No one writes about food more pleasantly and urbanely than Nika Hazelton. Her culinary tribute to her adopted country harks back to an age of less fussy and pretentious cooking and food writing. But occasionally it might also be said to hark back to an age of mediocrities (chocolate cake shortened with salad oil) and infelicities (ham baked with Coca-Cola, carrot-pineapple gelatin salad, etc.). Still, Hazelton makes no bones about her own highly personal tastes. She likes lengthily cooked bacon-flavored vegetables, old-fashioned ladies'-luncheon standbys, welldone meat, and lots of baking powder in the dumplings. She is not about to argue points of authenticity; she simply presents sensible versions of everyday classics--noodle kugel, corned-beef or roast-beef hash, Key lime pie, oyster stew, Pennsylvania Dutch fried tomatoes with bacon. Agreeable food for its own (mostly) agreeable sake, and a sane reminder that there is plenty of sound American territory between the domains of ""the fast-food crowd"" and ""the fancy-food crowd.