Glorious American Food by Christopher Idone (Random House: $50, 359 pp., illustrated)

Here's another "big book," full of color and splash by the co-founder of the catering firm Glorious Food Inc. Idone's first book, "Glorious Food," which, he said in a recent interview at The Times, was sold to his publisher over a martini, launched him into the in-circle of the East Coast food world. He has apparently attempted to widen his circle with a book encompassing all of America.

It took Idone and two assistants three years to research and photograph the book. The book offers pleasing interludes for cocktail table cooks and for the working cook.

There also is a fairly decent array of American foods from the various areas of the country, divided, according to Idone, into historical rather than geographical regions.

There are boiled lobster and blackberry cobbler from New England; crab cakes and mint julep, black bean soup and skillet trout from the Deep South; barbecued ribs from the Midwest; elk roast and wild rice from the Northwest; pozole stew and jalapeno pie from the Southwest; grilled shiitake , lamb sausage patties, Indian cured salmon and chanterelles from the Northwest, and grilled butterflied lamb and walnut pie from the West Coast.

Photographs, which Idone says were taken on the site using available settings and props do come off candidly, giving the book the documentary effect achieved by the Time-Life series on American cooking. One would have to quibble about substance.

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