FOOD: Transforming the American Table

Reforming Restaurants

Moving beyond experimental home cooking and communal kitchens, alternative groups turned to restaurants as a means of inviting people to the experience of eating differently. Among these were places with vegetarian cuisine, from the Moosewood collective in Ithaca, New York, to Greens restaurant and Tassajara Bakery in California. Across the country, every college town’s “health food” eatery was also part of this trend.

I read Diet for a Small Planet and felt truly guilty about my misuse of natural resources, but a life of unpalatable foodstuffs seemed harsh. Then I got the Moosewood Cookbook . . . and discovered that it was possible to eat tasty meatless meals that didn’t feel like sacrifice.

—Letter to cookbook author Mollie Katzen

Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Promoted at first by “back-to-the-landers” and feminists, the Moosewood restaurant and cookbook became culinary touchstones for those interested in alternative foodways.

Gift of Helene Quick

Recipe, Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Recipe, Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Courtesy of Mollie Katzen and Ten Speed Press

Recipe, Walnut Lentil Burger, Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Recipe, Walnut Lentil Burger, Moosewood Cookbook, 1977

Courtesy of Mollie Katzen Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

The Tassajara Bread Book, 1970

The Tassajara Bread Book, 1970

Gift of Rayna Green

The San Francisco Zen Center recruited Edward Espe Brown, a Buddhist monk, to open the Tassajara Bakery. It made artisanal, whole-grain breads and supplied restaurants and customers newly interested in food that supported their health. Brown’s book inspired many people to bake bread at home.

The Political Palate, 1984

The Political Palate, 1984

The Bloodroot Restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut, prepared only vegetarian food “for ethical and political reasons.” The Bloodroot Collective produced several cookbooks featuring seasonal recipes and feminist perspectives.

The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant, 1987

The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant, 1987

Gift of Rayna Green