New cookbooks for the kitchen or for reading pleasure

Jean Anderson Cooks (New York: William Morrow & Company. $19.95) is one of the best, most well-rounded cookbooks to appear for a long while. This is a new American classic cookbook; a collection of up-to-date cooking information combined with really good recipes.

Many have been culled and adapted from the author's food trips abroad over the last 20 years or so, but have been included without any forced format. They are just those she especially liked and remembers.

There is a well-rounded balance of dishes that are different without being odd food combinations - for instance Carrot Pancakes; Austrian Poppyseed Cake, loaded with poppyseeds; a really good dacquoise recipe; Mushroom and Sage Bread; and Spicy East Indian Braised Cauliflower with fresh ginger.

Jean Anderson is the author of nine cookbooks, including the award-winning ''Doubleday Cookbook,'' with Elaine Hanna, ''The Grass Roots Cookbook,'' ''The Art of American Indian Cooking,'' and others.

This book is big, basic, and unusual in its wealth of practical knowledge and reference material.

A valuable section called Kitchen Reference has information on every major food in our markets, and the chapter on baking is a minicourse on bread, pastry, and cakes.

Sure to become the new classic of Italian cooking is Giuilano Bugialli's Techniques of Italian Cooking (New York: Simon & Schuster. $19.95). A large encyclopedic book, it may be used simply as a recipe or menu book, or as a learning tool for basic fundamentals of Italian cooking.

Virtually every kind of Italian dish is represented from the simple to such complex varieties as Fish Baked in Clay, Beef with Seven Flavors, Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, and Chestnut Tarts.

A wonderful section on homemade ingredients tells how to make mascarpone, a kind of solidified cream, he says, which some people consider a cheese.

And there are directions for goose preserved in its own fat and for a special way to grate oranges and lemons.

Bugialli is known for his cooking lessons in both Florence and New York City, and he worked three years to produce this book.It is an easy, but scholarly, how-to book on Italian cuisine.

Nina Simonds' enthusiasm for Chinese food and most all things Chinese is evident in her cookbook Classic Chinese Cuisine (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. $14. 95).

One of the new generation of young American cooks who believe in going to the source for study, Nina went to China to be an apprentice in restaurant kitchens with master chefs, living with a Chinese family for almost four years.

Her interest in China started with a course in Mandarin at Phillips Academy, when she was a high school student. Later, when a food-oriented career was established as a definite goal, she went to Taiwan to study and work.

A young Caucasian working in an ancient profession once dominated completely by male Asians, she accepted the challenges with perseverence and hard work.

A two-year series of articles for Gourmet magazine formed the nucleus of this book, along with many recipes not published before.

The result is an authoritative interpretation of classical recipes for Americans, integrating historic significance and interesting lore with the practical aspects of cooking.

The charm of the book lies not in the credibility of the recipes alone, but in subtle details such as the simple interlocking squares. These squares, designed by illustrator Carol Wood, block the ingredient lists and how-to-sketches and reflect the Oriental fondness for geometric pattern.

Beautiful calligraphy by Ifan Chiu heads each recipe, along with the American and Pinyin titles in Roman letters.

This is the only Chinese cookbook you will need for the beginning, the techniques, recipes, and the stories of Chinese cooking.

Nina Simonds lives in Salem, Mass., and teaches at Salem State College and in several other cities in the United States and Canada.

For the third consecutive year, in June, she will conduct a 14-day cooking tour of the Orient with classes at the Wei-Chuan Cooking School in Taipei, Taiwan, and in Hong Kong.

Fay Burg's Lake Kezar Cookbook, with a paintings by Edna Hibel (Mangonia Park , Fla.: JAR Publishing. $35; deluxe edition with ''Maid of Kezar'' lithograph, limited to 385, $225) is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, with its 34 exquisite paintings in full color.

For a cookbook to be illustrated by an artist of international stature is unusual and comes from the longtime friendship of Fay Burg and her husband, Ralph Burg, with Edna Hibel, whom they met at the Maine summer resort at Lake Kezar.

Fay Burg's collection of fine recipes comes from her 30 years of working with the European chefs at the Maine hotel she and her husband managed until moving to Florida a few years ago.

Dishes include classics such as brioche, hazelnut torte, osso bucco, and matzo balls, to regional recipes like Cold Peach Soup with Blueberry Garnish, New England Clam Chowder, Country Apple Pie, and Blueberry Pancakes.

The series of brush-and-ink drawings created especially for the book and the personal comments of both author and artist preceding many of the recipes evoke the charm and serenity of the Maine lake country.

The food or the kitchen intellectal on your Christmas list who has an accumulation of points worthy of an expensive gift will enjoy The World Encyclopedia of Food, by L. Patrick Coyle Jr. (New York: Facts on File, $40).

From aardvark to zucchini, from classics to crudites, this is a cornucopia of basic facts and international folklore.

You can find out where a particular food is grown, how it is produced, and what it tastes like, as well as interesting, obscure facts about it. Charts have helpful information and basic methods of preparation.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.