Classics

inside the california food revolutionMost cookbooks focus on what's new, but not all of them. And there are definitely some advantages to looking back. These books are all about American cooking, but each takes a closer look at our culinary history and regional differences.

Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness is an amazing book that details the "thirty years that changed our culinary consciousness." It WAS a revolution that took place in California, but truly the effects were felt all across the country. Joyce Goldstein was there, a successful restaurateur and chef as well as food writer and so her connections and knowledge of the time make this book really stand out. She tells the stories of the people who shaped what and how we eat in the crucial era from 1970 until 2000. Her admiration for the pioneers of the time comes through and her engaging style make this a must read. No recipes are in the book, but a number of menus that help document the time.

ACenturyofRestaurantsCoverA Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes from 100 of America's Most Historic and Successful Restaurants is another definite "keeper" because it combines food, history and travel. It must have been a very enjoyable book to research and write, because it catalogues stories and recipes from one hundred of America's most historic and successful restaurants. It's just good fun to look up iconic restaurants and read about them and see a recipe. For California the book includes Philippe the Original in Los Angeles, Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero. The Tadich Grill in San Francisco and Fenton's Creamery in Oakland. If you are planning a trip, it's a perfect book to reference before you go. Some of my favorite old time places are here such as Durgin Park and The Union Oyster House in Boston, Commander's Palace in New Orleans and Ferrara in New York. It's wonderfully researched and well written. 

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welcome_to_michaels_sm.jpg Disclaimer: I know Michael and Kim McCarty. I've eaten at the New York City restaurant, and the one in Santa Monica. I love them (the restaurants, and the people). If you're not familiar with either restaurant, it might help to know that the New York restaurant is the center of the media universe (in terms of eating, anyway). And the Santa Monica restaurant is the West coast equivalent.

To quote Harper Collins editor David Hershey (from the book): "Every generation has its literary feeding trough. In the twenties and the thirties, it was the Algonquin; in the forties and fifties, it was Toots Shor's; in the sixties, it was the Lion's Head; in the seventies and the eighties, it was Elaine's; and since the nineties, Michael's has been the place for media and publishing types to eat."

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 silver palate cookbookThe cookbook that made people think even dimwits were excellent cooks and 25 years later, it’s still moderne.  Decadent Chocolate Cake, Marbella chicken, it’s that little extra something they always add, whether it’s raisins to the stuffing or olives to the chicken, that just makes things seems a little extra-ordinary and all you have to do is follow the incredibly easy to read and prepare recipes.

Buy The Silver Palate Cookbook

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