Counterculture—From Hippies to Foodies

Food: A Cultural Culinary History—Episode 34

Hello, Great Courses fans. This audio-podcast has been cooked, removed from the oven, and is being lovingly delivered to a new audio-platform. In its absence, please enjoy the video series that it was based off, streaming now Wondrium. Click here to watch it now.

The following episode transcript and images will remain for posterity. Enjoy!

In today’s podcast we’re going to explore the backlash against processed food in the late 20th century. We’ll see the rise of the health food movement and new dietary ideologies. And we’ll see how this ushers in a vibrant new era in food that creates things like artisan food producers, “slow food” culture, and farmers’ markets.

Images for this Episode:

Culinary Activities for this Episode:

• Vegetarian Tofu Chili

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed a range of new ingredients, many of which derived from Asian cuisines but were incorporated in interesting, new ways in conventional American cuisine in the interest of health, vegetarianism, or simply novelty. The following is one worth keeping and is in line with counterculture values. It will taste better if eaten wearing sandals and a tiedyed t-shirt—and listening to the Grateful Dead.

Take one block of extra-firm tofu, and crumble it up with your fingers, squeezing out any extra moisture. Heat a frying pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil, and fry the crumbled tofu on low temperature, stirring often, until lightly browned and crispy. Add to this a finely chopped onion, finely chopped green and red bell peppers, and a chopped serrano chili pepper.

Season with salt, cumin, and oregano. Continue frying until vegetables are slightly browned and the spices are fragrant. Next, add some ground chili powder or paprika. To this, add some vegetable stock, either canned or made from carrot peelings, onions, celery leaves, and other vegetable scraps. Also add some chopped tomatoes. Continue cooking until the tomatoes have fallen apart and the chili has thickened. Serve with brown rice.

Suggested Reading:

Belasco, Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took On the Food Industry.

Johnston, Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape.

Kamp, The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution.

Kaufman, A Short History of the American Stomach.

Oddy, From Plain Fare to Fusion Food: British Diet from the 1890s to the 1990s.

Teuteberg, European Food History: A Research Review.

Images courtesy of:

• Hippies on their way to woodstock: By Ric Manning – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Rachel Carson: By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Francis Moore Lappe: By Small Planet Institute (Author) CC BY-SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Mediterranean Diet: Thinkstock
• Alice Waters: By usbotschaftberlin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
• Wendell Berry: By Guy Mendes, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Julia Child: By KUHT [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
• Kiwi Fruit: Thinkstock
• Microbrewery: Thinkstock
• Goat Cheese: By Abalg (own product) CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
• Farmer’s Market: Thinkstock