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 It is a sign of this book's lackadaisical presentation that even the subtitle (``from apples to zucchini, and everything in between...'') is inaccurate. This alphabetical guide to shopping for familiar and exotic fruits and vegetables, with the occasional recipe, begins with ``apples'' and ends with ``watercress''; zucchini are listed under ``squash.'' Napolitano, who owns a New Jersey produce store and makes occasional TV appearances, has exactly the opposite attitude toward produce that one might expect: He pays no heed to local growing seasons. By his measure, the delicate, warm-weather green arugula is ``available year round.'' He also has a devil-may-care attitude about chemicals, at one point boasting, ``I've been eating apples all my life--they're practically my favorite fruit--and I don't worry about alar.'' Recipes are tired versions of the same old thing (the world doesn't need another recipe for eggplant Parmesan) and seem geared to masking any fresh taste. Portobello mushrooms looked juicy and tempting after being broiled, but the lime-juice marinade overwhelmed them with tartness; strawberries were coated in sugar before being added to muffins, which covered up their natural sweetness. Napolitano revels in old, bad jokes. For storing strawberries he recommends, ``Rule 1: Refrigerate. Rule 2: Refrigerate. Rule 3: Refrigerate.'' Those who appreciate this kind of humor are in luck, because they'll get another sample under the Ts: ``The three most important rules to remember about tomatoes are 1. Never refrigerate! 2. Never refrigerate! 3. Never refrigerate!'' Corny year-round. (75 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-12847-5
Page count: 196pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994