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


Now available at or at a bookstore near you:

California cuisine became an international culinary phenomenon in the 1970s, emphasizing fresh, seasonal ingredients, in combinations inspired by a diverse array of ethnic traditions. Vintage California Cuisine shows how the pieces of that culinary puzzle began to emerge more than a century ago, in cookbooks published by celebrity chefs, vegetarian advocates, ordinary housewives and others. This 152-page book features a selection of 300 recipes reprinted from 13 of the most interesting early California cookbooks, and tells the story of the authors of each volume. The recipes include:

* Walnut Catsup and Grape Pickles from the first California cookbook, How to Keep a Husband, published in 1872

* Oyster Croquettes and Cherry Chutney from What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, published in San Francisco in 1881 by a former slave

* Fig Marmalade and Quail a la Spanish from Santa Barbara Recipes, published in 1888

* Clayton's Celebrated California Salad Dressing, from an 1884 cookbook by an entrepreneurial San Francisco caterer, who was the first to recognize that California was worthy of cuisine that it could call its own

* Two dozen recipes translated from El Cocinero Espanol, a Spanish language cookbook published in 1898, which revealed the richness of the state's Spanish and Mexican heritage

* and more than three dozen recipes from two early vegetarian cookbooks

Many of these recipes are reprinted in this book for the first time since they originally appeared. Vintage California Cuisine brings them all together in one volume for the first time ever.

click here to see a sample of the recipes in the book

Vintage Cuisine
A Survey of Cookbooks from the
19th and Early 20th Century

Vegetarian Beginnings

Around the turn of the last century, a growing number of people in the meat-loving United States began to drop flesh foods from their diet. There were plenty of skeptics who predicted that those who disdained meat would pay for their folly. But vegetarianism prevailed and steadily gained a wider following.

Books Reviewed

The Inner Man: Good Things to Eat and Drink and Where to Get Them

1897: Practical Vegetarian Cookery

1910: Vegetarian Cook Book: Substitutes for Flesh Foods


The Birth of California Cuisine
The first cookbooks published in California harked back to New England, the region from where many of the first American settlers came by way of Clipper ships around Cape Horn. But gradually, early California cookbooks began to reflect early glimmers of interest in ethnic and seasonal, farm-fresh produce, the hallmarks of the cuisine that would become world famous in the 1970s.

Books Reviewed

1872: How to Keep a Husband or Culinary Tactics

1881: What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking: Soups, Pickles, Preserves, Etc.

1881: Los Angeles Cookery

1883: Clayton's Quaker Cookbook

1885: The Physiology of Taste: Harder’s Book of Practical American Cookery (in Six Volumes)

1903: Landmarks Club Cookbook

1914: Bohemian San Francisco: Its Restaurants and Their Most Famous Recipes

1928: Nellie Aldridge’s National Orange Show Cookbook

1932: The New Calavo Hostess Book


Visit the 
Seasonal Chef Bookstore
or skip to the
Culinary History Section
for volumes including.... 

The Medieval Cookbook

By Maggie Black

The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

By Colin Spencer

Roots and Recipes: Six Generations of Heartland Cookery
By Vern Berry

The Lewis & Clark Cookbook: Historic Recipes from the Corps of Discovery and Jefferson's America

By Leslie Mansfield

Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century

By Laura Shapiro

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef