Jake & Sam. In spite of our names, we are actually two women. In fact, we’re mother and daughter.

Jake (Jacqueline) is the mom, and lives half the year in San Francisco, the other in the South of France.

Sam (Samantha) is the daughter, and lives in San Francisco with her own family in a cottage separated by a courtyard from the house that Jake lives in with her husband, Brad.

Got it?  Good.

Jake has been cooking for over fifty years. She got an early start growing up in South Africa when she reasoned that food had to taste better than the waterlogged veggies and gray meat that (dis)graced the family table every evening. When she left South Africa for Europe in the 60’s, she discovered the miracle of Elizabeth David and the country cooking of France and Italy. Through a combination of luck and pluck, doors opened to restaurant kitchens that Ms. David had mentioned in her books. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Sam is a wedding and lifestyle photographer, not naturally inclined to spend a great amount of time in the kitchen. She is, however, the perfect person to try out her mother’s recipes: She loves feeding her family delicious food, and is constantly looking to expand her cooking repertoire.

This journal chronicles – in words and pictures – the story of two women’s passion for good, simple food: Jake shares what she’s learned over the years through trial and error (and occasional moments of insight); Sam offers the point of view of the novice – willing and eager to learn, but in need of some guidance.

A mother and daughter, cooking together. Sometimes side by side, other times via email and Skype – the modern day equivalent of making dinner while following Julia Child on TV.

  1. brad said:

    Pretty cool!

  2. Sue Bergoffen said:

    I love it already!

  3. Kath said:

    Wow! So exciting!

  4. Gisela Weinland said:

    Readers of this blog follow the recipes and you will wind up with delicious concoctions! Amazing tastes…A true believer in the chef (s)’ creations!

  5. Millie said:

    The food looks delicious — yum, an inspiration to cook!

  6. Molly Espey said:

    This is just terrific, ladies – I can’t wait to read more!
    No one on the planet knows more about how to create great meals than you do, Jake. Now that the holidays are nearly upon us, I need your culinary counsel more than ever…..keep those recipes coming!

  7. Amy Likar said:

    Beautiful blog! I think I recognize a few of the recipes that my sister has “borrowed”from you. I look forward to making some of the recipes myself!

  8. Linda Likar said:

    Not sure which recipe to try first! What a lovely gift to us all, sharing these wonderful dishes with the beautiful photos and tantalizing descriptions. Thank you so much for doing this.

  9. Karen Gahr said:

    Jake, I’m so glad you told me about your site and I look forward to studying with you!

  10. Joshua Felciano said:

    It was such a coincidence and a pleasure to not only share a table with you at mission chinese food, but also a passion for food and living! Its not everyday we can live in a city of all the “hussle and bussel” and still stop to share the company of one another. It was so nice to hear your stories, and get a glimpse of your wonderful life. Look forward to sitting with you once again over a glass of wine.
    All the best,
    Joshua and Dominic Felciano

  11. Sue said:

    Hi Jake,
    Colette sent me a heads-up about your blog so I thought I’d have a look. It’s good to see what you’re up to (food wise) but the unavailability of lots of the ingredients you use makes following some of your recipes a tad difficult here on the Southern tip of Africa. Tortillas are available but are hellishly expensive. I tried making both flour ones and corn ones (from imported Masa as that isn’t available here and mielie meal doesn’t do the trick) but they weren’t a success unfortunately. The only Tomatillos I’ve ever seen were those I grew myself from seed imported from the States. I have one plant this year and it’s yet to bear any fruit. Chipotles are not available unless you grow the Jalapenos and smoke them yourself (which I have tried several times) but tinned Chipotles en Adobo are but a dream! I’ve made the sauce as per the recipes I’ve sourced from the ‘net but feel that something essential must be missing as they didn’t taste all that wonderful and everything I’ve read tells me that they should be far tastier. As you may gather, I’m a serious fan of chile and related foods!
    Good luck with the blog and I’ll check in from time to time and will probably leave more long-winded comments…

    • Nice to hear from you Sue. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having so much trouble finding ingredients in South Africa for some of the recipes, especially those that are basically Mexican. We are lucky in San Francisco with its large Latino population, just a few blocks away in the Mission, we can get freshly made corn and flour tortillas whenever we need them, as well as tomatillos, chipotles and a whole host of other fresh and dried chilis. Maybe you need to go to Mexico to bring back some supplies? Just kidding, of course. I think it’s admirable the efforts you’ve made to cultivate tomatillos and other non-indiginous things but maybe you need to stick to Indian food, with the local chilis, so good where you are.

      • Sue said:

        Hi Jake,
        We eat curry at least once a week and yes – the ingredients for Indian and Malay style food are easily come by these days without a trip to the Indian Market in Durban or a spice shop in Cape Town!
        I like to experiment with foods from different parts of the world and being a serious chile-head, Mexican and Tex-Mex seemed like a good style of cuisine to explore. I must have at least half a dozen cook books on those cooking styles so the battle to get common ingredients can be frustrating.
        Now that Wally World has bought out the largest wholesale chain in SA I have hopes that some of the less easily obtained products from the States may start appearing on our shelves. You never know.

  12. Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement — we’re excited to share our recipes and kitchen experiences here with you all!

  13. marilyn gilbaugh said:

    as always, of all of the cooks i’ve known, jake is the best cook! she was the first person to tell and show our friend, monica, and me that curry was more than something in a jar. and the first to make maldon sea salt a staple that should be in every kitchen. lucky all of us to have any recipe jake offers. hurrah! marilyn gilbaugh

  14. Gisela Weinland said:

    Jake, finally had a moment to catch up on your site. Looks to me that there is enough material to get it into print! Pictures are beautiful and the recipes should be easy to follow just the way they are written. By the way, our garden has the best asparagus and leeks (both the fat ones). Swiss chard has been sown, can’t “kill” the cilantro it is growing so profusely, the same for mint, basil, dill, chives. It is actually fun staying home and harvest and have the veggies in the pan within minutes.
    Will forward your site to the kids.
    xxx Gisi

  15. Sue said:

    Hi Jake,
    I see there have been no posts for the past few months. Hope all is well with you and the family.
    Love Sue

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