Alexandra Jacobs
December 24, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

What a waste that in his capacity as Vogue?s food critic, Jeffrey Steingarten must cater to would-be sylphs?gamely turning out essays on high-protein regimens, Olestra, and where to find the most delectable water. What a relief that his own dietary resolve is so flimsy?its frequent rueful collapse prompting monthlong obsessions with choucroute, barbecue, and Milky Way Swirl Cake; intense periods of detective work into various condiments (with his wife a kind of wry Watson); and delightful exposés like ?Salad the Silent Killer.? Whatever he?s scrutinizing?and no sardine is safe?this is a superb, omnivorous collection from an obvious man of taste.

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