Earlier this year I did a summary of books I’d loved that didn’t make the best seller list, trying to give voice to some authors who don’t yet have name recognition. As I went to see what additional books I wanted to recommend as a year end wrap up, I realized there was only one that wasn’t by a really well known author. The book is Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman.
The parenthetical title is “How back-to-the-landers, longhairs, and Revolutionaries changed the way we eat.”
When I first received the book from my local library, I thought it was going to be a history/cookbook combo. I must admit I was disappointed to find out there were no recipes. The writing, however, completely made up for it.
I’d heard of the communes that were founded during the 70’s and have read some fictionalized accounts of them (Arcadia by Lauren Groff is a wonderful example), but I hadn’t grasped the “why” behind them. Learning of the distrust of the packaged food industry was enlightening – I’m a from-scratch cook after all.
My family was not one that joined a co-op or later shopped at health food stores. With two working adults and two kids to feed and with money tight, that wasn’t in the cards. In fact, I thought my dad was crazy for giving my favorite grocery store the “health food” moniker. Sure it is 1/3 produce and 1/4 bulk bins, and it doesn’t carry the traditional brands from the grocery chains, but that just made it nutritious. It wasn’t until Hippie Food that I learned that Sprouts and Whole Foods came directly from that movement.
All of the talking about food and eating healthy made me hungry. The one dish that was mentioned more than all the others was tomato tofu casserole. Undeterred by the lack of a provided recipe, Google did not fail me. This recipe turned out so yummy, I’ve made it twice in the last month.
There is a 40th anniversary edition that ended up on my gift list, and DH2U was kind enough to get it for me for Chanukah. I keep drooling whenever I flip through the pages. This weekend we are trying the first of many recipes from it.
I’m not a cookbook reader – those pages in front are just filler to plump up the word count, right? Not this book. I loved reading about the story of the book and the influence it has had. It’s already influenced me.