While many regions have defined cuisine and dishes unique to their location, Sacramento is a bit of an enigma. It combines the best of California cuisine, farm-to-table practices and, with a wealth of ethnic influences, it is becoming a culinary destination in itself. Restaurants showcasing traditional gastronomic regions like Emilia Romagna or chefs combining seemingly bizarre ingredients to challenge your palate have added to Sacramento’s culinary charm. If you are looking for a cookbook that embodies Sacramento’s culinary scene, check out one of these four options.
“Spaghetti Sauces” – Biba Caggiano
Biba Caggiano, owner of the extremely popular Biba Restaurant in Sacramento, is an award-winning author of multiple best-selling cookbooks and the host of her own nationally syndicated cooking show. Her newest book, “Spaghetti Sauces,” includes 80 authentic Italian recipes and is available direct to order from the Biba’s Restaurant website. If you want the book autographed, include the name under “special instructions” when you finalize check out. Other online retailers include Google Books, Amazon, Walmart and more.
If you are interested in other works by Biba, there are two other cookbooks available for ordering. “Biba’s Italy: Favorite Recipes From The Splendid Cities” and “Trattoria Cooking” are also available and can be autographed as well.
Biba Caggiano was born in Bologna, in what many consider to be the gastronomical capital of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. After a move to New York, Caggiano found herself relocating to Sacramento back in the late 1960s when she found the city to be lacking in quality Italian food. After making meals for friends, she was asked to teach classes at a newly opened cooking school in the area. Since then, she has done tours through Italy, appeared on numerous cooking and television shows and finally opened BIBA Restaurant in 1986. She has received awards such as the Northern California Chef of the Year (1999) and glowing reviews from such prestigious publications like Wine Spectator and Travel + Leisure.
“Davis Farmers Market Cookbook” - Georgeanne Brennan and Ann Evans
What do you get when a cookbook author and a former Davis mayor team up? You get a unique and inspiring cookbook exploring the birth of the local food movement in Davis back in the 1970s as well as the art of seasonal eating. Georgeanne Brennan has authored more than 30 cookbooks and has collaborated with Ann Evans, a former mayor of the city of Davis, to bring readers more than 100 recipes that include seasonal creations. Some of the delectable recipes include Fava Bean Soup with Pancetta, Italian Stuffed Artichokes and Chicken Braised in White Wine with Peas.
The Davis Farmers Market is one of the most recognized spots in the greater Sacramento area to get prime local produce and products that support California farmers. It has even been listed by USA Today Travel as one of the “top 10 great places to shop at a farmers market.”
To order the “Davis Farmers Market Cookbook,” visit the Davis Farmers Market itself and local retailers like Ace Hardware in Davis, Davis Food Co-op, Nugget Markets and Sacramento Natural Foods Coop. You can also purchase it online at Amazon and DavisFarmersMarketCookbook.com.
“Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It” – Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein
Most people know Guy and his over-the-top personality from various Food Network shows like “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” but may not realize he has roots in Northern California. While primarily a Santa Rosa boy, he has several restaurants in the Sacramento area: Tex Wasabi’s and Johnny Garlic’s. In his newest work, “Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It” released in 2011, Guy shares some of his signature creations that put a twist on traditional dishes. His technique of taking ordinary classics and turning them into a bold new creation has earned him a spot with many local home cooks and aspiring chefs. Try your hand at Pepper Jack Pretzels, a Red Rocker Margarita Chicken Sandwich, Bacon-Jalapeno Duck Appe-taps and his signature Johnny Garlic’s Cedar Plank Salmon.
“Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It” is available online from a number of retailers include Google Books, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc. You can also purchase it direct on GuyFieri.com.
Related: Best BBQ In Sacramento
“The Sacramento Cookery Book” - Sally A. Clifford
Looking for a Sacramento cookbook with a bit more history? This is from 1982 and presents a number of recipes from Sacramento’s past, including the California Delta and the historic Gold Country. All recipes are attributed to those who contributed. “The Sacramento Cookery Book” is a look into Sacramento’s rich past and the foods that were popular then. As the book is not a new publication, you are likely to find it only in a used condition. OldCookBooks.com has a used-condition copy as do a number of online retailers like Barnes & Noble, eBay and Thriftbooks.
Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs. She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.