Cover of "common ground" magazine, March 2018 issue, featuring a close-up image of a red, textured surface with yellow spots, and various article titles overlaid in white and

March 2018

The Food Issue

Hippies and food—two subjects I sincerely love, not that I routinely think about them together. That is, until Jonathan Kauffman’s book came out last month. The title says it all: Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat—perfect for Common Ground. If you’re at all curious about the food you eat and/or cultural history, you’ll enjoy meeting Jonathan.

He grew up Mennonite in Indiana. His conscientious parents were deeply affected by Francis Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet. In their determination to reduce their ecological footprint they served their kids healthy yogurt, muesli, tofu stir-fries, sprouts, and lentil casseroles. This hippie food diet was significant, not just for its health benefits but because it snubbed the ecologically unfriendly processed food industry.

Jonathan’s parents were part of the counterculture that laid the groundwork for today’s the organic food movement. Jonathan’s personal story is SF-interesting in the way he broke from the Mennonite church, came out as a gay man, discovered Zen Buddhism, and became a respected food writer at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Jonathan’s interview got me thinking about cookbooks—they’re fascinating historiographical documents beyond their recipes as they provide a glimpse into the zeitgeist of ingredients, nutrition, morals, manners, and faddish trends. “Cookbooks Across Time” is a sometimes amusing pictorial of cookbooks from the Confederacy until today. On that note we thank Edward Espe Brown for his article “No Recipe: The Spiritual Benefits of Cooking.” As author of the 1970 classic Tassajara Bread Book, Edward has multiple mentions in this issue.

Stacy Malkan shares an important story about GMOs 2.0—they’re sneaky. It’s amazing to me that only a few years ago many educated people I knew were totally ignorant about GMOs. That’s changed, the Non-GMO label is ubiquitous, and GMOs have their deserved place in customer opinion—yuck. But that hasn’t stopped the industry from finding brave and insidious new ways to modify our food, unregulated and undetected. It’s like a seven-headed hydra. Be aware.

Thank you, Chef Mimi, for your story of how you became a health crusader in “Black Girls Don’t Eat Avocados: A Holistic View of Food Disparities in the Black Community.”

Thank you, Dr. Joseph Mercola, for sharing a comprehensive introduction to the ketogenic diet and to Michelle Cook, who offers practical expertise on fermented foods. Kitty Wells reminds us of humankind’s long torrid relationship with spices, while Lisa Durant shares a fun roundup of her favorite SF eateries.

In the spirit of the new relaxed pot laws, Stephen Gray offers a scientific— and fun— explanation as to why we get the munchies and whether we should expect to see more pot bellies as a result of legalization.

As ever, please show your appreciation of Common Ground by patronizing our sponsors, and please consider becoming an advertiser yourself. It’s a tax-deductible business expense and helps keep local independent media alive—a good thing.

See you on March 24 at the #MarchForOurLives rallies. The gun madness has to stop and kids are showing that the time is now.

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