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Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  548 ratings  ·  114 reviews
2019 James Beard Award Nominee

An enlightening narrative history—an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan—that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine.

Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journ
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by William Morrow
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  548 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman is a 2018 William Morrow publication.

Informative and educational!!

This well- researched book delves into the way the sixties counterculture raised awareness and concerns about preservatives and other food additives, and changed our eating habits, incorporating brown rice, wheat bread, tofu, and organics into mainstream consciousness, and into supermarkets. These foods now grace our tables as everyday staples, a far cry from the white rice, white flour, and packa
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was an extremely informative and utterly fascinating read on the conception of "hippie food". Divided into chapters that included the birth of macrobiotic philosophy, organic farming, health food restaurants; Moosewood, to food Co-ops, this book explored the how, when, why, and where of all things "hippie". I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the book I've wanted to read for years on the food revolutions of the late 60s and the 70s, and how they gradually shifted the whole US food scene. Kaufman interviewed the aging flower children and farmers and restaurateurs who were there, he's funny, and he managed to make an organized and entertaining book out of a baggy monster of material.
Jenn "JR"
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-ag-history
Reading "Hippie Food" was fascinating -- it revealed the history of so many of the food traditions that I have cherished for decades. The histories go back to the late 19th century when earlier proponents of eating healthier food challenged the increasing control of industry over the foods that people ate.

He covers a lot of territory: health and fitness aficionados who opened restaurants, how baking bread (esp brown bread!) and providing free food was a revolutionary act; the rise of brown rice
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hippie Food is rigorously researched and entertainingly written, but falls short significantly in recognizing the contributions of non-whites in the popularization of brown rice and macrobiotics, vegetarianism and tofu.

Author Jonathan Kauffman notes in the introduction of the book:
"One of the uncomfortable, even painful, inadequacies of this movement, which became clear to me with each new chapter I researched, was how white it was....Over and over again, counterculture publications would ask: W
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
"And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here" - Talking Heads.
This book, which I won from a goodreads giveaway explains how we (in the USA, which is its focus) got from a place of canned foods, casseroles and processed meats to a place where you can buy organic greens and tofu in Wal-Mart and you can use Amazon Prime for discounts at Whole Foods. It doesn't tell you how you should eat (see Michael Pollen for that, he does a fine job) but just tells the story of the misfits, hippies, healt
Susan Sherman
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great! I was there. My boyfriend at the time pulled me into the basement Erewhon on Newbury St and stated we were on a bad eating trip. I was young and must have looked stupid as Root gave me a long lecture on how to cook brown rice. I had all of these cookbooks at one time. I don't have an obsessive personality, so I used a part of each and still do. To me the best part of that movement was "back to the land", where I went and stayed with all my gardens. We were so altruistic weren't we? Am I g ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been a self-taught cook since the age of 12. Two of the cookbooks that were important to me as a young cook were early 1980s editions of hippie cookbooks, The New Laurel’s Kitchen and Whole Foods for the Whole Family. Before I ever baked a fluffy loaf of challah I struggled with a sticky loaf of whole wheat bread from Laurel’s bread chapter.
So when I came across Hippie Food I was eager to read how those dense, earnest foods came to be. Hippie Food delivers, with rambling chapters about c
Jan 17, 2018 marked it as physical_to-read_stack
I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaway.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met my husband to be just before Earth Day at a food coop organizational meeting with the students and the American Friends Service Committee at Caltech. The book's story parallels our experiences with natural food, the back to the land movement and cooperative, democratic organizations. I still cook whole grains and buy organic foods. My son's first job while in high school was at a worker owned and run natural food store. It was a nostalgia trip reading about our contemporaries. The good thi ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads, biography
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
Thank God for the Hippie food revolution. Without it we would still be eating Wonder bread and Green Giant canned and frozen vegetables. I enjoyed reading how these people rejected the direction food production was heading in the 60s and we now are reaping the benefits. I was raised by gardeners (a huge garden) and would not of touched anything that was made by corporate farming but I realize I am not the norm in my generation so the swing back to organic and l
Geoffrey Benn
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
We listened to the audiobook version of “Hippie Food” by Jonathan Kauffman while (appropriately) on a road trip up the Northern California coast. The book attempts to tell the origin story of the cuisine that will be familiar to readers who shop at food co-ops, visit vegetarian restaurants, or grew up with liberal parents from the baby boom generation. The book starts with a sort of pre-history by reviewing some of the major nutritional fads that swept the country before world war two – fads lik ...more
Linda Brunner
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Talking about my generation here people and most of the cookbooks in my kitchen. At one time or another that is and a few originals still hanging in there at this very moment.

