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Retro Diner: Comfort Food from America's Roadside Hardcover – October 1, 2002

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

•Features a fun, colorful journey through diner history.

•Over 115 of the best comfort food recipes from the American roadside including Dixie Diner’s Blueberry Pancakes, Steeltown Meatloaf, and Jake’s Peach Cobbler.

About the Author

Linda Everett is the author of several books including Retro Barbecue. She has done freelance writing and research for several prominent media companies, including A&E's Biography and MSNBC. From a family of cooks, she currently makes her home in Ocean Park, Washington, amid a large collection of cookbooks and recipes.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Collectors Press; Third Printing edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888054689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888054682
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dive into the specialty dishes that made the old-time diners famous. "Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside" won't make it onto the top healthy foods list, but it sure makes some old-time favorites come to life.
With recipes from the 1930's to the 1960's you are sure to find your favorite diner meals here. Alabama Sweet Potatoes, Monte Cristo Sandwich, Butterscotch Pie, you'll find recipes here that you won't find anywhere else. But don't look for any shortcuts here; these are the original recipes, which means the recipes don't start with a plain cake mix but with flour, eggs, and salt.
The book can be confusing at times like where step seven of Dixie Diner's Blueberry Pancakes say to "bake in your waffle iron", which would make it a waffle and not a pancake, or the Chipped Beef recipe that does not include toast or biscuits in the ingredients list but does state to serve it over toast or biscuits, a bit of an annoyance if you are done preparing it and then find out that you have no bread. Things like this are the only reason this did not receive a full five star rating.
Still, even with the small annoyances, the book is a pleasure to read. To add to the enjoyment of the book, it is filled with illustrations, advertising, and photographs from the appropriate years. For those who would like to travel back to a time of simple pleasures the book is a wonderful nostalgic trip and the recipes sure to delight.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Retro Diner: Comfort Food From The American Roadside by Linda Everett is a compendium of nostalgic, yesteryear cuisine that is a kind of birthright culinary legacy for every American. Profusely illustrated throughout, Retro Diner is a celebration of great eating as experienced by generations of men and women who ate "blue plate specials" and other palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, pocketbook friendly fare from a local diner. From Granny Glenn's Biscuits n' Gravey; Corn Chowder from the Sweetheart Diner; and Off the Grill Ham n' Cheese; to Countryside Chicken n' Dumplings; Big Daddy's Diner Meat Loaf; and Mushroom Burgers from Mooney's, Retro Diner is a pure and highly recommended celebration of a distinctive American cuisine and individualistic dining ambiance that was to pass into cultural history with the introduction and coming dominance of the fast-food franchise.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In an era where generic, noisy, bar & grill restaurants crowd every street corner, the days of mom & pop diners and their home-cooked specialties are sorely missed. Retro Diner from Collectors Press is an ode to the golden age of diners and diner foods. Filled with over 115 recipes as well as vintage photographs, menus and advertising, Retro Diner is a look back at those days of spinning seats and gum stuck under the counter.

The book begins with a short introduction of the history of diners and how they originated out of the need to fill hungry workers who worked late shifts when most restaurants were closed. They hit their peak in the 1950's in the time of juke boxes and car hops and those magnificent train car-style diners that most of us only know from seeing in film and TV. Thankfully diners have undergone a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to TV and film. Many have taken on the task of restoring the old places and many new diners have been built in that classic 50's and 60' styling.

Retro Diner presents the authentic recipes, culled from these various diners, arranged into sections such as breakfasts, soups, sandwiches, and the ever-popular "Blue Plate Specials". Start your day with easy home made biscuits, southern-style corn fritters, or corn beef hash and eggs.

Soups & Sandwiches were always a popular choice among diner patrons. Enjoy the Corn Chowder from the Sweetheart Diner or Cream of Mushroom from Harry's Midnight Diner. How about a Count of Monte Cristo sandwich in all it's battered, deep-fried glory or the patty melt from Blue Moon Diner.

Every diner had it's "Blue Plate Special" and Retro Diner presents no less than ten classic recipes for an all-time diner favorite, meatloaf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Steinmetz on December 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that's hard to ignore if you love nostalgic things. There's plenty of recipes, and a smattering of period photos and vintage ads. As for the recipes, I've tried one: Zippy's Hungarian Goulash (page 100). It has the chief ingredient as 3 lbs. of lean chuck or stew meat, cut into cubes. To prepare the meat properly, you have to coat it in flour and sear it in oil. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup flour, paprika, salt and pepper to coat the beef. I'll tip you off now...there's no WAY you're going to coat that much beef with just a 1/4 cup of flour. I had to add more, even though I only had about 2 and half pounds of beef. As another reviewer noted, there's also steps that just leave you hanging. With this recipe, step 9 says to warm up the sour cream in a separate small bowl, being careful to not let it 'boil'. But then, no further mention of the sour cream or what to do with it (other goulash recipes have this ingredient added to the meat mixture).

Overall, this is a nice book. I don't regret my purchase. But I do wonder how carefully these recipes were researched before being printed. The book is laid out quite well, starting with breakfast dishes. And a few of the photos are truly stunning. I loved the one on page 102....three guys are shown at a table in a diner with the menu board in the background. Looks to be Depression area. A hot dog and a bowl of vegetable soup would have only set you back .15 cents! But the kicker was the one guy with his head down on the table, a tipped over salt shaker by his hat. Was he dead drunk or dead tired? We'll never know.

I fully intend to try some of the other recipes, but for the time being I can only recommend this book mostly for its nostalgic appeal. I would love for the author, Linda Everett, who has put together an attractive and fun-to-read book, to chime in and provide more background on the recipes and if they were tested.
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