Clancy's long suit is baking--breads, flaky and puff pastries, toast ramekins and cocktail turnovers filled with shrimp, crabmeat, sausage, etc. Like his mentor James Beard he believes in puddles of butter, butter and more butter. This may make him a culinary reactionary, but calories and cholesterol notwithstanding, you'll be hard put to resist his toothsome oven-baked dishes. For correct heat distribution, however, heavy cast iron and enamel casseroles and skillets are a must. Thus fortified, you can also try Claney's ""baked soups""--lentil, black bean, goulash--accompanied by, say, a pungent cheese bread. He's an exuberant chef, quite content to ""make additions to traditions,"" and this book, co-authored by the widow of food writer Michael Field, will go on the shelf next to Julia, Simca, and other apostles of creamwine sauces, potatoes au gratin and soubise, and those scrumptious waist-expanding desserts.