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Six California Kitchens: A Collection of Recipes, Stories, and Cooking Lessons from a Pioneer of California Cuisine

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by Sally Schmitt with Bruce Smith
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Forewords by Thomas Keller and Cindy Pawlcyn

A chef's chef and a cook's cook, Sally Schmitt helped define California cuisine, in particular the form that flourished in the Napa Valley, where she founded and ran three restaurants, including The French Laundry. She passed away in March, 2022.

In this highly personal cookbook shot through with memoir, Schmitt chronicles the six places she did most of her cooking, from her mother's farmhouse kitchen to the three restaurants she ran, to a cooking school she founded, and finally, to the Mendocino cottage where she retired.

Anyone looking to understand the development of American cuisine will gain much from Schmitt's perspective, which traces influences as diverse as frugal home cooking, the cuisine of Spanish-speaking early California settlers, internationally-travelled diners such as M.F.K. Fisher, aspiring winemakers, and chefs drawn from across the country by the region's abundance of produce.

Schmitt's recipes are distinctively styled, with instructions to the left and ingredients to the right. They range from a cheesy drop biscuit passed down from her grandmother to a cold cucumber soup with garlic chives and mint to poblano peppers stuffed with polenta and cheese. Most are preceded by informative, justifiably opinionated notes on everything from the selection of ingredients (no canola oil, thank you) to the importance of experimentation and improvisation. 

Practical, but more important, thoughtful and inspiring.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

Published: April 5, 2022

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