The native dish of San Pedro is, well, it could be a favorite from any of the 24 or more nationalities that have settled in the harbor community since Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo dug the mud flats for his first bucket of clams.
It may be Patlican Kebabi , a lamb and eggplant stew, from Turkey. Or Kaldomar , stuffed cabbage rolls, from Sweden. Chicken soup, with peanut butter and cabbage, from Nigeria. Flan de Naranja , caramelized custard, from Mexico. Kayaku gohan , chicken rice, from Japan.
Over the years, the flavor of eating in San Pedro has become more cultural than herbaceous. Recipes have passed between generations. They've formed private collections.
Now they've gone public in "Around the World, Around Our Town: Recipes from San Pedro," a cosmopolitan cookbook published by the Friends of the San Pedro Library.
Illustrated by Leo Politi, the book presents more than 500 recipes from the community's best cooks, oldest families and better restaurants. All proceeds from the $16 volume will be used to purchase books for the library's collection.
The 314 pages, editor Dolores Lisica said, travel the A to Z of international cooking. "The response has been wonderful," she said. "We had about 2,100 printed and we now have only 300 left. A second printing is a possibility."
Copies may be obtained from Friends of San Pedro Library, 931 S. Gaffey, San Pedro, Calif. 90731. Add $2 for postage and handling.
And Lisica's favorite recipe?
" Sirnica ," she said. "It's an Easter sweet bread recipe that's rather wonderful. It is from Yugoslavia."
So, it should be noted, is Lisica's family.
'Welcome Home' Pins
Backers of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a monument to be erected on the state Capitol grounds in Sacramento, are launching new fund-raising drives for the much-delayed project honoring the state's 5,822 war dead and missing in action.
Starting this weekend, the memorial commission is offering a brass and enamel lapel pin to anyone contributing $10 to the monument fund. The pin, shaped like the state of California and superimposed with a Vietnam campaign ribbon and a banner proclaiming "Welcome Home," is available from the California Vietnam Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 808, Long Beach, Calif. 90801.
Roland Scott, an airline pilot who served as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam and is heading up the pin fund-raiser, said the privately financed, $2-million memorial has fallen behind schedule partly because of lack of publicity and, perhaps, public apathy.
The monument originally was scheduled to be dedicated on Memorial Day this year but the schedule has been rolled back to November. In addition to Scott's efforts, the commission is planning a direct-mail campaign this spring, said Pamela Wiley of the James Glass Co., a fund-raising consulting firm retained by the memorial commission. If a test mailing goes well, Wiley said the direct-mail drive could total 1 million letters.
So far the commission has raised about $400,000 for the black granite-and-bronze tribute to the state's Vietnam veterans, Wiley said.
The commission is counting on a blue-ribbon committee of celebrities and fund-raising pros who have loaned their support to the memorial, Wiley added. The committee is chaired by comedian Bob Hope and includes Gov. George Deukmejian, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, former President Gerald Ford, former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, philanthropist Dr. Armand Hammer, former Gen. William Westmoreland and country-western singer Lee Greenwood.
The centerpiece of the monument will be a life-size bronze statue of a soldier sitting on a helmet and reading a letter from home. The memorial will be topped by a U.S. flag and surrounded by two concentric, semi-circular walls. The first, 11 feet high, will have bronze relief images from the war on its inner face and the names of the dead and missing on its outer surface, in the manner of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. The second wall, about three feet high, will highlight the statue area. White roses and cherry trees will ring the memorial's perimeter.
A Mind-Opening Exercise
State law requires all new buildings to be constructed with unhindered access for the handicapped. The buildings must offer wheelchair ramps, Braille elevator buttons, widened doors, dropped sinks and lowered telephones. But compliance, says Patric Mayers, Los Angeles commissioner of building and safety, ranges from "excellent in Los Angeles to incredibly poor in Kern County to non-existent in Lassen County."
So at Mayor Bradley's annual Conference on Barrier-Free Design at the Stouffer Concourse Hotel last week, workshop speaker Mayers took the wheelchair problem by its handles.
He brought in a dozen wheelchairs, asked for volunteers from the 300 delegates and invited 12 architects and designers to suffer the problems of the handicapped for a day.