HOWARD BAKER, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter have about as much in common in the kitchens as they do in politics.

Consider, for instance, the dietary preferences of some of the major candidates. Bush, a Republican, eats yogurt and granola each morning, while Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.) prefers a hearty breakfeast of bacon and eggs. Bush, a former CIA director and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, prefers an acid-free coffee.

For dessert, the favorite of Reagan, the Republican former governor of California, is always carrot cake.

For years, peanut butter has been a faorite of Baker's, and, according to Bush's mother, "you can always please George by making hamburgers."

Campaign aides say that while Bush was chief of the United States liaison in Peking, he developed a fondness for Chinese cusine. His favorite is Peking duck.

The one area in which the candidates have common bond is their weight: They are all conscious of a few extrea pounds. Baker uses the Scarsdale diet to keep trim, while Kennedy's aides say he keeps away from too many sweets and limits himself to three balanced meals a day.

An aide said that the senator has a "weakness" for chocolate chip cookies. No, she quickly added, she did not want to use the word "weakness."

(In the world of caloric fraility, Sen. Baker likes fried chicken and Bush has a taste for Doritos.)

According to the White House, one of President Carter's favortie meals is marinated flank steak. JIMMY CARTER'S FLANK STEAK (3 to 4 servings) 1 1/2 pounds flank steak 1/4 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup red or white wine

Combine soy sause and wine in shallow dish. Marinate flank steak for an hour or longer in mixture, turning occasionally. For medium rare, broil steak 5 minutes on each side, basting once with marinade. Let rest for a couple of minutes before slicing in thin slices across the grain. Always salt the steak after it is cooked to avoid toughening.

The most unusual of all the recipes in this collection -- or for that matter most collections -- is Sen. Baker's fish cooked in a dishwasher.

According to his staff, Baker learned to prepare fish this way from his Repuplican Senate collegue Assistant Minority Leader Ted Stevens of Alaska.

Clean and dress fresh whole fish. This procedure can also be used for fish fillets. Season the fish with salt, pepper, dill, paprika, lemon slices or lemon juice, and butter or margarine. Double wrap the fish in heavy duty tin foil and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run the dishwaser through one full cycle. If the fish is big, such as the whole Alaska salmon that Baker enjoys, the cycle has to be run twice. Remember to make sure there is no soap in the washer before you begin.

According to his staff, Ronald Reagan enjoys a dish of macaroni and cheese more than anything else. RONALD REGAN'S MACARONI AND CHEESE (6 to 8 servings) Hot cooked macaroni (1/2 pound uncooked) 1/2 pound cut-up, sharp cheddar cheese 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 cups milk 1/2 pound ham, cut in chunks Crushed crackers Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place macaroni, cheese, salt, pepper and ham in layers in buttered casserole. Pour milk over all. Spread crackers over top. Dot with butter. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

The entire Reagan family enjoys this unusual beef stew, a campaign aide said. RONDALD REAGAN'S TRUCKADERO BEEF STEW (6 servings) 4 tablespoons oil 1 clove garlic, split 2 large onions, sliced 1 cup flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 1/2 teaspoon dill weed 1 cup dry red wine 1 can (10 ounces) beef consomme 1 package (10 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 18 fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered 2 packages (8-ounce size) refrigerated biscuits Melted butter Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy kettle. Saute garlic and onions until golden. Remove. Mix flour, salt and pepper. Dredge meat in mixture and brown well in the same oil, adding more if needed. Return onion to pot. Add dill weed, wine and consomme. Cover tightly and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tender. Cook artichokes 1 minute less than package directions and add to meat.

In a separate pan, melt butter and saute mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add to meat. Mix gently and correct the seasoning. Pour into 2 1/2-quart casserole. Crown with biscuits and bake 15 to 20 minutes in 400-degree oven. Five minutes before completion, brush biscuits with butter and sprinkle with parmeasan cheese. Bake extra biscuits for dunking in the stew's juices.

Sen.Kennedy's New England upbringing is apparent in his choice. TED KENNEDY'S FISH CHOWDER (8 to 10 servings) 2 pounds haddock 2 ounces salt pork diced, or 2 tablespoons shortening 2 onions, sliced 1 cup chopped celery 4 large potatoes, diced 1 bay leaf, crumbled 1 quart milk 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Simmer haddock in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the broth. Remove bones from fish. Saute diced salt pork until crisp. Remove and set aside. Saute onions in pork fat or shortening until golden brown. Add fish, potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Pour fish broth plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid.

Simmer for 30 minutes. Add milk and butter and simmer for an additional 5 minutes until well heated. Add pepper to taste.

Whenever Bush gets hungry on the campaign trail his thoughts travel back to Otto's Barbeque in Houston. (Bush, a native of Connecticut, made his fortune in Texas and served as a U.S. representative from that state.)

Unfortunately, Otto was not willing to part with his secret recipe for his barbeque. The following is a variation of the popular Southern dish. Barbeques can be prepared with pork or beef chunks, ribs or slices, and according to Bush, "the spicier the better." GEORGE BUSH'S SOUTHERN BARBEQUE 2 pounds beef tenderloin 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt 4 tablespoons soy sauce Hot pepper sause or hot peppers

Cut beef against the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Mix remaining ingredients and marinate beef for 30 minutes. Broil in oven or over charcoal. Any favorite seasonings can be used instead of, or in addition to, the hot pepper sauce. Bush's aides emphasized that authentic Southern barbeques contain no tomato sauce or ketchup.