About

This Vintage California Cuisine blog is maintained by me, Mark Thompson, author and publisher of a book by the same name. Vintage California Cuisine the book, features 300 recipes from 13 of the earliest cookbooks published in California  and tells the story behind each volume. My first book, American Character, a biography of Charles Fletcher Lummis, was honored by Western Writers of America with a Spur Award in 2002 for best biography. Lummis was, among many other things, a womanizing Indian rights gadfly and aficionado of Southwestern cuisine. I was inspired to collect the recipes for my latest book when I came across Lummis’s 1903 cookbook, which is covered in a chapter in Vintage California Cuisine. I was struck by his presciently bombastic paean to chili peppers in the introductory chapter, in which Lummis declared, “It is a stupid traveler who mocks the ancient wisdom of a country as to what in that country should be eaten.” I have pursued my own interest in food since 1995 with a web site, SeasonalChef.com, about seasonal produce, farmers markets I visit during my travels and locally oriented chefs I meet along the way. I currently live in Philadelphia but spend several months of each year in California.