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Hodgson (Good Food from a Small Kitchen)-a former restaurant critic for the New York Times and currently working at the New York Observer-has led a rich and colorful life, from sipping tea with Paul Bowles in Tangier to hanging out in the kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. Her memoir begins with childhood reminiscences of wartime rationing; a pared-down recipe for sponge cake is the first of several culinary sidebars that become progressively elaborate. Recalling her romance with W.S. Merwin, for example, she describes the quesadillas cooked by their neighbor in Mexico; when she has Diana Trilling and Virgil Thomson over to her apartment for dinner, she serves roast leg of lamb with anchovies. Take away all the famous names and her father's constant travel required by his diplomatic career (which she would later discover was a cover for his real job as a British spy), and Hodgson's emotional drama is straightforward and easily recognizable, from chafing against the restraints of boarding school to coping with the death of her parents. A highly charming raconteur, Hodgson's combination of sparkling anecdotes and tempting recipes is likely to win over foodies. (Sept. 23)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.