Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Laurel's Kitchen

On the advice of both Laurie and Kelly, I purchased a (gently) used copy of Laurel's Kitchen using the Amazon gift certificate Linda sent to me.  (Wow, talk about six degrees....!)

You can get the newest publication, but I went for the original 1978 copy (for about $5!  Bargain of the year, I'm telling you what).  I'm so glad I did!  I can't speak to what changes, if any, have been made in any updated versions, but this one has the original introduction(s).  I do believe that even without the recipes/cookbook aspect of the book, I would have bought it for the colorful, folksy stories that star farm-girl transplant Hippie Laurel on the backdrop of Berkeley in the late 60s/early 70s.  I was completely charmed by the first 75 pages or so of this book!

This book is ultimately about being, or becoming, a vegetarian.   Hmmmmm....that's not exactly on my mind, so much as just eating well, so I don't think that's the path I'm on.  One of the things she talks about in the book is to sort of (lovingly, gently) dismiss 'fake meat' products.  Since she became a vegetarian for both moral and spiritual reasons, the idea of pretending to eat meat doesn't suit her.

But we are a simple folk, with no such moral or spiritual compass, and so I present to you what I like to call the Snausage Pizza.  I found a package of Gimme Lean sausage at Whole Foods, which is made from vegetable protein.  Oh!  Ha!  Gimme Lean...I just realized when I wrote you think it's a play on Jimmy Dean breakfast meat?  That would be funny!

Anyway, Tommy decided he liked sausage pizza, so we've made this Snausage Pizza a couple of times now, and he never even noticed that he's not eating meat.   And it's really tasty, too!  Although, if you're willing to eat chicken, I can't recommend this enough!  I made it for Maia and Lenny when they came over this weekend (they're back from London this summer for good, and I can't wait!!!) and we were all still talking about it 24 hours later. 

I have so much to say about what I'm learning from Laurel's Kitchen that I think I'm going to start a little 'series' under the "Laurels' Kitchen" label.  I'd love to hear other people's experiences, either with being vegetarian, or with making BIG changes in eating habits....


  1. Mia, I'm so glad you like the book! After you had written that you ordered a copy, I thought that even if you didn't use a lot of the recipes, you would like the writing in the book. I stopped eating meat when I was eighteen. At age nineteen, I went to live in Spain. I was cooking for myself (cookies and milk, anyone?) and my hair started falling out, so I added seafood to my diet. This has worked well for me over the years, with subtle changes all along the way. Now you have me thinking about my next blog :-) If I write about raising my kids vegetarian, they're sure to chime in too.

  2. Oh Mia, I am so happy for you! I just love my copy. I am not a vegetarian (I was for awhile in college) but even so, I love the spirit of the book--eating well with wholesome, fresh ingredients. I loved the hippie-ness of it back then and I still do (even though I don't think Laurel would think my life was very granola!) Looking forward to "Laurel's Kitchen" tagged posts. Maybe I will have to reread and do some companion posts!

  3. Laurie ~ I didn't realize that you eat seafood. Do you eat poultry and dairy, too? I love the writing of the book. It is so charming! You should consider writing a blog post here, perhaps as a guest...? Pretty please? :)

    Kelly ~ yes! Please do! I would love to hear more from you on the subject. It's so funny, I often find myself using the phrases "I'm that kind of hippie" or, conversely, "I'm not that kind of hippie"! So many shades of hippie on the dippie-spectrum. :)

  4. never heard of it! crazy! i HAVE to get it.

  5. and i agree - so many shades of hippyness!

  6. I love reading cookbooks, especially the hippyist types..........I'm keeping my eye out now.

  7. I think you will both love this book, though you may know or practice a lot of it already for all I know! It's just a beautiful book, though, and full of useful information. I was very pleased with my used-book purchase off of Amazon. :)