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Bear Cookiní: The Original Guide to Bear Comfort Foods   PJ Gray and Stanley Hunter

The US bear scene isnít just about how you dress or who you undress. Harrington Park Press has already published four books about the history and evolution of this subculture, each one as hefty as the bears themselves. Bear Cookiní lightens the tone, but the lightness ends there: these belly-busting recipes will make sure your husky husbear stays that way.

Almost everything sounds like a serving suggestion from the back of a packet, with a brazen lack of fresh ingredients. For Green Bean Casserole, an admittedly delicious Midwestern Thanksgiving classic, you open four tins (including that bear essential, condensed mushroom soup) and stir in a pound of cheese. This is good American home-style eatiní with no faggy frills, except they canít resist a bit of camp when naming some dishes, like Whatís It All About Alfredo.

With no concessions to the British kitchen or supermarket, the stick-to-your-ribs ethos of Bear Cookiní actually becomes rather chic: an exotic vernacular cuisine with hard-to-find ingredients like Velveeta, half-and-half and canned French fried onions. I did bake their brownies and they were fantastic, even without the frosting made with two pounds of icing sugar. Thatís not just icing the brownie, itís gilding the lily.