Chími Nu’am: Native California Foodways for the Contemporary Kitchen

By Sara Calvosa Olson

In this sumptuous cookbook, Sara Calvosa Olson (Karuk) reimagines some of the oldest foods in California for home cooks today. Meaning Lets eat!” in the Karuk language, Chími Nuam shares the authors delicious and inventive takes on Native food styles from across California. Over seventy seasonal recipes centered on a rich array of Indigenous ingredients follow the year from Fall (elk chili beans, acorn crepes) to Winter (wild boar pozole, huckleberry hand pies) to Spring (wildflower spring rolls, peppernut mole chicken) to Summer (blackberry braised smoked salmon, acorn milk freezer pops). Special sections offer guidance on acorn preparation, traditional uses of proteins, and mindful ingredient sourcing. Calvosa Olson has spent many years connecting her familys foodways with a growing community, and these recipes, techniques, and insights invite everyone to Calvosa Olsons table. Designed as an accessible entry for people beginning their journey toward a decolonized diet, Chími Nuam welcomes readers in with Calvosa Olsons politically perceptive and irresistibly funny writing. With more than 100 photographs, this cookbook is a culinary gift that will add warmth and mouthwatering aromas to any kitchen.


"This cookbook designed to uplift Indigenous California foods will delight foragers, adventurous home cooks, and those looking to connect with Native roots. It's a valuable addition to library shelves that will connect Native and non-Native Americans to the earth and its abundant gift of ingredients." Library Journal
"With Chími Nu'am, Olson looks to encourage people to start thinking about a decolonized diet, connecting to the land and native ingredients prior to European colonization [... and] aims to make Indigenous ingredients and traditional Karuk recipes accessible to a whole range of home cooks." Nina Friend, BBC World's Table
"To say that Chími Nu'am is just a cookbook is inaccurate. What took Calvosa Olson more than two years to write and publish is an expression of her life and an act of stewardship for the earth. [...] The author was raised to believe that if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you." Ray Levy Uyeda, Prism
"Chími Nu’am is serious about taking a holistic view of reintegrating the healthfulness of traditional diets into modern lives, benefiting both personal well-being and the greater good." Naomi Tomky, Atlas Obscrura
"Calvosa Olson has written a book that will speak to multiple audiences. But whether she’s guiding Indigenous readers to embrace more of their cultural foods or making recommendations for non-Indigenous readers interested in decolonizing their diets in an ethical way (hint: it’s about reciprocity), her voice and philosophy come through clearly on the page." Twilight Greenaway, Civil Eats
"Calvosa Olson invites readers to forage for and become more attuned to Indigenous and seasonal ingredients—nurturing a deeper connection to place and enhancing one’s role as an environmental steward." Uprooted
"Connecting with nature is an approach to cooking that is often overlooked—but not for Sara Calvosa Olson. A native Californian raised by a Karuk mother, she is leading people on a path to decolonize their diets, one cup of manzanita flour at a time." KCRW Good Food
"Connection to people and planet is central to both Calvosa Olson's personal approach to food as well as the message of Chími Nu'am." Rachel Askinasi, The Messenger
"Besides being a creative, accessible cookbook, Calvosa Olson’s work is a call for stewardship of the environment and an introduction to some local foods that have long been part of Native diets. It’s a terrific resource for foragers, teachers, libraries, classrooms, cooks, and anyone looking to learn more about the foodways of California’s Indigenous peoples." Kristina Sepetys, Edible East Bay
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About the Author

Sara Calvosa Olson

Sara Calvosa Olson

Sara Calvosa Olson (Karuk) is a food writer and editor living in the Bay Area with her husband and two teenage sons. Her work dwells at the intersection of storytelling, Indigenous food systems, security, sovereignty, reconnection, and recipe development. Her writing has appeared in News from Native California and Edible Shasta-Butte. Visit her website at, and follow her on Instagram at @thefrybreadriot.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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