December 09, 1985 12:00 PM

by Alan King and Mimi Sheraton

“When I get up in the morning,” writes comic-actor Alan King, “I have to decide what I’m going to have for dinner or I can’t get through the day.” King is indeed serious about food, and his new book will be best appreciated by those who share his preoccupation. With help and commentary from Sheraton, a TIME food writer, King has compiled an amusing history of his eating life, including anecdotes from his Brooklyn childhood and intimate details about his gustatory likes. (He loves pot-au-feu and steak tartare; he won’t eat at salad bars that serve fake bacon bits.) Next to eating, King seems to like hobnobbing with other celebrities, and much of the book is an exercise in name-dropping. He mentions every dish he’s shared with a star: the lobster bordelaise consumed with Orson Welles in Paris, the two dozen tequilas downed with John Wayne at a hotel bar in Acapulco, the great jambalaya made by John Steinbeck’s widow, Elaine, in the Hamptons. To King’s credit, the book does include a good selection of recipes, chattily recounted by Sheraton, at the end of each chapter. As for the question posed by the title, both the reader and King’s wife, Jeanette, not to mention Dr. Ruth, should be relieved by his answer. (Little, Brown, $15.95)

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