California Living and Eating by Eleanor Maidment is a handsome coffee table book celebrating the food and lifestyle of the Golden State with 80 tasty recipes.
One of the joys of travel in California is the wonderful food on offer, whether it’s from a cheap and cheerful taco truck to some of the top tables in the USA with acclaimed chefs like Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, and Alice Waters.
It helps, of course, that there is so much fine produce grown in the state, and a firm belief in the concept of farm-to-fork or farm-to-table.
These are the things that inspired author Eleanor Maidment to travel the length and breadth of the state to produce this hefty 224-page coffee-table book with eighty original recipes. These go alongside essays about some quintessential Californian foods like sourdough and avocados.
In her introduction the author points out that it isn’t only the freshness of the food that makes for tasty eating. The best California cuisine is also about being bold with experimentation, caring about the art of beautiful presentation, serving seasonal dishes, a natural concern for healthy eating, and a fusion-style of cooking embracing California’s ethnically diverse population.
After explaining how the book came about, and information on both the ingredients and the equipment she likes to use, the author gets into the opening chapter: Morning Sun. This covers one meal that Californians really know how to do well, brunch, and begins with our own personal brunch favorite, the Mexican breakfast dish, Huevos Rancheros. Merely seeing the photo has our mouths watering immediately.
The recipes range from the original (Coconut Jumbo Oat Granola) to new takes on old favorites, like Buttermilk Pancakes and Breakfast Burritos.
Maidment then makes her way through the day, with lunch and supper suggestions, before winding up with one chapter on sides and sauces, and a final chapter on cakes, cookies, and tarts.
Also included at the back of the book is the author’s personal choice of the best places to eat in California. They are the places – including two farmers’ markets – which inspired the recipes in the book, and cover Sonoma, San Francisco and the East Bay, the Central Coast, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
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