Why Are Sprouts and Yogurt Part of Our Diet?

How did organic staples like sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread become commonplace in our grocery stores and homes? Food journalist and former line cook Jonathan Kauffman talks about funky food history and cultural change in his new book Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat. Hear him in conversation with writer Gordon Edgar, cheese buyer at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative (the country’s largest retail worker co-op) at the Commonwealth Club. Cost: Non-members $35, Members $20, Students $10. Info and tickets: here or 415.597.6705

How Hippie Food Changed the Way We Eat: a Talk with Jonathan Kaufman on his new book
Tuesday January 30, 5:30pm (check-in), 6:30pm (program and book signing)
The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco

Kristina’s Bookshelf

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

by Jonathan Kauffman
(William Morrow, 2018)  

There was a time in the U.S. when dishes prepared with ingredients like tofu, whole grains, alfalfa sprouts, lentils, wheat germ, and even yogurt might have been described as “hippie food.” It was because they were thought to be foods enjoyed only by “counter culture” types with nontraditional tastes. But as time went by, appetites for hippie foods gave rise to health food stores, co-ops, food “conspiracies,” and organic agriculture. Those appetites also contributed to what later came to be known as California cuisine and a whole movement promoting fresh, seasonal, flavorful dishes prepared with minimal ingredients.
    A former chef, Jonathan Kauffman is currently a food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and a variety of other local publications. His new book examines the 1960s and ’70s to trace the colorful origins of once-unconventional foods and the various elements that converged to contribute to the evolution of a new American cuisine. The book includes history and anecdotes from all over the United States, but as Northern California is something of a crucible for the movement, it is not surprising that many of Kauffman’s stories are set in this region. Well-researched and carefully detailed with dozens of interviews, the book is a helpful contribution to the history of American food culture in the second half of the 20th century.
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations
with our readers.