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World Food California (Lonely Planet World Food California) Paperback – May 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Lonely Planet World Food California
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1740594304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1740594301
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,855,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
California is certainly known for its wealth of culinary pleasures, and I should know since I am a native. However, judging from this pocket-sized book, I don't feel it has as distinct a food culture as the foreign countries that are normally the subject of Lonely Planet's exemplary World Food series. Berkeley-based food adventurer Richard Sterling, who did a fine job covering Vietnam, attempts to make Californian cuisine come across as unique by moving fluidly from the history of the state's food through the staples and specialties you would find in a typical kitchen to the nuances of regional fare, mainly between northern and southern parts. According to the author, the net result is that Californians are fortunate to have the world on their plates given the ideal climate conditions and a reputation for pioneering new food trends for the rest of the country.

Sterling's prose is well-informed, but its 2003 publication already feels somewhat dated since the restaurant scene changes so often in San Francisco and Los Angeles. For his sample recipes, he relies on old standbys such as the Brown Derby's invention of the Cobb Salad or the original Caesar Salad from the Cardini eatery in what is now Tijuana. It's inevitable that he pays homage to Alice Waters (Chez Panisse in Berkeley) and her impact on California cuisine. On the upside, there are enticing photographs to accompany what is genuinely an easy-to-read guide to the variety of tastes and sensations to be experienced. Sterling includes city maps highlighting his favorite eateries, and special sections devoted to subjects such as tipping and corkage, food trends like home barbecuing and the herbal renaissance, and profiles of selected food experts like M.F.K. Fisher. This is a lesser entry in the World Food series, but it still upholds the Lonely Planet brand.
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