I Heart Hippie Food

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    Kauffman, this project is so brilliant. Thanks for it!

    I always understood, in the parlance of the times, where my parents were coming from about the food we ate. “Why can’t we have the big, unblemished peaches? Why do we have to have the organic ones that are small and ugly? Well, because organic food is better for the planet, better for us, and better for the people who tend and pick the food. And we’re investing our money, because we can (Not everyone can, and that’s OK. We are lucky.) in this idea, and someday, Hiya, someday lots of people will grow organic food, and it will be much better than the other chemical food, and the earth will be happier.” And that’s what happened; it’s incredible, and a consistent inspiration.

    I also want to be up-front: My mother is the best kind of chocoholic, and never would have dreamed of telling us carob was chocolate. Instead, she gave us carob chips along with our nuts and raisins, and just said it was yummy. She was right, and we were fine with it. Unlike some of our friends, who were traumatized by the lie, the bad, bad lie their parents told. I imagine those families are still living with the repercussions of telling their kids carob was chocolate.

    All that said, they put orange juice in jello. If you’ve never seen jello made with orange juice in place of water, hear my report: It looks like barf. The fact that it’s “better for you” doesn’t carry any weight at all for a child faced with this mess. Dyeing Easter eggs brown I could take. Brushing my teeth with baking soda, no problem. And weeding the garden or having to walk across chicken poop to gather poop-covered eggs in the mornings before school I understood perfectly, see above. But orange juice jello, hell no. It wasn’t right. As an experiment, it became an imbalanced compromise, because the potential was never strong enough to begin with. Replacing already-healthy water (In our case, well water, so natural that it sometimes came to us in goopy chunks of rust-colored mineral pap, a terrible color that wasn’t improved by nor did it improve the avocado-colored bathroom fixtures of our single-wide, which it permanently stained.) with orange juice held only weak nutritional promise at the outset. And I believe any “more Vitamin C!” as my Linus-Pauling-loving mother would have insisted it had was offset by the revulsion level of the subject, me.

    It’s the pulp, you see, that constitutes the forceful visual problem with orange juice jello, since the widespread cultural expectation of jellied preparations is their clarity, first and foremost. Shine. Sparkle. The addition of yellowish, opaque fluid in place of clear water would on its own be less than ideal, since it would eliminate the clear appearance. But the clotted look and slightly textured mouthfeel of orange *pulp* deals the dish its first death-blow; nothing could be barfier. But wait, you’re thinking; lots of good food looks like barf. This is true! The orange juice jello’s objectionability shows up, in the absolute final analysis, in relation to the second great attribute of jellied dishes: The wobble. Trust me, you just don’t want to see barf wobble, let alone eat it and thank your mother.

    I have discussed this issue with my mother, who freely admits her guilt. Like a hippie, she’s totally up for change, especially when it springs from critical thinking. She’s not afraid of her own emotions, or mine. At the same time, she has the courage of her convictions, and points out that in the 1970s, she and her community were trying to change *everything,* which wasn’t easy. They were also trying to save *the world,* which wasn’t obvious. So if small mistakes were made along the way, she doesn’t fault herself. I don’t either, even as gross as orange juice in jello was. The hippies did change everything, we did get organic food, the earth is happier, and they did save the world. I’ll take nuclear nonproliferation treaties and the continued existence of whales any day over clear jello. I only hope I can live up to the courage, persistence, and huge dreams of those hippies, while leaving aside their need to put orange juice in jello.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  hswanh.
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