The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends

by Mary Olson

Ventura County Library has announced this year’s One County, One Book selection: Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen.

One County, One Book is a program which aims to unite the Ventura County community around a common narrative, spreading interest in and facilitating discussions about the selected book.

Taste Makers is Sen’s book debut and was published in November of 2021. In it he explores America’s modern culinary history through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers. Stretching from World War II to the present, the deeply researched stories of China’s Chao Yang Buwei, Mexico’s Elena Zelayeta, France’s Madeleine Kamman, Italy’s Marcella Hazan, India’s Julie Sahni, Iran’s Najmieh Batmanglij, Jamaica’s Norma Shirley, and an interlude about Julia Child, weave together histories of food, immigration and gender.

Mayukh Sen is a James Beard and IACP Award–winning writer whose work has been anthologized in three editions of The Best American Food Writing. He teaches food writing at Columbia University’s Creative Writing program.

Copies of the book will be available to borrow from all Ventura County Library branches. Discussions and related events will run through the month of October.

Cal Lutheran will present a panel of professors and alums to talk about the role of food (like chocolate) in American history and culture with Dr. Sam Claussen, Chef Antonio Sessa (’15), and Dr. Michaela Reaves at Cal Lutheran’s Lundring Event Center (130 Overton Ct, Thousand Oaks) on Thursday, October 20, 7:00 to 8:30 pm. For more information about the panel, contact Michaela Reaves at [email protected]

The Hill Road Library Book Club will discuss the One County One Book selection at their October meeting, Tuesday, October 25 at 5 pm.

One County, One Book culminates with a special author event with Mayukh Sen at 2 pm on Saturday, November 12 at California State University, Channel Islands’ Grand Salon.

Registration for the Author Talk with Mayukh Sen is free but required.

To offset the travel and venue expenses of the free author event, the Ventura County Library Foundation is hosting Passports, a lively discussion with local food influencers followed by small bites representative of the food cultures in Ventura County. Passports will begin at noon in the Grand Salon. Topics ranging from County food trends to local and worldwide food issues will be led by CAPS Media Executive Director Patrick Davidson. Guests will include local restaurateur Chef Tim Kilcoyne, recently returned from Lviv, Ukraine where he served as Director of Chef Operations for World Central Kitchen, to Monica White, CEO and Executive Director of Ventura’s Food Share. Tami Chu, editor of Edible Ojai & Ventura County and Chef Adam Hart of Oxnard College’s culinary program will weigh in on local farm-to-table practices. Ukraine-raised Masha Rumer will round out the discussion on how family traditions are shared through generations of recipes and how they morph from country to country.

Tickets for both events are available starting September 20 at, free for the author event and $75 for Passports.

Sponsors of the One County, One Book program are Premier America Credit Union, the Ventura County Community College District, the Ventura County Star, Conejo Valley Lifestyle Magazine, Mustang Marketing, Montecito Bank & Trust, the Ventura Friends of the Library, and the Ventura County Library Foundation.

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