Drum Roll Please… Announcing New Book! Sneak Preview!

California Cooking and Southern Style

About time, I know! I’ve been bustin’ to tell you and I hope you’ll be bustin’ with delight, if, um, not at the seams… because it has some seriously good calories. Coming in November, it’s called California Cooking and Southern Style—100 Classic Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings. A mouthful 😉 but no reason to get clever with the title. You’re getting the peerless cooking of Chef Stephanie Valentine, recipe author and genius; and the flowers, table settings, and party talk from me, not a genius but an irreverent enthusiast.

California Cooking and Southern Style

It’s organized by menu, so you don’t have to fret over what to have with what. Unless you want to of course. Either way we make it easy, all at your fingertips, with each chapter including a menu, recipes, and a few what’s and wherefore’s that I’ve learned from experience. But mostly it’s about eating and having fun.

California Cooking and Southern Style Sample Spread
Here’s a sample chapter opening spread, designed to give you inspiration and ideas for combining color, flowers, and table ideas. Menu photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn. Table photo by Lauren Porcher. Click on image to see larger. 

Here’s another, because it’s summery.

California Cooking and Southern Style Sample Spread
Not all table decor needs be floral. Fruit is beautiful too! Click on image to see larger version. Photos by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Beyond food and flowers, it’s about the importance of hospitality, which to my mind is about loving thy neighbor. It’s about why we gather and why it’s worth it. Not just worth it, but essential, soul-feeding, life-giving, heart-singing.

At age 60-something (and I still can’t get over that), I am probably not going to be secretary-general of the U.N. But I can bring people together at the table. We all can. And that’s what we’ve been doing with August here at Rancho La Zaca.

Here are two yummy summery recipes you can try right now. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see the recipe.

California Cooking and Southern Style Sample Spread
Squash and deviled eggs are a staple of summertime tables, but it’s nice to have a new spin now and then, as we offer here with our Summer Squash Salad and Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon. Though we are first to say some classics shouldn’t be messed with, like fried chicken–and ours is the best. Just sayin’.

The book is off to press. I am exhaling, and for once just enjoying having crossed a finish line. Why do some of us have such trouble doing that? Why not have our cake and eat it too, by gosh. Especially if we baked the dern thing. Speaking of, this is a good one:

California Cooking and Southern Style Sample Spread
This cake is beyond divine and freezes beautifully. You can substitute summer fruits or berries for the apples. Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn.

In the background, book tour plans are in motion, and I’d love to come to your town, or speak to your organization, participate in your panel, visit your antiques and garden shows. I love all that. Write me! See the Appearances tab here for already-scheduled stops. As always, my speaking fees and book profits go to charity.

Due out in November, California Cooking and Southern Style is ready for pre-order now! For a signed, personalized copy from yours truly, click here: FrancesSchultz.com/order. You may also order from your local indie bookshop (always my top choice), and at the usual outlets, Amazon here and Barnes & Noble here and Target here Yay, we love Target! It’s even at Christian.com here (surprise to me!) and apparently they don’t seem to mind that I cuss a little. Damn nice of ’em.

A bientot, and blessings to you until then,



  1. Hi Frannie! I have already pre ordered my copy and would love to take you to lunch to celebrate its release and have you sign it. xx Nina 🙂

  2. I’ve ordered my copy!!! It’ so exciting…and I hope there’s a trip to Augusta in your future…love to hear you speak again!

  3. Married a Tarboro Bass and lived there for 10 years (70’s) Knew your mom and Gray and Bill. Became an Episcopalian at Calvary.
    I loved Bee Cottage and have passed it around to my friends here at Glenaire Retirement Community in Cary NC. Lawson Anderson came to visit yesterday and told me about the new book. Will order today!!

    1. Dearest Jane! What a pleasure to hear from you and apologies for my tardy response. The Bass family and ours have such a long and special connection. I recently met some of your darling cousins in Dallas! If you are out and about please think about coming to Christ Church in Raleigh on March 31, when the ECW are hosting me for a talk and booksigning. It will probably be a bit of a scramble, but would love to see you. Til then, all good wishes for the New Year. Oh, and if you will send me a mailing address I will send you a signed book plate to put in your book! And thank you!
      Love, Frances

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