What is the California Table?
Tacos and tikka. Dumplings and donuts. Acorn bread and adobo. Pho, guisado, mixian, empanadas, som tam, onigiri, falafel, latkes, poke, rendang, and dal.
And don’t forget the artichokes, the abalone, and the almonds. The loquats and persimmons, fish and game, the grass-fed meat and handmade cheese. And, of course, the oranges and lemons that spill off backyard trees.
The California table is a place where foods from all across the world come together to share space, mingle, and evolve.
The state famous for being the U.S.’s “breadbasket” is one of the world’s most diverse and exciting places to eat. But to really understand the food here—and the people you cook it—you have to get into the kitchens and learn about the dishes people make for friends and family, and the dishes they cook just for themselves.
That is the goal of this newsletter: to look into kitchen windows all across the state and see what Californians of all backgrounds are cooking and eating together.
Each newsletter will include an interview with a California home cook and a recipe for one of their favorite dishes—OR—a stand-alone recipe to inspire you in your kitchen.
We’ll meet a wide variety Californians, from native cooks working to revive traditional foodways to immigrants recreating the aromas and flavors of home. We’ll visit celebrity chefs (to see what they cook outside of their restaurants) and farmers whose cooking follows the seasons and makes use of whatever they have in their fields. And along the way we’ll look at how California’s unique climate, wide variety of crops, and cross-cultural connections shape the foods that come out of all of our kitchens.
I’m a California-born journalist, editor, and cook. My work focuses primarily on the intersections of different food cultures.