February 08, 1988 12:00 PM

by Jill St. John

Perhaps best known for her dates with Frank Sinatra, Henry Kissinger and Robert Wagner, St. John is also a cooking enthusiast who hosted monthly cooking spots on Good Morning America and is now a food editor for USA Weekend Sunday magazine. In this book, St. John advocates the use of fresh-grown herbs to flavor oils and vinegars, salads, sushi and side dishes. Her cheese of choice is chèvre, which she warms for salad or uses as a lightly broiled topping for cooked chicken. She’s keen on experimenting with established recipes. The addition of bay shrimp or Italian sausage to the pasta primavera recipe, however, misses the point; the whole idea of the classic primavera is that it is made only with springtime vegetables. There are also generalities that seem either puzzling or come off sounding like California cook-o-babble. “Most men won’t eat fish,” is one. “Cold milk [added to mashed potatoes] makes them like glue,” is another. Culinary inanities aside, the pictures are cheery, and St. John often appears color-coordinated with the food as well as the dishes and decor. Her recipes are clearly written. And her bubbly enthusiasm for cooking is bound to infect even devoted microwave fans. (Random House, $ 19.95)

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