Hippie Food

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

Hippie Food Book

Hippie Food tells the story of how spiritual seekers, communards, and activists created a new American cuisine out of brown rice, whole-wheat bread, sprouts, and soybeans.

Call it a brown rice revolution.

The legacy of the 1960s and 1970s is usually defined as one of leftist politics and of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But the counterculture also reshaped the way most of us eat.

Why exactly did young Americans in the 1960s start eating brown rice and whole-wheat bread? How did alfalfa sprouts, tofu, and tahini make their way to tiny towns all across the country? Why (I ask, with a retroactive howl of anguish) were so many children forced to eat carob candy?

The natural-foods cuisine of the 1970s didn’t emerge out of a vacuum – it gathered up a century’s worth of fringe health movements, charged them with the political spirit of the times, and infused them with the flavors of Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

Hippie Food traces the surprising connections that formed this unique cuisine and tells the stories of cooks both famous and obscure. It also looks at how this food movement reshaped the way we all eat today.

Finalist for the Art of Eating and James Beard Awards, 2019

Named one of the best food books of 2018 by the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines

Reviewed in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

Photo is of the collectively run New Riverside crew, mid 1970s. Credit: Eve MacLeish


I thought I knew this story ... but Kauffman has added a lot to it, in the way of both fresh information and narrative verve. ​
In this informative, briskly paced first book, James Beard Award–winning food writer Kauffman details how the concept of health food “evolved in the kitchens of young baby boomers” during the late 1960s counterculture and then in the post-Vietnam age. ... This is an outstanding food and cultural history.
Publishers Weekly
Starred review