In Search of the Origins of California Cuisine
Join Culinary HIstorian Mark Thompson for a lecture at the Pacific Palisades Library this Saturday!
The first cookbooks published in California mostly reflected the culinary heritage of the places the authors had recently left, including France, New England and the Old South. But a few early California cookbooks offered hints of a recognition that the state — with its diversity of culinary influences from around the world and astounding, year-round array of local produce – was worthy of a cuisine that it could call its own. While researching his latest book, Vintage California Cuisine, Mark Thompson found signs of an emergent, uniquely Californian culinary sensibility in cookbooks including Clayton’s Quaker Cookbook, published by a San Francisco caterer in 1883, Santa Barbara Recipes, published in 1888, and the Landmarks Club Cook Book, published in 1903 by Charles Lummis. He’ll discuss his findings, and share some of the first truly California recipes, in a talk about his exploration of early California cookbooks.
Mark, a journalist and author who divides his time between Los Angeles and Philadelphia, has also written American Character, a biography of Lummis. A crusading writer and editor, one-time Los Angeles city librarian and lifelong Indian rights activist, Lummis was also an early aficionado of Southwestern cuisine and one of the first Anglo Americans to praise chile peppers.