An interesting personal exploration of one highly diverse national cuisine in transition between tradition, recent mediocrity, and experimental recasting--and as suchan even better book than its predecessor, the equally handsome but spotty Jane Grigson's Book of European Cookery. Arranged in nine regional chapters are British standbys of all sorts, from toad in the hole, lardy cake, kedgeree, and potted salmon to Irish champ (potatoes mashed with milk and scallions), Scots ""cloutie dumpling"" (a steamed suet pudding wrapped in a cloth), and Devonshire clotted cream. More surprising are the many recipes from the current generation of young innovators: elvers (eel fry) rapidly cooked in bacon fat rather than incorporated into the more usual soggy omelet, a sauce of blueberries (a comparatively recent American import) on wild duck breast ""steaks,"" Cornish ""bouillabaisse."" There are dozens of sidebars full of historic tidbits, as well as a splendidly inviting bibliography. This is not the ideal presentation, however, for American audiences. Readers are left to work out many US measurements and equivalents for themselves on the basis of a not-very-thoughtfully assembled glossary and a table of measurements which fusses about British vs. American tablespoons of butter when the butter measurements are in grams and ounces anyhow. Lovely, but not universally accessible.