Michele Anna Jordan’s book is important to me because you know her enticing dishes depend on local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. The great diversity expressed in these recipes connects the reader with California history and food traditions in the most delightful way.
Over the last two decades, California cuisine has been heralded as the latest thing, condemned as a precious contrivance, dismissed as out of fashion, and credited with transforming the way we all eat. It’s all true. But each declaration is a small part of a complex and continuing conversation. It is a conversation at once about California home cooking–what we Californians do in our eleven million kitchens–and California cuisine–what is done in our restaurants. It’s about what each is, or whether they exist at all, and it’s about who invented them and whether they will survive. . . . As a California native and a cook by both inclination and profession, I set out to write this book already armed with a strong sense of where my own cooking fit into the larger tradition. . . . [I found] that California cooking and California cuisine are both very much what I always had thought they were: Casual styles of cooking that unite several cuisines–mostly importantly, Spanish, Mexican, and Italian–and, making abundance use of California’s year-round harvest of high-quality produce, transform them into something unique and original.
The book is written and organized in such a way that it can be used anywhere, not just in California. It is an all-purpose cookbook designed to both teach and inspire. All recipes have been tested in a home kitchen with home equipment, not restaurant equipment.