March 03, 1997 12:00 PM

>Suzanne Somers

PLACE: Plano, Texas BOOK: Eat Great, Lose Weight NO. SIGNED: 217 in 100 minutes

THE FIRMEST PAIR OF THIGHS IN AMERICA settle in behind a desk in the front of Sam’s Club superstore. Suzanne Somers, 51-year-old hawker of the ThighMaster (and its companion torture device the ButtMaster), has come to sign copies of her new collection of recipes and to dispense weight-loss tips to her assembled fans. “Choose either a protein or a carbohydrate,” Somers told one, advising against mixing them because they stress the digestive process. “I can eat all I want as long as I understand the choices I make,” she said.

That sounded good to Anne Silberberg, 69, who bought four copies (three for relatives). “I’ve tried every diet in the world, and what she said made sense,” said Silberberg, adding, “I used to watch her on Three’s Company. She’s adorable.” Billie Gray, adorned in opal jewelry, was impressed by another Somers endeavor. “I watch her on the Home Shopping Network,” said Gray, 59. “This is her jewelry. Look how she signed my book [‘To one of my HSN ladies’].” Jamie Massey, 30, noted that “when you’re dieting, there’s only so many ways you can cook chicken. She said there are 150 recipes in the book, and I’m holding her to it.”

Somers says she took four years to produce Eat Great. “I was handing out Xeroxed copies of my recipes to friends, and at one point I said, ‘Forget it, I think I can teach the country how to lose weight,’ ” she adds. “My accountant lost 70 pounds, and he’s so happy.” If the rest of America lines up like the folks in Piano, he’ll be happier still.

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