One day, Alice Brock saw a tour bus coming up the drive to her restaurant and she suddenly remembered she was supposed to feed 40 people a full lunch. She didn’t have any soup made …
When the war in Vietnam ended in 1975, so did The Age of Aquarius, fading away like smoke on a hazy summer night.
Was it all just a dream?
If today you focus a lot on Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, if you buy whole-wheat bread and herbs at your local farmers’ market, and if you eat granola, you’re ingesting the legacy of the so-called hippies.
And just where did that word — hippie — come from, anyway?
On 5 September 1965, the San Francisco Examiner published an article by Michael Fallon about the new “Bohemian” scene developing in the Haight-Ashbury district. He called the young people “hippies.”
Many try to capture the essence of the Sixties, longing to explain just what happened when Dylan’s music played and flowers bloomed in young girls’ braids. Even food writer Charles Perry, a former rock-and-roll journalist, wrote The Haight-Ashbury: A History (1985) and food-studies expert Warren Belasco contributed the prescient Appetite for Change (1989), republished as Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the Food Industry (2007).
A new cookbook published recently provides some intriguing fodder for culinary historians: Hippie Kitchen: A Measurefree Vegetarian Cookbook (Measurefree Kitchen Companion Trilogy) (2010), by Jean Johnson. According to Jean herself, she’s a “writer-historian-sustainable-type from the Sixties up for a last subversive hurrah.” The no-measurements recipes, she says, call up the cookbooks of the past. Indeed they do, as long as the cook can boil water, peel potatoes, and bake a cherry pie. This is a new one: nostalgia for both the hippie era and pre-Fannie Farmer (or Eliza Acton) cookbooks.
At a time when the only true experts on vegetarianism were the Seven-Day Adventists, who even published a vegetarian diet manual for use in their hospitals, and the millions of people around the world eating vegetarian not out of choice but poverty, the publication of counterculture-inspired vegetarian cookbooks beginning in the 1960s marked a turning point in culinary literature. What was once fringe, “rabbit food,” as my mother derisively called it, became mainstream.
The Moosewood cookbooks, begun by Molly Katzen, stemmed from the eponymous restaurant. The Moosewood Cookbook (1977) and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (1985) influenced American cooking in ways not yet studied.
One day, Alice Brock saw a tour bus coming up the drive to her restaurant and she suddenly remembered she was supposed to feed 40 people a full lunch. She didn’t have any soup made, so she improvised this Cream of Salt and Pepper Soup on the spot. Brock says, “Soup is any kind of food cooked in enough liquid to make eating it impossible with a fork.”
Sauté some onions in butter.
Add chicken stock and heat.
Just before serving, add fresh heavy cream.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
© 2010 C. Bertelsen