Picks and Pans Review: Light & Spicy

updated 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Barbara Gibbons

It's annoying that a cookbook based on an intriguing concept reads like a pop psychology text. "Forgettable food," writes Gibbons, a syndicated columnist, "is an insidious inducement to overeating. Unable to fulfill the psyche's desire for flavor satisfaction, it feeds the search."

Flavor satisfaction, or what Gibbons calls assertive seasoning, is what these Light & Spicy recipes are about. That, and keeping a nutritional eye on fat and cholesterol. Most of the dishes are adapted from varied ethnic cuisines: Mexican, Caribbean, Mediterranean and others. There is a brief section on spicy soups and an impressive collection of seafood delights. Meat and poultry are not overlooked either. However, a mock Hollandaise sauce made from light mayonnaise will never taste like the real thing. That's not to say there aren't many tasty low-cal meals to be had here, but beware that several of them lose something in the translation. (Harper and Row, $22.95; paper, $10.95)

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