Picks and Pans Review: Square Meals

updated 06/17/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/17/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Jane and Michael Stern

Meat loaf. Tuna casserole. Tapioca. The Sterns' gastronomic déjà vu takes us back to pre-mousse days, when chocolate pudding was the dessert of choice. It was an era when a noodleburger was a welcome entrée, not a personal insult. Mining the country for meals served from the 1920s to the '50s brought forth a mother lode of memories: the once-venerated ritual of ladies' lunch (tomato aspic, chicken à la king), diner classics (succotash, crumb-top apple pie), Sunday dinner (pot roast), nursery food (milk toast) and the cuisine of suburbia (TV party mix). This book, by the authors of such gustatory delights as Roadfood, may be more fun to read than to use. The recipes, while comfortingly familiar, are as square as Ozzie and Harriet. (Knopf, $17.95)

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