A&W Root Beer. Foster’s Freeze. IHOP. Der Wienerschnitzel. See’s Candy. Jack in the Box. You name the American food icon, and chances are its roots are in California. But what are their origin stories? Who started the very first branch? Where were the original buildings? What made them famous? And for the few that are no longer around, or that have a smaller footprint than they had in their glory days, what happened to them?
Food historian and chef George Geary answers these questions and more as he takes readers on a sentimental journey of some of America’s most iconic foods in his new book, Made in California: The Burger Joints, Diners, Fast Food & Restaurants that Changed America.
Geary tells the remarkable stories of the early 20th-century food startups that captured America’s hearts and stomachs, from Bob’s Big Boy to McDonald’s, Winchell’s Donuts to In-N-Out, Peet's Coffee to Taco Bell. Filled with over 200 historic and contemporary photos, Geary succinctly captures the stories of these essential businesses and structures before they are gone forever.
“In my earlier years as a food writer and professional, I would never have admitted to anyone that I actually eat at these establishments,” Geary says. “But after seeing Julia Child eat McDonald’s French fries in person and say that they were her favorite, and after hearing Anthony Bourdain claim that In-N-Out Burger was the best burger around, I knew that I, too, could come out of my kitchen and into the drive-thru. Now I get to celebrate these places in this book.”