This book was a kinda cool sound track to my culinary life's story although I was propelled as much by poor health in my late teens (thanks in part to growing up eating the standard American trash diet) as the trends of the times.

Loved the change of diet in the 70's to real, tasty, creative, live food. And still do. And i
Prima Seadiva
3.5 stars
Library Audiobook reader okay, sometimes had a more sarcastic tone than I liked.

This was pretty interesting because I was one of those hippies who still eats "natural foods" and indeed made a career working with food in various ways.
What a flashback.

My original gateway was macrobiotics so that section was like a serious flashback of time, place and people. I got involved in macrobiotics via an ex husband. We spent some time in Boston going to Michio's lectures, I still recall Michio say
Sian Lile-Pastore
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookery-and-food
This book was totally my kind of thing! I love reading about hippie food and nutrition and the 60s and 70s and health food stores and so on! I really enjoyed reading this, but thought the writing could've been a bit better at times....
Anara Guard
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I moved to the Twin Cities in the late 70s and found work at North Country Co-op as a produce buyer. I procured fruits and veggies from the farmers' market, Fruits and Roots, and the People's Warehouse. I ate meals at Seward and Riverside Cafes. Bikes came from Freewheel Co-op, clothing and sewing patterns from a general store co-op on Riverside Boulevard, spices from Red Star Co-op, and cheese from the Cheese Rustlers. We went to the free clinic for health care and listened to Fresh Air Radio ( ...more
LeAnn Locher
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book but I love cultural anthropology and especially when we look to food for reflection of cultural shifts and norms. It's easy to think that the issues or new trends we face today are new and unique: they are not and can easily be seen originating from generations before us. I loved learning about the rise of the organic movement, granola, vegetarianism, co-ops, tofu and their integral connection to politics. It's from a white privileged perspective and the author points this out. ...more
Wendy Wagner
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-drink
A nice overview of the history of "health nut" foods, mostly focused on the 1950s-1980. There are lots of oversized personalities and crazy food theories in here, which makes it a really fun read. But most of all, it's kind of amazing how little has changed in our thoughts on what makes food healthy--the real changes have been in what makes food *tasty*.

The ending, though, a recounting of the ways the anticapitalist counterculture faded away, is pretty depressing.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first third of this book deals with food history before the hippie era of the late sixties.

Seventh Day Adventists led the vegetarian crusade for a hundred years. A vision guided followers to give up meat, milk and eggs. The sect founded a health sanitarium in Battle Creek, whose head physician, John Kellogg, made it famous. Kellogg, a vegetarian, created Granola before finding greater success with corn flakes.

