By Margot Mifflin
Updated November 01, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

For a nation of fatties who would rather gorge on tasteless low-fat junk food than practice moderation, Gluttony will come as a happy indulgence. In these pages, food maven M.F.K. Fisher recalls scarfing seven or eight candy bars a day while her schoolmates scooted around the hockey field; Woody Allen equates godliness with fleshiness; and in response to restaurant critic Craig Claiborne’s famous 1975 $4,000 Parisian dinner for two, Russell Baker offers a sidesplitting, stomach-churning, home-cooked orgy that starts with a 1975 Diet Pepsi and ends with chocolate pudding and Oreo cookies pummeled with a potato masher. This collection by no means covers the spectrum of good writing about gourmands, and some of these essays (like Fran Lebowitz’s cigarette-fueled ”High Stress Diet”) are funny only in spots. Still, chances are small you’ll finish this without at least one visit to the fridge. B+

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