Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Author, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Illustrator . Multnomah $32 (224p) ISBN 1-59052-140-4

If Good Day for a Picnic (reviewed above) suggests yuppified fare fit for blue state latte drinkers, Cronkhite's follow-up to A Return to Sunday Dinner is its red state doppelgänger, with recipes like Heavenly Deviled Eggs and Country Fair Corn. In an introduction, the author, former executive chef at Blair House, the presidential guest house, traces the history of eating outdoors with all the vivacity of a textbook. Some readers may be turned off by the saccharine quotes arranged like embroidered samplers and the author's constant appeals to patriotic reverence. ("Is anything more American than chocolate chip cookies?"; "Soda and ice cream—what could be more American!") Many of these recipes seem unsuited to outdoor eating, either because they're difficult to transport farther than the backyard (e.g., White Chocolate, Strawberry and Lemon Trifle) or require last-minute assembly (e.g., Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Sodas). And Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bacon Skewers are not just strange for a picnic—they're an all-round bizarre concept. Like the recipes, the photography in this collection is uninspired and often corny (e.g., a father and son walk off into the sunset on a golf course as Cronkhite shares suggestions for a Father's Day feast). Cronkhite stretches the definition of a picnic, even including chapters on a tea party and another titled "Raising the Roof" that recommends Glazed Smoked Ham and Macaroni Salad for a barn raising. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 00/00/0000
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