Review: Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman


The Story

Elkhart, Indiana, born Jonathan Kauffman traces the story of the Natural Foods movement in America starting with his memories of his own mother’s cooking.  He explores each movement, diet, guru, book in a fun way. This is a great read for anyone, but foodies will love it. It would be a perfect Christmas gift for the food-freak on your list, too!

My Thoughts and Some Memories and Recipes

I really enjoyed this on audio. It was like reliving my own early adulthood. My first job was as a clerk in a wholesale warehouse bagging natural foods sold by the pound to individuals on Saturday morning and to the sort of food buying co-ops he discusses in the book during the rest of the week. I made countless batches of carob chip cookies, too, while volunteering in the office of my Congressman that summer as well.


I went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington–a town with a Co-op grocery store (that I never visited–it was too long of a walk from where I lived). I loved the “Health Nut” sandwich at the I.U. library cafe–whole wheat “Wonder Bread.” a slab of American cheese, chicken, a pineapple-nut sauce, tomato slice and, naturally, those delicious grass-like alfalfa sprouts (actually, come to think of it, they ARE grass sprouts!). Delicious! Great vegetarian food, even in 1980, could be had several places, but the Tao and Rudi’s Bakery were the best. Here are their cookbook and my favorite recipe–their HUGE poppy seed cake.


As I learned to cook I bought more cookbooks. Back in the 80’s cookbooks, cooking magazines and women’s magazines were the ways in which recipes and food trends and fads were communicated.  I also enjoyed watching cooking shows on PBS–remember, Food TV, the Pioneer Woman, Jamie Oliver, and all the others were far in the future. The Frugal Gourmet was one of the first I liked–I still love a few of his recipes to this day, regardless of what became of him personally.


In Peace Corps, in the late 80’s nearly everyone brought one of these cookbooks. I was surprised to learn that “protein complementarianism” was debunked as not necessary. Not harmful, just not a dire need.  We were taught that in Peace Corps training. I took Diet for a Small Planet with me, as did several others. The other big favorite was More With Less. I also have the Living More With Less book which was about living simply and frugally. In the end, I used the locally produced Peace Corps Malawi cookbook the most for obvious reasons.

Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman

Recipes from my natural food binges

Here are some old favorites from the books above or other cookbooks and one from a magazine. While I haven’t made Complimentary Pie or the Six Layer Soybean Casserole in decades, I do still love Roman Beans and Rice and the quiche–which I make with fresh broccoli, carrots, green pepper, onion, and garlic. We love it. I treat “whole” or “natural” recipes like this just like any other cuisine–they are a part of my eating, never a strict diet.


I’ve always loved this salad just as it is. I imagine it should be made with feta, but that was hard to get in the early 1970’s. I would love it with that, too. Israeli Salad from the Moosewood cookbooks.


This quiche, as I said, is still a family favorite. A friend makes it with Velveeta and while I don’t use that product, it does make an unbelievably creamy quiche.


The 1970’s classic from Diet For A Small Planet


Roman Rice and Beans–Peace Corps staple and still on my menu today. I’ve never used kidney beans, but have used pintos or white beans. Diet For A Small Planet


Six Layer Soybean Casserole– I always used V-8 Juice and often more spices and garlic–this is from a La Lache League cookbook, so garlic wasn’t in many recipes.

There are so many more I could share–these are just a sampling. Enjoy!



4 thoughts on “Review: Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman

  1. what a neat post — brings back many memories to me too. Carob chips — haven’t thought of them in a while! While I don’t have those particular cookbooks, they have a very familiar look. Enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

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