What is “California” food? Or, for that matter, what is “American” food, or even “Italian” food? The quick and wisest answer, perhaps, is simply that it depends on who you ask. In all these places, a great range of culinary traditions exists; such traditions aren’t necessarily contained within geopolitical borders. It also depends on when you ask—food traditions are constantly evolving and changing. The way I like to ask the question is, “In all the kitchens where dinner is being cooked from scratch here in California tonight, what is being cooked?” If a statistician were to catalog this hypothetical list of some million dinners by ethnicity, my guess would be that most of them are Latin-American inflected: tortillas, chiles, beans, and lots of good onions and garlic. Another good percentage of those dinners are Asian: rice, soy, beautiful vegetables, and again, onions and garlic. But beyond those, I would hazard a guess that the remainder are either primarily what we might, in a catchall fashion, label as American food, or (and here is my point) they are Italian food.