cover image Cook's Alphabet of Quotations

Cook's Alphabet of Quotations

Maria Polushkin Robbins. Dutton Books, $16.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93359-5

``When the valves were pried apart, the rich clam liquor dribbled out. The flesh of the cherries was a delicate pink. . . . Fresh from the coal-black mud and uncontaminated by ketchup or sauce, they were the best clams I have ever eaten.'' A good portion of the entries in Robbins's concordance of gastronomy are sensuous reminiscences, like the above by Joseph Mitchell. More common are pithy epigrams rendering advice such as ``Carve a ham as if you were shaving the face of a friend'' (Henri Charpentier). The ingenuous ``Isn't there any other part of the matzo you can eat?'' is attributed to Marilyn Monroe. Already put through two editions as The Cook's Quotation Book , this expanded work ranges among 87 headings alphabetized under the initial letters of phrases (under D, with others, is ``Digestion and Indigestion''). No attribution other than the author's name is given for most citations, perhaps on the assumption that food provides its own context. A range of opinions, almost amounting to polemic in some cases, contributes a dramatic touch for the food lovers who thumb this volume. (Oct.)