Books: Let Them Eat Mezeskalacs

New cookbooks impart a sense of place

With food, as with so many other aspects of fashionable living, there comes a time when only the old seems new and the latest appears trite. A reading through this year's crop of cookbooks indicates that time is now. No food seems more tiresome or repetitious than that known as new American or Californian, or the fare of native chefs so young they may need working papers. A "That again?" feeling comes from ubiquitous ingredients like goat cheese--hot and cold--duck sausage, free-range chickens, shiitake mushrooms and the trendy salad green m√Ęche. Far more fresh and exciting are the books dedicated to...

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