I've admitted to my 30-year addiction to Gourmet magazine before, but I doubt that I mentioned the mountains of aging copies that used to send my normally even-tempered spouse into a full-blown hissy. The glut-of-Gourmets quandary was solved some years ago with the blessed arrival of The Best of Gourmet, a collection of the year's best menus and recipes culled from the magazine's pages and presented in a single sumptuous volume. (My back issues were dutifully donated to our local library.) The Best of Gourmet 1998, the 13th in the series, has 23 marvelous menus from an intimate dinner for two to a cocktail spread for 30 over 400 recipes and full-color photos that will make mouths water (even Martha's). This year's "Cuisine of the World" feature focuses on the exotic, enticing flavors of India, with three brand new menus and a primer that explores the essentials of the Indian kitchen. "A Gourmet Addendum" includes 24 all-new recipes for making "Gifts from the Kitchen," tantalizing treats, sweet and savory, that will wow friends year round.

Reviewed by Sybil Pratt.

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