt cod), for example, is combined in one recipe with roquefort, in another with with honey (which Andrews admits sounds awful). The timid will sample selectively--or save the bull testicles, anchovy spines, and squid with chocolate sauce for their more adventurous guests; but even those who can't face the ubiquitous lard for cooking should find inspiration in the Catalan cooks' wonderful ways with fish, fruits, ground nuts, and synergistic flavors.