Grigson's ""Famous"" are not media celebrities, thank goodness, but ten historical personages who left substantial evidence of their encounters with food. Most, however, left no written recipes; in these cases, Grigson generally provides a sampling of dishes from contemporary cookbooks or family recipe-books. But there are also more tangible legacies. Alexandre Dumas pÃ¨re published an actual work of gastronomy, the Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine (from which several recipes are given here). Lord Shaftesbury (the reformer, not the essayist) rejoiced in a wife of formidable spirit, whose recipe-book testifies to the cautious cosmpolitanism of the Victorian palate (""German"" barley soup with cream and eggs, a most unorthodox ""Moussaka Ã la Hongroise"") as well as the nobility of toasted English cheese. The 17th-century diarist John Evelyn is an endless fount of information about the vegetables of his day and the ways in which they were cooked. Grigson's leisurely quotation-studded essays are almost too tantalizing; eventually one begins to miss the factual data (accounts of recipe-adaptations, etc.) provided by writers like Elizabeth David and Alan Davidson. (And, be advised, British measurements and terminology prevail throughout.) Nonetheless it is a privilege to make the culinary acquaintance of such observers as Sydney Smith (of the celebrated ""Poet's Salad""), Jane Austen, Proust, Monet, and the 18th-century diarist James Woodforde. But the book's most irresistible moments are furnished by two polar opposites--the earthy goulu Emile Zola and the aristocratic experimenter Thomas Jefferson. A charming compilation.