Jonathan Kauffman is a food writer at San Francisco Chronicle and the author of Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat (2018), his debut book and a fascinating one on the history of food in American kitchens. 

Kauffman spent 5 years researching and writing this book that makes for an absorbing read. The book takes you through a rich and somewhat of a hidden history on how new foods entered American kitchens and diet. He shares how brown rice, tofu and other food items became a staple in American kitchens over the years and not just in the 1960s. For example, Sylvester Graham who lived in the 1930s was the first “vegetarian” advocate in America and he in turn influenced the Seventh-day Adventists, who emphasized the importance of following a vegetarian diet. Dr. John Kellogg was a Seventh-day Adventist and the inventor of the modern breakfast cereals. Cereals quickly became a staple breakfast item in America.

A new impetus for fresh and natural food was born during the 1960s counter culture movement.There was quite a bit of push back from Government regulators that sugar and processed food was fine to consume. The 1960s was also the time when there was a rise in food co-op movements around the country. The 1960s was also the time that flying internationally became a viable economic option for many young people, who travelled around the world and brought back culinary influences to America.

If you fast forward to the 21st c there is a new Hippie food movement shares Kauffman. There is a renewed awareness and demand for fresh food around the country he adds.

Jonathan Kauffman’s conversation is part of our series Interviews with Authors, Artists and Musicians.

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