Canning, freezing and other forms of food processing evolved in the nineteenth an
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really really enjoyed this book. My husband and I attempted to be vegetarians back in high school circa 1973-4. We were again for 17 years after we were married because he read a Time-Life article on CAFO farming while we were standing in line at the grocery store. (We drove straight to my parent's house and gave all the meat we had just bought to my mom.) Each time it fell by the wayside for whatever reason; lack of support, lack of available ingredients, and maybe more specifically, the inab ...more
Jenifer Jacobs
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book brought me back to my childhood. Much of the descriptions resonated with my memories (particularly the part about "a generation traumatized by carob". I am sure my parents, who were part of the food revolution (and never left it!), would understand even more than I do. It actually gives me hope for the future, in seeing the arc of how the backlash of the the 80's and 90's eventually manifested in the globalization of organic and local food. And, as always, it makes me grateful that (al ...more
I enjoyed this book. I appreciated that it didn't treat the subject of veganism (when it was mentioned) with disrespect and recognized that hippie food has come a long way, to be incredibly tasty & easy to make.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun but sometimes repetitive survey of how the social revolution of the 60s and 70s changed the ways Americans grow, sell, cook, and eat food. Some of the history of food co-ops really started to drag on, but overall, this is a great read for anyone who is interested in American foodways.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
A history of food changes starting in the 1960s and the hippie subculture and how they changed the way America eats even today. Once it was impossible to find brown rice and yogurt, today they are everywhere. An interesting read for anyone who lived through those years, and also for anyone who is interested in what the '60s were really like.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book! I’ve always enjoyed the whole health-food store scene. I didn’t grow up on this food like the author but I’ve enjoyed discovering foods tempeh and nutritional yeast. Learning the social history behind a lot of this was fun and really got my wheels turning about the spiritual and even religious role food may be taking in a our current post-modern/post-religious society.
James Brown
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! I was visiting Ann Arbor on the very first Earth Day. I was living near Pittsburgh at the time, I was 30 (during the don’t trust anyone over 30 era) and I was just starting to wake up as to what I was putting into my body. I had quit smoking cigarettes the year before. My diet was mostly meat and potato based. I also consumed hard liquor. Well, that afternoon after the Earth Day Parade, my friend and I accidentally wandered into the Eden Foods natural grocery store. My life an ...more
Corey Wrenn
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sociological, journalistic, and cultural approach to food movements of the 1960s-1980s. The author makes an effort to explore intersections of class, race, and gender in the construction of food culture, and also identifies the difficulties of capitalist influence and democratic decisionmaking. Was disappointed that so little attention was granted to veganism and vegetarianism. In fact, on chapter on vegetarianism offered little in the way of actual vegetarian movement processes. Next to no me ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
To be totally honest, I thought this book was going to try to convert me to a vegan lifestyle or at the very least, make me feel bad about eating my beloved steak and bacon.
This is a food history book.
It explores and explains how tofu became such a big deal in the U.S., why our mothers all of a sudden started feeding us bread with seeds in it in the 70s, when the term "organic" became the buzz word for "snooty-yet-down-to-earth-in-a-reverse-snobbery" so
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, audio-book, 2018
This book covers two subjects that I especially like- food and history. For awhile, when I was young, many of the adults in my life were hippies so this book reminded me of a time when I was a kid. I'm surprised that brown rice grew in favor in the 60's or 70's. Wasn't it always sold at grocery stores?! And stores sold quinoa back then, too?! I thought that was new to stores about 5 years ago. There's nothing new under the sun - not even quinoa!
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking-food, farming
In Hippie Food Jonathan Kauffman shows how the back-to-the-land and hippie food movements of the 1960's and 70's transformed America's food culture. When the hippie movement started food wasn't at the forefront, but it quickly became another area that could be revolutionized against the mainstream. Kauffman explores several themes and foods of the counter-cultural era and how now those foods and ideas are considered normal and mainstream - things like tofu and brown rice, organic farming, and co ...more
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Jonathan Kauffman grew up in a lentil-loving Mennonite family in Northern Indiana in the 1970s. He went to college in the Twin Cities and then moved to San Francisco. After working as a line cook for a number of years, he left the kitchen for what seemed at the time like the more lucrative world of journalism.

Jonathan was a restaurant critic for 11 years in the Bay Area and Seattle (East Bay Expr
“I share the same scuffed wood table with several white guys in their sixties reading the Seattle Times over their huevos rancheros and a group of stout, fleece-clad women debating whether they’re going to order the tempeh or the tofu burger because both sound “soooo good.” These are my people. This is the food I have been surrounded by all my life.” 0 likes
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