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How 'Hippie Food' Changed The Way We Eat

Yep, it's us. Stein & Leson circa 1974
Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX

"Stein, were you a hippie?" Nancy asked.  Well, I had the hair then (sigh) but no interest in the food.

Which led us straight into a discussion of '70s longhair cuisine.  Jonathan Kauffman's new book Hippie Food is a fascinating history of how the counterculture back then changed the way we eat today.

As I recount to Nancy in this segment I was never much of a fan of so-called hippie cooking back then.  Mainly because much of what I sampled was so badly prepared.  I'm convinced the aesthetic was that the less appealing the food, the healthier. Which is a shame since there were plenty of good cookbooks to guide would-be healthful cooks, some of which are still classics.

Nancy says she's still making the cream of spinach soup from The Moosewood CookbookLaurel's Kitchen andThe Tassajara Bread Bookwere cooking bibles of the times, and still favorites.

That healthful food movement back then has had an enormous impact on the way America eats today.  Foods that were once thought only for "flakes and hippies" are now available in mainstream supermarkets everywhere.

Credit Nancy Leson
You pays yer money and you takes yer choice.

And of course food coops such as  Central Co-op and  PCC, once niche markets, are now successful, mainstream stores.  

Jonathan Kauffman appears Tuesday, February 27th at Town Hallin Seattle to read from and discuss   Hippie Food.

"When you find yourself on the side of the majority it's time to stop and reflect." – Mark Twain

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.