By Benjamin Svetkey
Updated September 15, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

You might not think feminist essays from the 1970s would be a natural fit for Modern Library’s new Humor & Wit series, but that shows how much you know. Turns out Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad — a collection of pieces written long before she was a successful Hollywood director, back when she was slumming as a magazine scribe covering the women’s movement for Esquire — is coiled with crabby wit and snide intelligence. Granted, some of the pieces in this book, first published in 1975, have grown gray around the edges (her essay on Shirley Chisholm as a possible VP on George McGovern’s 1972 ticket is a creaker). But most are still-fresh journalistic masterpieces, like her takedown of the Pillsbury cooking contest (tartly titled ”Baking Off”) and a piece called ”Vaginal Politics,” in which Ephron examines do-it-yourself gynecology courses. ”We have lived through the era when happiness was a warm puppy,” she writes, ”and the era when happiness was a dry martini, and now we have come to the era when happiness is ‘knowing what your uterus looks like.”’ Gloria Steinem was never this much fun. A