Gr 4-8-These books describe the cultural and historical backgrounds of the foods and simple recipes presented and have color photos, a color-coded map of foods by region, and a page of metric conversions. Italy discusses olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan cheese, the making of pasta, the Feast of the Seven Fish, and more. Boxed text provides brief information on such topics as harvesting olives and the custom of eating lentils on New Year's Day. Mexico covers corn, beans, the social ritual of eating tortillas, wet and dry soups, Christmas tamales, and more. Budding chefs will enjoy preparing lasagna, orange granita, seafood salad, and Easter pie (Italy), and creamy green enchiladas, guacamole, tres leche cake, and Day of the Dead sugar skulls (Mexico), among other dishes. Julie McCulloch's Italy (Heinemann Library, 2001), and Rosa Coronado's Cooking the Mexican Way (Lerner, 2001) have more recipes, but Sheen's titles will be useful for the cultural/historical connections and the traditional recipes.-Augusta R. Malvagno, Queens Borough Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.