Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Cuisine of California: An Auspicious Beginning

Outtakes from the first Cuisine of California dinner.

Mark serves himself a giant scoop of penne with chicken, tomato and leek sauce: "I'm elated. The end of my Chinese diet."

Tipsy: "Owen, come to the table please."

Isabel: "I can't believe we're having strawberry sorbet tonight and not fungus!"

Tipsy: "This three lettuce salad is really good. Have some salad, Isabel."

Isabel: "Okay okay okay! You don't have to be so insistent."

Tipsy: "Owen, come to the table. I made pasta and you're not even at the table."

Owen: "I want to show you my thumb mold."

Mark: "Oh my God, I can't believe I forgot Isabel's orthodontist appointment this morning."

Tipsy: "I made too much pasta."

Mark: "How did I forget that orthodontist appointment?"

Tipsy: "Maybe if you take some for lunch in a Tupperware. . ."

Mark: "You know what's amazing, I didn't even remember about that appointment until just now."

* * * * * * *

I bought The Cuisine of California for 50 cents at a used bookstore many years ago because it had appeared on some list of essential culinary texts. I can't remember whose and I've never cooked from it before. Published in 1983, the book shows its age. The pasta was trying too hard
in a very '80s way, with not just poached chicken breast and leeks but pancetta, thyme, heavy whipping cream, marinara sauce. Overkill! But very yummy.

The salad -- radicchio, arugula, butter lettuce and toasted hazelnuts -- was terrific. The strawberry sorbet, well, it was strawberry sorbet. Not really my thing, but a lot more enjoyable than Hunanese lotus seeds.


  1. i hope you can continue your blog when you visit us. maybe you can use our Southcoast cookbook Out of the Earth and wander around to all our local markets and farms.mary

  2. Mary,
    I would be delighted!