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This very pretty, summery-looking book won't tempt many serious cooks, but it competently addresses a real niche in the insatiable elegant-entertaining market. The real point here is the luscious photographs. Gleaming crystal. Old watering-spot porch rockers. Sun-bleached expanses of beach grass. And lots of swankily got-up food. The first section is devoted to 20 ""theme"" menus replete with never-never decor instructions. There is a brief chapter on shopping for fish and getting the right kitchen utensils, and a longer one on methods of cooking fish (poaching, pan-frying, etc.), with illustrative recipes. Only saltwater fish are covered; shellfish have a short section to themselves. No instructions here for cleaning or filleting; elegant entertainers presumably aren't into fish guts. The 50-odd recipes don't pretend to be more than a small personal selection. The simpler; less gussied-up dishes--scallop seviche or scallops with lemon mayonnaise, planked shad, steamed blue crabs--are much preferable to notions like lobster tacos or lettuce-swaddled and lobster-stuffed bass with truffle sauce. The cooking directions and kitchen info will sometimes leave novices in the lurch--what if you don't own a paella pan? what exactly is a steamer? Still, many beachniks will more than find their money's worth here without once getting out of their deck chairs.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 1987
Publisher: Running Press