In Hippie Food, a chronicle of the counterculture’s culinary contributions, Jonathan Kauffman describes a time when a simple bowl of brown rice layered with stir-fried vegetables and dashes of tamari could be an act as politically symbolic as hitchhiking to San Francisco with flowers in your hair ... His goal lies in uncovering the history of why so many Americans do ... Alongside playful prose (for Mr. Kauffman, alfalfa sprouts smell as if 'a field of grass were having sex'), the great joy of Hippie Food is its rich cast of characters. Some, like the madcap Boots, 'half cheer-squad leader, half generalissimo,' who stirred up the crowd at the restaurant’s weekly Back to Nature Luau night, might encourage readers to reconsider carob. Others, like Jim Baker, the whole-foods community’s answer to Charles Manson, will likely make many never look at a superfood the same way.
An engaging new book by San Francisco Chronicle food writer Jonathan Kauffman, Hippie Food, makes the case that the most durable contribution of the counterculture can be found in your kitchen. By uncovering the surprising histories behind the domestication and widespread adoption of foods once considered the exotic province of cultists and communards...Kauffman pays tribute to a generation of practical-minded idealists who forever changed our relationship to what we eat ... The heroes of Hippie Food are tireless in their quests to rediscover or reinvent traditional ways of coaxing vivid flavors from the humblest of ingredients. It’s hard to read more than a few pages without feeling compelled to do something — whether it’s digging a plot for lettuce in your backyard, taking a trip to the farmers’ market or busting out an old tamari-stained copy of Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook to resurrect your mushroom moussaka.
Jonathan Kauffman’s briskly entertaining history, Hippie Food, makes a convincing case for adding yet another legacy to that list: the way we eat ...his book is the work of an enterprising journalist who has interviewed many in the cast of hippie farmers, cooks, communards and food artisans who together forged what Kauffman asks us to regard as a new and 'unique, self-contained cuisine' ... Kauffman has added a lot to it, in the way of both fresh information and narrative verve. In his telling, hippie food resulted from the convergence, around 1970, of three different strains of food ideology: health food faddism; ethical vegetarianism; and a post-Silent Spring critique of industrialized food and farming ... Capitalism’s genius for absorbing and integrating every challenge to it is on vivid display in this thoroughly absorbing history.