This is a companion to PÃ‰pin's PBS TV series to begin in October, and the visual tie-in is evident. Full-page, eye-appealing color photos accompany several of the recipes; incidental photos show an aproned PÃ‰pin busily at work; and every recipe is divided into numbered steps, with each step allotted its own color photo--even though many of these last are functionally superfluous. The focus on appearance extends to the dishes' presentation: PÃ‰pin tops a chicken-liver pÃ¢tÃ‰ with a charming floral design of blanched scallion green, cut tomato skin, and aspic; and he covers a ""mayonnaise of fish,"" in fish form, with sliced cucumber scales and carrot-strip features--for a catered look that would, one suspects, confound most American home kitchens on an average Tuesday. But for the most part the dishes themselves are not elaborate; the soup, egg, and grain dishes could enhance anyone's everyday meal plan; and the fish-to-red-meat ratio (nine fish entries, seven meat, with seven chicken in between) comes as a refreshing boon to American appetites, arteries, and budgets. (There are only two beef recipes, both using leftover pot roast or boiled beef.) In the same light vein the desserts consist chiefly of fruit creations, and there are a number of attractive salads and vegetable dishes. For Americans who make an annual production of Julia Child's two-day cassoulet, here's a simpler one made with chicken (no duck, or goose, no sausage) that won't take up a weekend. As is evident in the fish recipes, among others, this is simplicity of the pristine sort, everyday cooking in the context of a confident tradition that values good food, culled (not adapted) for American households that appreciate the tradition but lack the full-time bonne femme.