Welcome to “Eating America,” a weekly cross-country culinary road trip. From New Orleans to Nashville to New York City, we explore America’s unique cuisines and hometown favorites through staff interviews, field notes, and delicious recipes. Read on for a chance to win a copy of our new The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook.
Above: Cook’s Country California Chicken Burritos
“Um… We put sprouts on everything?”
On the one hand, there’s an abundance of California-based chain restaurants and fast food joints.
On the other hand, west coast food culture has a movement towards locally sourced food.
Then there’s the scattering of immigrants who bring in cuisines from all over.
Ever since Tammy moved to Boston, she’s missed tacos and burritos, but also pearl milk teas and sub sandwiches from Togo’s.
Maybe that’s why, when trying to define Californian food, she ends up thinking about her parents’ cooking.
Tammy’s parents, who emigrated from China to the US in the late ’60s, moved to California in the early ’70s. They cooked traditional Chinese dishes but also flirted with Western influences. Tammy’s mother, for example, made a beautiful steamed catfish with soy sauce, sugar, black bean sauce, and scallions.
But her favorite from her father? Corned beef and cabbage.
“My dad always took over the cooking when we took ski trips in the winter. We’d visit Tahoe with a few other families. Corned beef and cabbage was easy to throw together and fed a crowd. One year, we had a blackout, and we were snowed into the cabin for a few days. All we had was a hot pot of corned beef and cabbage. It’s a dish I really like, maybe just for the memories.”
Above: Cook’s Country California Barbecued Tri-Tip
In their backyard, “something was always growing.” From orange and lemons to avocados and white peaches, Tammy grew up with fresh and plentiful produce.
She misses the farmers’ markets in particular, which are larger, more varied, and open longer and more frequently than their New England counterparts. California farmers’ markets have a social aspect, too. They’re crowded and bustling, full of nibbles to taste and sample. Perhaps this is the strongest impression California has left on her.
“In California, you can eat ingredients in their purest form.”
Above: Cook’s Country Green Goddess Dressing
All featured recipes in this post will be free through October 29, 2012.
Last Week’s Contest – The winner of our Regional Favorites: Maryland Cuisine giveaway is dgenti, who wrote: “With very rare exceptions, the only person I know who cooked tripe was my mom. On the rare occasions I smell that, I immediately am taken back to the family kitchen.” Thanks, dgenti!
This Week’s Comment Contest Giveaway – What ingredients most remind you of your hometown?
Let us know in the comments for a chance to win a copy of The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook, which includes more than 200 great American recipes like Char-Grilled Steaks and Ultimate Seven Layer Dip.