Friday, August 4, 2017

Cooking With the Dead by Elizabeth Zipern (1995)

This is not a zombie cookbook. This is a cookbook made up of the stories and recipes of the folks who followed the Grateful Dead around from show to show, and frequently acted as food vendors to pay for their travel.

Me, I'm not much of a Grateful Dead fan. Their music was okay, but I never sought it out. I picked up this cookbook because I found the fan culture interesting, the way people would travel on the road with them and feed each other. I keep it because of the stories of the people. They talk about how and why they do what they do. Some are constantly on the road, some hit half a dozen shows in the summer, and all of them talk about what they make and why and how they make it. There's usually a picture of the person who contributed the story and the recipe.

The recipes are all vegetarian. They sound like perfectly good, way-too-healthy recipes.  I have made none of them. I have no problem with vegetarian recipes, but these hit a slight phobia of mine: that of "happy hippie food". I have no problem with hippies either, but when I come across a lot of recipes with tofu, hemp seed, "vegan", I flash back to my earliest experiences with hippie/vegan food in my youth.  It took me a long time after to believe that lentils could be enjoyable things. I have no problem with hippies or vegans, but LEARN TO COOK BEFORE YOU FEED OTHER PEOPLE.
Bleah.  Brown rice and lentils are both wonderful ingredients, but when cooked in plain water with no other items they can taste like wet cardboard.

I got way off topic there. There is nothing about this cookbook to suggest that the recipes would taste like wet cardboard. They look delicious. But it is the stories of the people that keeps this one on my shelf.

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