Seaver (The [Almost] No Cholesterol Gourmet) offers a delectable feast from the sunny coasts of southern France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and the Middle East. Despite their distinct cultural identities, these regions share common culinary points: generous use of olive oil; lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts; fish at least twice a week; moderate dairy and poultry; very little red meat; and, happily, wine with meals. In return, Mediterranean-area dwellers are trimmer than their American counterparts and live longer, healthier lives. It's a commonly cited connection (see review of French Women Don't Get Fat, above), and Seaver, associate publisher of Arcade and a frequent visitor to the Mediterranean, says this isn't "a diet book" on the phenomenon. Rather, she offers a cookbook emphasizing "the gourmet rather than the mundane" of the Mediterranean culinary landscape: ingredients should be seasonal and fresh, and meals are meant to be enjoyed at leisure. Classics like gazpacho, bouillabaisse and moussaka appear alongside lesser-known regional dishes like Terrine of Monkfish with Green Sauce, and Pork Loin in Dried Figs Sauce. Some recipes are as simple as Fresh Vegetables with Anchovy Cream, while others, such as Quenelles of Pike or Shrimp, boost the difficulty level, but are explained in enough detail to make them doable. Seaver has created a mouth-watering tribute to a healthy, scrumptious cuisine. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.