Joan Didion’s potato masher, sesame oil, gas stoves

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In her book “Where I Was From,” Joan Didion repeatedly refers to a potato masher that traveled with her ancestors during the 19th century on their westward journey to California. Photo by Larry Hirshowitz.

“Can a single object contain within it the narratives of a family and an entire nation?” That’s what arts journalist Carolina Miranda asks in her essay remembering California native Joan Didion. Miranda recounts Didion’s reference of her family’s potato masher in her work, “Where I Was From.” Podcaster and author Cathy Erway recommends sprucing up the pantry by springing for high-quality sesame oil. Evan Halper reports on California’s charge to eliminate the use of gas in homes and businesses. Chef Kavachi Ukegbu is on a mission to expand the audience of West African cuisines and its staple — fufu. LA Times restaurant Bill Addison returns with a review of Horses in Hollywood. Finally, conehead cabbage has an expected look with an unexpected sweetness and can be found across Los Angeles farmers’ markets.



Evan Kleiman