It’s Cook the Books Club time and this one was a doozy.
The premise of the book, Hippie Food: Hoe Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman, is interesting enough.
The book follows the history or what is sometimes termed “hippie food” (as the title suggests). Here’s the thing though, with the internet and the sharing of cultures, are brown rice, lentils, and brown bread (and the like) still even referred to as hippie food anymore? Regardless of what it’s called now, in the 1970’s when these foods really started to take off in some subcultures in the US, it was called hippie food.
As I started reading, there were certainly some interesting tidbits, but between those tidbits, it was a slog, almost like reading a textbook. I got about halfway through the brown rice chapter when I started skimming. I read most of the brown bread chapter (as a bread baker, I thoroughly enjoyed that chapter. And after that I just lost interest.
One of the most interesting things I noted as I read was that the trend of hippie food started as a pursuit for optimal health and longevity...while on copious amounts of illicit drugs. Kinda mind boggling.
As luck would have it, right as I decided to be finished skimming the rest of the book, I came across a brown rice recipe as I was researching for a different blog event.
The fascinating part of this recipe that made me unable to turn away was the fact that the rice was cooked in coke! I thought it was perfect for hippie food. It reminded me of the conundrum of eating whole grains to be healthy paired with other very unhealthy aspects of their lives. The pairing of brown rice and coke, I thought, illustrated this perfectly.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect of this recipe. What stuck out most, however, was the sweetness from the coke. While I found it to be a little too much to eat just on its own, a scoop of rice along with a bite of roast pork was perfection!
Arroz con Coca-Cola (Brown Rice with Coca-Cola)
Adapted from My Colombia Recipes
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup diced onion
1 cup brown rice
1 (12 ounce) can coke
1 cup water or chicken broth
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly softened. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Serve immediately.