Tuesday, February 21, 2017

California Cooking

We recently read Ten Restaurants That Changed America, a fascinating study of how American foods, dining habits, and even the role of chefs has changed over time. As you might expect, it had a lengthy section on Alice Waters and San Francisco's Chez Panisse, which touched on topics such as California cuisine versus New American cuisine and what has been called California's "food revolution."

Joyce Goldstein, formerly of Chez Panisse and author of  Inside the California Food Revolution, has this to say about the culinary climate of California in the 1970s:

In California, we decided we would serve things that were in season and local. Restaurants like the French Laundry and Chez Panisse were the first in the country to change the menu every day. We also had self-taught chefs. Everywhere else, people were going to cooking school or working their way up through the ranks. We had a lot of people opening restaurants who had never worked in a restaurant or gone to cooking school. And it was not only chefs who were self-taught. Warren Weber taught himself how to farm organically. Bill Niman learned how to raise animals himself. Laura Chenel taught herself how to make cheese. Steve Sullivan taught himself how to bake bread. We had no rules, and we had an audience to support us. It was an amazing climate. We also had the largest number of women chefs anywhere in the world.

Now, California cuisine is such an accepted idea that you can go on California "culinary adventures" and "culinary retreats." The tastes may have changed a little, statewide, though in 2013 Rick Bayless critiqued San Francisco restaurants for being "all a little bit too alike," and now there are food trucks in the mix; but you can still go to Chez Panisse, and other chefs have embraced "hippie-chic...vegetable-centric...simple ingredients, simply prepared" for their up-and-coming restaurants, and local is still a watchword.

California cuisine has had such an impact that it even has its own subject in the library catalog - "Cooking, American -- California style." We've compiled a list of books, mostly from that subject search, to represent California cuisine for you.

This is Camino by Russell Moore + Allison Hopelain with Chris Colin and Maria Zizka

Gjelina: Cooking From Venice, California by Travis Lett 

Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland by Tanya Holland with Jan Newberry 

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns  

A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow  

Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch with Christine Muhlke  

Everything I Want To Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking by Jessica Koslow  [eBook]  

My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur by Romney Steele  [eBook]

The Cheese Board: Collective Works Bread, Pastry, Cheese, Pizza by Cheese Board Collective Staff [eBook] 

My Pantry by Alice Waters with Fanny Singer 

Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou ; with Susie Heller, Steve Siegelman, and Amy Vogler 

Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel ; with Susie Heller ... [et al.]   

Susan Feniger's Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes by Susan Feniger, with Kajsa Alger, and Liz Lachman 

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