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California Cuisine is a term that came from culinary movements that have happened in California for several decades now. Each passing day makes this culinary style trendier and popular. This cuisine is a true reflection of the range of cultures in California. This cuisine of California State is generally marked by a concentration of "fusing" or combination of a variety of ingredients and different cooking styles that have been collected from around the globe over centuries (Gillerian). This cuisine reflects the history of immigration into California and the cultural integration that has taken place over time. This style concentrates on the use of locally obtained ingredients that come from the farms and their preparation is easy. In the preparation of food, the individual preparing the meal has to give a lot of attention to the presentation.
Origin of California Cuisine
The origin of this style of cuisine can be traced back to the 17th Century when immigrants from Europe like the French, Spaniards begun moving into California with the aim of spreading Christianity (Gillerian). They wanted to Christianize the Native Indians through changing their eating style was one of the significant roles. Immigrants came with their own tastes and recipes that could not match the Native Indians who relied on hunting, food gathering, and fishing. The immigrants like the Spaniards came with foods like wheat, olive oil, almonds, and apricots among others. They felt that they should "civilize" the Native Indians who relied on crude methods of food gathering and preparation. As a result, the native Indians settled around the Spanish settlements and their diet was altered because they ate what the foreigners ate. This is what marked the beginning of fusion of the local and foreign style of cuisine.
The Gold Rush era brought more immigrants form oriental cultures like China, Japan, Italy, Ireland, and the African Americans from South America. Thousands of immigrant Chinese came to build the Transcontinental Railroad and came with their flavors and cooking styles. This people came with their respective cooking styles, and a variety of ingredients, and consequently revolutionized the California cuisine into what it is today. During the Gold Rush, there were very man people who moved into California and their different tastes had to be catered for (Gillerian). As time went by, they had to adjust to some certain taste and had to eat what could be readily available in California rather than relying on outside food supplies. The aim of catering for different tastes is what led to the fusion of different cooking styles and as resulted to the birth of California's cuisine.
In the initial years of immigrant settlement in California, it was hard for them to penetrate the interior of California. This made them to settle along the waterways and thus ate what they could get. This made California's cuisine to rely on the local gradients that are readily available and fresh. The other factor is that many foods readily grow on California. This implies that the supply is continual and it easy to try an infinite number of recipes hence the development of the cuisine to what it is today.
What Makes this Cuisine Special
Fresh and light sauces that are typical in Mexican Style or Mediterranean combinations characterized this. This cuisine is more of Mexican than Oriental or native because before 1848, California was under Mexico, which was colonized by the Spaniards (Gillerian). The most special thing about this cuisine is the beautiful presentation of food in a cheerful informality fascinated people in the beginning of 1980. One of the key things in this cuisine is the appearance. An individual preparing and setting the meal has to think about the appearance of the food. Californians believe that the look of the meal can trigger or make a person loose appetite. The other special thing about California's food is that it is fresh, healthy, and sustainable, and this is the focal point. The foods are usually cooked on a stove or a grill to preserve the natural elements like vitamins and freshness.
The utilization of fresh vegetables, fruits, organic foods, and fish shows that this cuisine leans to the vegetarian side that makes it popular among many people in the wake of being consciousness of eating habits. Fresh ingredients and food are readily available at a number of farmer's markets that are located in strategic areas throughout California. This cuisine also utilizes fresh seafood that is readily available from The Pacific Sea. Sea foods like oysters, shrimps, and crabs are popular in non-vegetarian diet. Some of offerings that are so tasty are Mexican tortillas, chile relleno, tamales, pozole among others. These factors make this kind of cuisine healthy and adorable to many people.
In 1970, the new California cuisine movement began. One of the key people who set the trends for California's Cuisine is Alice Waters. It is important to note that Waters is regarded as the custodian of this style of food preparation and presentation (Gillerian). Waters opened Chez Panisse restaurant in 1970 has and used it as a standard of the California's Cuisine movement. Her restaurant showed the people quite a number of recipes through utilizing the locally available ingredients.
The renowned culinary guru, Wolfgang Puck decided to introduce California's cuisine to the rest of the globe (Puck). He has used his entities like Wolfgang Puck Catering, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, Spago, and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc to display the richness of California's cuisine. He uses aesthetics that are California influenced to make food beautiful, appetizing, and healthy. His philosophy of eating, loving, and living well popularizes the cuisine that relies on fresh, natural ingredients that make local farmers, and the consumer proud (Puck).