Monday, April 6, 2020

Our April/May Selection: Hippie Food

Back many (many) moons ago when I was a preteen, I earned my spending money as the neighborhood babysitter. Our next door neighbors with two young boys were vegans before I knew what that meant, and in my opinion, they weren't very good at it. On their frequent nights out I had to heat up and feed the kids dinner, and it was usually some kind of weird casserole in an unappealing shade of brown that smelled funky and tasted horrible (and did not make for good diapers for the toddler at all). The neighbor would always tell me that I should eat with the children and I would beg my mom for virtually ANYTHING to take with me so I didn't have to. Since they were a meat-free household, that meant I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on my watch. Needless to say, they were not my favorite customers (those were the people down the road who always had snack food and frozen pizza available) and they gave me a deeply-rooted suspicion and disdain for anything vegetarian or vegan and foods like brown rice, tofu, seitan and sprouts. 

It took me many years to shake off my prejudices and try (some actually delicious) "hippie food" for myself. Flash forward a few decades and I leave the meat and poultry to others and eat mostly plants and fish. I've even gone through a few vegan stages although the siren call of cheese always lures me back. I cook with tofu, seitan, nutritional yeast, jackfruit, and other things I would have once turned up my nose at. These foods have become more mainstream and my local grocery stores even carry them now (although it certainly is more difficult to find some of them during a pandemic). 

Having made my own journey, and seeing how popular and even trendy these foods are is why I picked Hippie Food by Jonathan Kaufman as our April/May Cook The Books selection.

From the publisher: 
 "Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food. 

A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today." 

I think it will be fun to see what kind of dishes this book will inspire! I realize with everything going on with the Coronavirus, some of us may have to get creative with ingredients, and recipe ideas, but I think that actually works for this book. I plan on pulling out my Moosewood cookbooks and having some fun.

I hope everyone is taking good care out there.

Much Aloha,

Kahakai Kitchen 

The deadline for contributing your post: Sunday, May 31, 2020. 

Leave a comment below with a link to your post or email me at

Remember that anyone can participate in Cook the Books by simply reading this selection,  taking inspiration from said reading, then cooking and posting the inspired dish. 
We look forward to having you read and cook along with in this selection period and beyond. New participants are always welcomed with open arms! (Leave a comment here or check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.)


Debra Eliotseats said...

Can't wait to dive into this one.

Claudia said...

Luckily, since the libraries are closed, I got my Kindle in time and the ebook as well! A new experience for me, and i’m Looking forward to reading and cooking from Hippie Food.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Hi Deb, hope your are safe and well. My post is live. Help yourself to any content. Thanks for hosting.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I hope you enjoy it Debra!

Claudia, glad you got the e-book. The library is such a great source of e-books for me and it's so easy on the Kindle.

Hi Wendy--thank you for joining in! Going now to take a look at your post.

Claudia said...

Unfortunately, the refurbished Kindle didn't last very long. Exactly 3 books in it quit. So, another (new one this time) is coming. Luckily, I had just finished Hippie Food when the thing died, and had made notes.

Claudia said...

Up now, and I enjoyed the reading and memories Deb.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thanks Claudia!

Tanza Erlambang said...

I'll try …..thank you for sharing

Terri Steffes said...

I want to join up with you again!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I hope you can Tanza and Terri, we'd love to have you back again with us!

Debra Eliotseats said...

Mine is up today!

Thanks, Deb!!!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

It sounds like an interesting book. Deb's babysitting story reminds me of my first attempts at vegetarian living. I made a vegetarian "neatloaf" with lentils and it was so hard, my dad asked if anyone had a sledge hammer to cut it..

Simona Carini said...

Here's my contribution:

So much history behind what we eat! Thank you for hosting, Deb: quite an interesting read :)

Deb in Hawaii said...

Thanks Debra and Simona! ;-)

Hi Judy! That is hilarious. When I was first cooking I made many mistakes and my dad would tease me as well! ;-)

Amy said...

Thanks for hosting! Here's my post:

Terri Steffes said...

Here's the url for my post!