Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Quintessential California Recipe from the pen of Ina Coolbrith

In 1913, Grace Porter Hopkins asked Ina Coolbrith to contribute a recipe to The Economy Administration Cookbook.

Coolbrith replied, "All by cookbooks and hoarded recipes were cooked to ashes in our earthquake fire of 1906, and even their memory incinerated. One, only, remains—a whole meal! But I'll be generous and pass it along.
A Delicious Meal

Place: A nook under the trees; table, cloth, and dishes: a paper spread upon the grass, paper-napkins and pocketknife.


Old-fashioned, home-made salt rising bread; fresh butter; young green onions just pulled from the beds; water-cresses fresh from and washed in the brook. Eat with sauce of appetite acquired by long tramp in the fields. Drink: Vintage of Adam; cold, clear and sparkling from brook that grew the cresses.

Can recommend this after a memory of twenty years, as the most enjoyable meal ever eaten.

N.B. Good anywhere, but best in California."

This and more in Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California's First Poet Laureate.


Paintings by Edward Cucuel (1875-1954). Born in San Francisco, Cucuel attended the San Francisco Art Institute at age fourteen.

Source of letter: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley