As far as food goes, Kauffman focuses mainly on the vegetarian aspect of "hippie food", which I don't think really merited all that emphasis. We had a very short period of interest in vegetarianism while backpacking in Southeast Asia, China and Japan, before acquiring our parcel of land in Hawaii. So would agree with what he said (page 198) about the counterculture taking up "the idea of eating as a political act and converted millions of people to vegetarianism, at least for a year or two." But, helping at our food c-op, making home cooked meals, granola, and bread, cutting out processed foods, and trying to stay with organically raised produce, was definitely a priority for us then and remains so. I have researched the subject, and would encourage everyone to do that. Find out for yourself why eating organically raised, less processed food is so important.
Kauffman covered numerous large and small activist movements, splinter groups, communes, leaders, organizers, food co-ops, hippy style cafes, restaurants, health food and natural food stores, etc., etc., very historical, but a lot of it didn't resonate all that much with me. TMI, and not all to do with food, though there was plenty of food inspiration in the book overall.
Thus, when he mentioned a particular vegetarian restaurant serving Barley and Mushroom Spinach Rolls, that's what I hit on. Who knows where in the book it was? My Kindle died, just when I'd finished reading it, so now it's not available to go back and check. Until next week when my new one arrives. All things being equal. I usually make my spinach rolls with a meat filling, so this is an homage to Kauffman's version of hippie food - vegetarian. If you use a vegetable only stock, that is. More about my particular garden spinach here.
On that subject, albeit nothing to do with the book, except in a round about way, at this moment I have a large ham curing in brine in my fridge's crisper drawer. Which is its own story. Our good friends had pigs wrecking havoc in their garden, so my intrepid grandson took one out the other night and gave us a 7 lb.leg. I immediately thought - that's what ham is made from! Right? So....the rest is history in the making. I was very happy to find a recipe for the "city cure", not having a smokehouse or the kind of cold weather needed to let it hang out for a so-called country cure. The fat of the land here. Only one of the reasons we are not vegetarians. But I digress.
I found this lovely recipe for the Mushroom Barley Spinach Rolls at Food.com, and made a few adaptations. Sounds as though there are some Polish roots here.
- Cut the core from the cabbage. Bring a very large amount of water to a boil in a deep stockpot and carefully drop the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water. Parboil for 10 to 15 minutes, until leaves are soft and pliable. Remove head of cabbage from water with a two-pronged fork inserted into the coring hole, with a wide spatula for supporting the bottom. Drain and let cool. Or, if using spinach leaves, just very briefly par-boil the leaves first- 5 seconds or so.
- When cabbage has cooled, carefully separate the leaves and stack them together. With a small, sharp knife cut and remove an inverted "V" out from the thick part of the ribs, so the leaves will lie flat.
- Melt the butter in a nonstick pan and sauté the onions until wilted. Add the mushrooms and barley and cook for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice through parsley and cook for 1 minute, then set aside to cool.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each cabbage leaf; smaller leaves take less, larger leaves take more. Fold the sides of each leaf over the filling first, then roll up from the cut stem side to enclose the filling, like making a loose burrito. Do not over-fill, or roll too tightly, or they will burst from the expansion while cooking!
- Place the rolls seam-side-down in one layer in a large skillet or sauté pan with deep sides. Slowly pour the hot stock around the rolls, cover, and simmer over very low heat for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If using spinach and pre-cooked barley, this should be ½ hour-45 min. max.
- Remove the rolls and place them in one layer on a serving platter and keep them warm while preparing the sauce.
- Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a cup; there should be about 1/3 cup. Strain the liquid, wipe out the skillet, and return the strained liquid to it. Stir in the sour cream and the dill. Cook over very low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the cabbage rolls and serve at once.
This was a lovely, delicate tasting dish, with subtler flavors than my usual meat fillings. I served it over egg noodles, and with a bit of my homemade Kim Chi on the side. We both liked it a lot.
There's still plenty of time for you to read this current selection, and cook up something to post about. By May 31st. Bring it to the party, all are welcome! Cook the Books Club. Check the link for the rules. I'll also share this link at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event, with Heather for the April Foodies Read Challenge, and thanks Mae, adding in a new link to In My Kitchen (IMK), hosted by Sherry in Australia. It fits with my new use for a fridge crisper drawer, and of course the cooking.