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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State

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American Character: A biography of Charles Lummis

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Los Angeles: Capital of Culinary Diversity

While San Francisco's culinary chauvinism was on display in a Bohemian San Francisco, the Landmarks Club Cookbook, published in 1903, argued that Los Angeles was a culinary world power in its own right.

"While a few other cities are as ‘cosmopolitan’ as Los Angeles, no other city in the world is made up of so many intelligent and well to do people so far from their old homes and from homes so widely scattered," asserted the authors in the forward to the book, published to raise funds for the Landmarks Club.Led by some of the most prominent civic leaders in Southern California, the group was devoted to restoring the crumbling Spanish missions and other vestiges of California’s past, with before and after pictures scattered among the recipes.

More than two dozen recipes from the Landmarks Club Cookbook are reprinted in Vintage California Cuisine:

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"Perhaps in proportion to population there is no other city in whose households are in vogue so many varieties of cookery from so many lands and localities. It is therefore a place where housewives may have a most cosmopolitan comparing of notes," the forward continued. "Without going outside of their own ward or their own social set, they may exchange recipes for English puddings, New England pies, French sautes, Italian pastes, Swiss hassenpfeffer, Virginia cornpone, Mexican chocolate – in fine, the dishes of every land and from typical housekeepers thereof."

Apparently the housewives of turn-of-the-century Los Angeles were in general agreement about the effect of baked cucumbers on the menfolk. The book proclaims the following to be "a delicious dish which usually finds favor with the gentlemen.".

Baked Stuffed Cucumbers

Take cucumbers of fairly good size—say six to eight inches in length; cut them in two lengthwise and scoop out the inside, seeds and all, but leave the outside shell whole and thick enough to be firm. Put the seeds and pulp into the chopping bowl, and add salt and pepper, or green chile peppers chopped very fine; tomato and bread crumbs; Chop all very find and mix well; fill each half shell, and put plenty of butter in the stuffing and on top, so it will brown well. Bake in a hot oven for an hour. The stuffing should be very hot in seasoning and the cooking thoroughly done.


Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef