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

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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from 13 of the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State
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Taste of the States: A Food History of America
By Hilde Gabriel Lee
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The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism

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The Birth of California Cuisine

The first California cookbooks

The first cookbook published in California instructed the "fair ones of the Pacific Coast" on how to keep a husband. Boiled Orange Pudding, which makes use of one of the quintessential fruits of sunny California, is one of the recipes that will presumably do the trick.

San Francisco caterer H.J. Clayton, in his 1883 cookbook, started the now-common practice of naming the farm where the produce he cooked with came from.

San Francisco as culinary crossroads of the world

Even bohemians could fall into a culinary rut. But this 1914 San Francisco restaurant guide aimed to fix that. The recipes in the book include two that were on the menu in the devastated but still functioning St. Francis Hotel a few weeks after the 1906 earthquake.

One of the leading San Francisco chefs of the day set out to write a six volume magnum opus on American cuisine. He only got as far as Volume I in which he offers this insight into the various ways that lettuce was dressed in different countries around the world in the late 19th Century.

The emerging cuisine of California was influenced by culinary traditions from around the world including the American South, as is illustrated by one of the first cookbooks ever published by an African American.  In the book, Abby Fisher, a former slave, shares some of her award-winning recipes including Funnel Cake and Watermelon Rind Pickles.

Los Angeles stakes its claim to culinary greatness

The Landmarks Club Cookbook was published in 1903 as a fundraiser for a project to restore the crumbling Spanish missions in California. The authors hailed Los Angeles as the most culinarily diverse city on earth.

An eccentric Los Angeles preservationist named Charles Lummis, who founded the Landmarks Club, explained why denizens of the desert Southwest should observe ancient culinary traditions and eat more chile peppers.

An abundance of fruit inspired early California chefs

Sixty years ago, when avocados were an unfamiliar oddball to most Americans, growers of the subtropical fruit tried to woo consumers with a recipe for ice-cream.

Before tomatoes took over the catsup niche, everything from plums to mushrooms was raw material for the popular condiment.

Two peach recipes from California's top two cities at the last turn of the century.

Five orange recipes from a 1928 book celebrating the San Bernardino, California, festival in honor of the fruit.


Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef