"A proven bowel conditioner"
February 1, 2018 7:27 AM   Subscribe

A wry disgruntlement will forever unite those of us who were children during the height of the nineteen-seventies natural-foods movement. It was a time that we recall not for its principles—yes to organics, no to preservatives—but for its endless assaults on our tender young palates. There was brown rice that scoured our molars as we chewed, shedding gritty flecks of bran. There was watery homemade yogurt that resisted all attempts to mitigate its tartness. And, at the pinnacle of our dietary suffering, worse even than sprout sandwiches or fruit leather or whole-wheat scones, there was carob, the chocolate substitute that never could.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (258 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
OMG THANK YOU I AM ONE OF THOSE 1970s CHILDREN!!

Is there a place where we can hang out?
posted by Melismata at 7:31 AM on February 1 [36 favorites]


Oh, yes, carob....I was a teen during those years but I remember that abomination. And it WAS an abomination!!!!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:34 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]


I think I still have some carob lodged in my lower GI tract like some sort of bezoar.

I, too, am one of those '70s children.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:34 AM on February 1 [15 favorites]


Ugh carob. Carob that left you suspicious when someone else's mom offered you an unfamiliar "treat".
posted by crush at 7:34 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


No discussion of that time and scene is complete without a mention of TVP.

Carob has mostly passed from the scene, but TVP endures. Maybe even some of the SAME TVP from its Carter administration heyday*.

That stuff will still be here when the sun goes nuclear, I assume.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:36 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


The blight of 10,000 bake sales.
posted by bonehead at 7:37 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Oy, we came a little late to the craze in the early 80's. Due to my hyperactive brother, my mom decided to reduce/eliminate sugar from out diets. Goodbye chocolate chip cookies, hello carob cookies with honey. She eventually shifted back except for the occasional batch for my brother, all of which I think she tried to choke down while eating them with him.
posted by Badgermann at 7:37 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I gave carob a legitimate chance back in the day. I think if it hadn't been marketed to me as a chocolate substitute I might have given it more of a chance. As it stands, it's sort of like when I go to Taco Bell and ask for Dr. Pepper and am suggested root beer as a substitute.
posted by hippybear at 7:38 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


Oh God, that stuff was awful. I was a teenager in the 70s and often fell in with somewhat older hippies. I remember waxy carob bars and Mexican ditch weed.
posted by LarryC at 7:38 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


This continued into the 80s. I remember the carob chip granola bars. I really wish I didn't. I think I had them up until the age of 7 or 8. (This is also when my parents relented and let me get a toy gun, something that I think is not unrelated.) I think the chocolate elimination might have been for the same reasons as Badgermann's brother. (We eventually found a dietary product that actually helped- 16 ounce bottles of Mt. Dew.)

Carob may be amazing. But I will never be able to give it a chance. And if I have kids I will never put in any substitutes for items in recipes unless they have actual dietary conditions.
posted by Hactar at 7:40 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I remember waxy carob bars and Mexican ditch weed.

If you claim to remember being with hippies in the 70s, were you actually there?
posted by hippybear at 7:40 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I seem to recall actually liking something that had carob. Some kind of trail mix with carob chips, maybe.

But then a few years later I was microwaving bologna sandwiches to watch them curl up, microwaving bowls of Fritos with a slice of American "cheese" on top, and drinking Crystal Pepsi. So what did I know?
posted by Foosnark at 7:42 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


What?! I loved carob! I used to buy the most delicious ice cream sandwiches made with carob chip cookies and honey ice cream. IT'S NOT CHOCOLATE and it's not supposed to be!
posted by HotToddy at 7:42 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]


I am sure my experiences with carob were why I was able to understand Douglas Adams' saying, "something almost, but not quite entirely unlike tea" on a bone-deep level when I first read it.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:42 AM on February 1 [49 favorites]


I have distant memories of carob in the '80s. I don't remember it being repulsive, but it definitely wasn't chocolate. It was just sort of... there. I'd actually be curious to try it again.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:43 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this definitely continued into the 80s. A friend's mother's boyfriend worked at some kind of natural foods store or possibly factory and so their house was filled with crappy "snacks" that were more punishment than treat. Ugh.

As adults, we make hundreds of carob-like dietary substitutions in the name of good health. We shave summer squash into long spirals and deceive ourselves that it’s anything like pasta.

We sure as shit do not, sir.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:44 AM on February 1 [76 favorites]


There was nothing more disappointing than cramming a handful of trail mix into your maw and only then realizing it was full of.... *shudder* ... carob chips. Why, Bobby's mom, why?!
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:45 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


We sure as shit do not, sir.

It's possible that this response will appear all over MF and possibly the rest of the internet within a few days.
posted by hippybear at 7:46 AM on February 1 [34 favorites]


This is still going strong. We were at a crunchy daycare for awhile and one of the parents gave my kid a "cookie" made with LENTILS
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 7:46 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


You can still buy carob chocolate chips at any legit grocery store. In my opinion, in a chocolate chip cookie they are fine, but eaten alone you can really tell a difference. Enjoy Life is a common brand.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:47 AM on February 1


The only reason that I am not one of those '70s kids is that my brother has a September birthday, and my mom made him carob cupcakes and brought them in for his birthday about a week after he started kindergarten. She said she took one look at the faces of the little children after they tried her delicious-looking cupcakes and knew that she had made a terrible mistake from which his social standing was not going to recover. She vowed that she would make chocolate cupcakes from there on out, even if chocolate was not considered acceptable by Diet for a Small Planet or whoever was telling her that chocolate was evil. She still made a bunch of our clothes and didn't let us watch television, though, so we were destined to be totally uncool. But at least our subsequent birthday cupcakes were edible.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 AM on February 1 [33 favorites]


"[W]orse even than . . . fruit leather"??? Who doesn't like fruit leather? Really? I used to get an apricot one every time my mom took me with her to the health food store. It's just dried fruit; how can you hate it?
posted by HotToddy at 7:48 AM on February 1 [37 favorites]


Locust bean, locust bean
You were hip to the vegan wholefood scene
I tried you once, and never ageen
I'd rather eat rancid magpie spleen.
posted by Devonian at 7:48 AM on February 1 [17 favorites]


I too carry this trauma with me.

A generation learned to reject authority because our parents offered us carob bars instead of chocolate and lied to us, “It’s just as good.”
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:48 AM on February 1 [32 favorites]


Ah, me.

Back when Mom had to scold us kids for getting into her "Ayds" weight-loss candies.

When the only soft drink in the house was that godawful-tasting Tab.

And carob, or, as it's known in my memory, "Childbane".

Between its terrible taste, the mockery of calling it a chocolate substitute, and the semen-like stench that the trees give off...has carob every done anything good for us?
posted by darkstar at 7:49 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


I'll see your carob chip cookies and raise you spurlina cookies baked by my Stevie Nicks-lookalike 3rd grade teacher. They were green. They tasted like green.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:49 AM on February 1 [15 favorites]


I had a carob cake at a Hare Krishna dinner once and it was, honestly, really good and satisfying. You can ballpark how long ago that was, in part, because the anecdote took place at a dinner in a Hare Krishna temple.

Carob is perfectly good food as long as you're not treating it like a chocolate substitute. I feel the same way about most vegetarian/vegan "meats" too: Many of them are actually not bad, you just can't cook with them as if they're meat, you have to treat them as their own distinct food. Especially tofu. Tofu is fantastic stuff, but if you treat it like meat your food will be bad.

For a long time, Little Debbies snacks with "chocolatey" flavor were carob, not chocolate. Last I checked, they weren't using carob any more, though I couldn't tell you when that change occurred.
posted by ardgedee at 7:49 AM on February 1 [13 favorites]


There is something about carob that I will always associate with cheap, crappy winter boots, damp wool socks, and being overheated in itchy, uncomfortable sweaters and corduroy trousers.

It's like if the film Tillsammans had a flavor.


And a texture. A horrible waxy, gummy texture.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:50 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


But then a few years later I was microwaving bologna sandwiches to watch them curl up, microwaving bowls of Fritos with a slice of American "cheese" on top, and drinking Crystal Pepsi. So what did I know?

Foosnark, you are the wind beneath my wings.

I'm a sensitive eater. Growing up, I wasn't allowed to have pretty much anything that was "bad" for you, which wasn't wrong since soda probably does stunt your growth and such. But there was something particularly cruel about seeing this dark-looking stuff on the table, OMG I'm being allowed to have a treat for the first time in a million years, only to find out that it's...carob.

And yeah, long past the 80s. My hippy sister still eats it.
posted by Melismata at 7:50 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I seem to recall carob still being pushed at the local college town food co-op in the early nineties. Gor'bless'm, they weren't going to let go of it that easily.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:51 AM on February 1


I recall carob bring not bad as long as you don't try to pretend it's a chocolate substitute. On the other hand, I am not a chocolate fiend so maybe that's why I'm not as offended by it.
I should get some now and try it again, it's been a lot of years.
posted by PennD at 7:51 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Carob: the taste equivalent of not getting laid.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:51 AM on February 1 [39 favorites]


A generation learned to reject authority because our parents offered us carob bars instead of chocolate and lied to us, “It’s just as good.”

To be fair, most of those parents offering providing those things had also rejected authority in the midst of the counter-culture revolution. It's an interesting (d)evolution from rejecting "this society is great even though it is entirely restrictive" to rejecting "this is just like chocolate you will love it", but that's how history worked.
posted by hippybear at 7:52 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


My mother continued living the carob lifestyle well into the 2000s, and would be enjoying it still if it were possible to buy carob trail mix at Trader Joe's. She's allergic to chocolate, so chocolate was never around (exception: See's on Easter, chocolate butter egg, rabbit missing an ear), and I thought I disliked chocolate until I moved to London and discovered the waxy, overly sweet happiness of Cadbury.

Raw peanuts run through a food mill and called peanut butter, now that was the actual worst.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:52 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


This thread has reminded me of Aaron Williams' excellent comic Nodwick, which is a bit of a send-up of fantasy tropes and conventions. In one story, the protagonists have come across a village containing a sword in a stone.

Naturally, Yeagar, the fighter member of the party, pulls it out. The villagers gasp, horrified--there's a curse on the sword. Yeagar puts it back in the stone--bigger gasp! Apparently there's an even worse curse for anyone stupid enough to put it back.

This happens a few times, with the village elder worriedly listing off the horrible doom that comes with each insertion/removal.

One of them: all chocolate in the kingdom will turn to carob.

Yeagar eventually just breaks the sword in two. Apparently there was no contingency for that.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:54 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


a "cookie" made with LENTILS

mrsozzy made black bean brownies once. Once.

Her father, who absolutely is an old hippie, makes "healthy" cookies with almond flour and applesauce and other things which ensure they will neither taste nor act like cookies, but since he has gotten onto the "chocolate has antioxidants" bandwagon, he also loads them with chocolate chips. They're almost edible as a result, if you discard the cookie parts.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:54 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


This brings back memories. Not good memories, but definitely vivid memories.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:55 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Fuck carob. I've been vegan for 20 years. My children are vegan. Carob is a fucking line in the sand that I will never cross. We eat lots of analogs, and maybe in 10 years they will hate me for feeding them Diya fake cheese, but I will *never* give them carob.
posted by ChrisHartley at 7:56 AM on February 1 [11 favorites]


Notyou to Notyou’s Partner a moment ago: Hey remember carob?

Partner: Yeah!

N: Man, so awful, rig...

P: I loved carob!

N:

P: What?

N: You were the only one.

P: Tab was my favorite, too.
posted by notyou at 7:57 AM on February 1 [20 favorites]


Vivid flashback of my birth mother's carob spirulina "treats" - the worst thing is that it's pointless substitution - chocolate itself isn't bad for you.
posted by idiopath at 7:58 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Raw peanuts run through a food mill and called peanut butter, now that was the actual worst.

Actually conversation with my sister at age 10:

Me: this tastes boring. At least add some salt to it.

Sister: If you do that, it'll be no better that the mainstream crap that's produced by evil capitalist corporations.

Me: (adds salt) Ok, that's much better, at least it's tolerable now.

Sister: You're a loser.

Actually I'll give my sister credit: since I'm still surrounded by people who think this way, she (and Metafilter, of course!) gave me the tools to politely work around the conversation and say things like "thank you for your input," etc.

Huh, didn't think a carob FPP would set me off, sorry...
posted by Melismata at 8:01 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]


Oh, clueless 70s. Chocolate isn't even bad for you; it's just the sugar, and maybe, if you eat enough, the caffeine.

Remember when all fats were bad and eating just a bunch of fat-free carbs was "diet" food?

My terrible food alternative memory, though, is Roman Meal waffles. They really soaked up the syrup, though!
posted by amtho at 8:01 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I have been waiting for this thread all my life. I grew up in the 80s in a late pocket of carobism, no-TV, bulk granola, and dying old Volvos. I don't even have much of a sweet tooth and am largely indifferent to chocolate but carob is bullshit.
posted by enn at 8:03 AM on February 1 [20 favorites]


I grew up in the 80s and have vivid, terrible memories of carob-chip, fruit-juice flavored cookies my mom would buy. They tasted like apple juice and they were vile. Of course I ate them after school anyway.
posted by lunasol at 8:04 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Huh, didn't think a carob FPP would set me off, sorry...
posted by hippybear at 8:04 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Anyone else remember Frookies, the fructose cookies?

If so, sorry if your tongue spasmed.
posted by Diablevert at 8:06 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


A flood of memories...

Grape Nuts. Oh jeez, the Grape Nuts.

It was like eating fish tank gravel.
posted by darkstar at 8:06 AM on February 1 [18 favorites]


amtho, what were Roman Meal waffles? Frozen waffles made by the same company as the bread? That bread was what I got for my school lunch sandwiches--either peanut butter and honey (sometimes with banana), Monterey Jack with alfalfa sprouts, or cheddar, mustard, and tomato (that one is actually good and I still eat it today, though not on Roman Meal).
posted by HotToddy at 8:06 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Gastritis, vasectomy, carob.
Where's the suede-denim secret police when you need them?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:07 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Riffing off amtho's comment: there's not usually enough caffeine in chocolate to have much of an effect on most people. I do know one exception, that I was stunned to hear about: a coworker with a replacement heart valve, who is sensitive to tiny caffeine doses (e.g., single-digit milligram doses). I gather this isn't uncommon for people who've had that surgery, although I don't know the mechanism.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:07 AM on February 1


I found a recipe and made some really tasty carob brownies once. People did genuinely like them, as did I, but it wasn't anything that would compel me to make them on the regular. And I couldn't even tell you why I did it that time.

Carob was never part of my childhood as I was a Southerner and basically we ate all the bad yet delicious things
posted by Kitteh at 8:07 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


For a while in the early 80s, they worried that I was allergic to milk, chocolate, and a few other foods. All I remember from that time is carob and Mocha Mix on my cereal. Carob is still a pretty big nope, but I get an occasional craving for Mocha Mix.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:08 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Raw peanuts run through a food mill and called peanut butter

My husband insists that this is the only permissible form of peanut butter in the house and then wonders why our kid won't eat peanut butter. I hope he doesn't get cocky from his recent success in getting the kid to drink the unsweetened, unflavored soy milk he insists on. (Blech.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:08 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Grape Nuts. Oh jeez, the Grape Nuts.

Oh, I love Grape Nuts. You can't get them here in Canada. Mind you, how I ate them as a child was with lots of milk and flurry of granulated sugar on them. If you let the whole thing for a few minutes, it was less break-a-tooth and more soft nutty sugar crumbles.
posted by Kitteh at 8:09 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


Turns out the story of Frookies is bizarre.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:10 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Mocklate

At age 15 I had an allergic reaction to something I had eaten. My doctor decided that I must be allergic to chocolate. My mother banned it from the house, and started keeping carob bars in the kitchen.

They were okay, but they sure as hell weren't chocolate.

Eventually, I had allergy testing done. Turns out I wasn't allergic to chocolate. Never forgave that doctor.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Eventually, I had allergy testing done. Turns out I wasn't allergic to chocolate. Never forgave that doctor.

The particularly exciting thing about that not-evidence-based medicine is that the doctor also let you run around with an undiagnosed food allergy based on nothing but gut feeling (pun unintended).
posted by jaduncan at 8:13 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]


Yep, waffles made by the Roman Meal bread people. They were grainy, fell apart readily, and weren't good as waffles. I think they existed to serve the "carrier for syrup" waffle audience.
posted by amtho at 8:14 AM on February 1


My dad was allergic to chocolate during my childhood (it gave him instantaneous, terrible migraines), so he always had a carob bar kept (appropriately) in the medicine press. It was pretty bad, but he also got a brand of oatmeal biscuits half-coated with carob that were quite nice. Late into his 50s he had another go at chocolate and found himself miraculously cured. You have never seen a person eat dark chocolate with the relish with which my dad eats dark chocolate after a three decade abstinence. Even now, ten years on, his face lights up.

Natural foods of the current era seem infinitely better than what I remember from the '80s. People frequently give me completely delicious desserts made from fried fruits and coconut milk and things. Methods have improved.

Why would homemade yoghurt be watery?
posted by distorte at 8:14 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


My family was also very into Familia Swiss Muesli. And Millet.

Millet's a primary ingredient in most bird seeds. It tastes like it, too.
posted by zarq at 8:17 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I have no opinion about carob - I assume I've had it in something at some point because I have spent plenty of time around health nuts, and I likewise assume that it's probably a perfectly acceptable ingredient when not used as a chocolate substitute. But I have lots of opinions about Dumb Beliefs That Are De Rigueur On The Left, because I encounter those all the time. Also, I surmise that this is in the New Yorker because we are trembling on the cusp of the return of carob as a Fancy Rich Person Cookery thing.

But still, the non-badness of chocolate and the awfulness of carob are gratifying facts that help me when dealing with the endless "microwaves destroy nutrients" and "gluten is bad for everyone" and "we are cooking on the FODMAP plan for this potluck, all dishes should be vegan, sugar-free, low-fat and gluten-free and should not contain soy, legumes, onions, garlic, apples, cauliflower, avocado, cashews, berries, barley, asparagus or cabbage".

And also the endless self-deception - look, there are terrific gluten-free baked goods, and terrific vegan baked goods, but just because it is gluten-free, vegan and agave-sweetened does not make it delicious. The number of gluten-free tofu-based coconut-sugar sweetened lumps of grit I've eaten while everyone insists that they're delicious!
posted by Frowner at 8:18 AM on February 1 [22 favorites]


>> Why would homemade yoghurt be watery?

Because in the 70s they didn't have the web, which is essentially crowdsourced food experimentation where you learn by age 18 to strain your danged homemade yogurt (and how to make it with coconut milk instead of cow's milk and have it actually taste good).
posted by annathea at 8:19 AM on February 1


Oh, I love Grape Nuts

Me too! I will even willingly eat them, unsweetened, on top of plain yogurt. Even homemade yogurt. Toscanini's in Cambridge, MA makes grape-nuts ice cream that's pretty good, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:19 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


Millet's a primary ingredient in most bird seeds. It tastes like it, too.

I'm now curious as to what life experience you've had which has educated you in what bird seed tastes like so you can make this statement so definitively.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love Grape Nuts

Me too! I will even willingly eat them, unsweetened, on top of plain yogurt.


This is a meal I eat willingly often.
posted by hippybear at 8:21 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


The song of my people. VW Rabbit, public radio, ragg wool sweaters and earth shoes, my mom’s homemade granola, once a month buying club trips to the big-city co-op, Tiger Milk bars, and the Moosewood Fucking Cookbook. Yes, I know, Mollie Katzen is a goddess lalala can’t hear you over the sound of my grade school self choking down sherried soybeans en casserole.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:21 AM on February 1 [18 favorites]


Oh, I love Grape Nuts. You can't get them here in Canada.

There go my emigration plans. If you have a Grape-Nuts emergency, please feel free to MeMail me for a box. I wouldn't send you the generic. ("Nutty Nuggets" is an inferior substitute for the real thing. Carob for chocolate has nothing on that trade.)
posted by asperity at 8:21 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


This article skips over an important reason some of us ate carob back in the day: our parents were boycotting Nestle, which was pushing powdered infant formula in countries where the unsafe water supply meant that poor parents were risking their babies' health in using it to reconstitute the product. Nestle sold the major brand of chocolate chips available in the average Midwestern supermarket. I spent my childhood yearning for the Quik I could never have. (I don't think anyone tried to make a Quik equivalent from carob, though.)
posted by praemunire at 8:22 AM on February 1 [29 favorites]


Also, you people complaining about Moosewood are total softies. Try growing up under the tyranny of More with Less. I'm only now getting over my bland-mushy-lentil-related trauma.
posted by praemunire at 8:23 AM on February 1 [9 favorites]


Because in the 70s they didn't have the web, which is essentially crowdsourced food experimentation where you learn by age 18 to strain your danged homemade yogurt (and how to make it with coconut milk instead of cow's milk and have it actually taste good).

Ah. I think, because the dairy in Ireland is unusually good, that homemade yoghurt here was/is generally better.

But it's true, the web has been so, so good for food preparation.
posted by distorte at 8:23 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who was unable to digest chocolate from 1994-2014, I relied on carob for my dessert needs. Let's just say that I'm very happy to have chocolate back.
posted by Servo5678 at 8:24 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Roman Meal bread

Whatever happened to that? I see the company is still there, but I don't think I see their product in the grocery stores.
posted by thelonius at 8:24 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Huh. I just googled "Grape Nuts fish tank gravel" and it led me to...MetaFilter!


All roads lead to MeFi.
posted by darkstar at 8:24 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


you learn by age 18 to strain your danged homemade yogurt

Eh, when I've done it, if I start with whole milk, and ferment for long enough with a culture that creates reasonably-thick yogurt, there's no need to strain unless I want especially thick yogurt.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:24 AM on February 1


I like carob! I have mostly encountered it as a dark chocolate-esque coating on various oat bars and biscuits marketed as "healthy". I agree that the taste and texture are not chocolate-identical, but I find them pleasant.

Then again, nobody ever made me eat it instead of chocolate, which would be upsetting.
posted by confluency at 8:25 AM on February 1


The gross hippie food subculture is strongly alive and well in certain suburban circles. My sister texted me just the other day asking "have you ever tried chickpea cookie dough?" Of course not, I'm not a MONSTER.
posted by something something at 8:25 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


especially thick yogurt.

Isn't most "greek yogurt" just yogurt that has been sitting in a fine sieve for a few hours?
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on February 1


I'm now curious as to what life experience you've had which has educated you in what bird seed tastes like so you can make this statement so definitively.

I had four parakeets as pets when I was a teenager. (Not all at once.)
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on February 1


So having parakeets means you know what bird seed tastes like.

This is a part of bird ownership that isn't published in the pet owner manuals.
posted by hippybear at 8:28 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


The particularly exciting thing about that not-evidence-based medicine is that the doctor also let you run around with an undiagnosed food allergy based on nothing but gut feeling (pun unintended).

Yeah. I am not allergic to chocolate. I am allergic to sunflower (seeds, oil, etc.)
posted by zarq at 8:29 AM on February 1


I have a half-baked theory that it's enjoying food that's actually unhealthy for you. So carob is healthy not because there's anything healthy about it per se, but because it makes you say, "Uh, one cookie is enough, thank you Mrs. Johnson."

I'm willing to bet - okay, only a small bet - that all of the people who choked down disgusting health food during the '70s ended up living longer, healthier lives than most of the population, and that it was because the food was disgusting.
posted by clawsoon at 8:30 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]


There go my emigration plans. If you have a Grape-Nuts emergency, please feel free to MeMail me for a box. I wouldn't send you the generic. ("Nutty Nuggets" is an inferior substitute for the real thing. Carob for chocolate has nothing on that trade.)

I may take you up on that. My mother was a rock star for my birthday last year by sending me a giant box of full of sugary cereals you can't procure here (Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch and Fruity Pebbles). I never thought to ask her about Grape Nuts.
posted by Kitteh at 8:31 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


"have you ever tried chickpea cookie dough?

Google tells me that you blend canned chickpeas with honey and peanut butter, eat it unbaked and ....it does not taste like chickpeas. I find this hard to believe. I cook with chickpeas a lot, and they have a very distinct and pervasive flavor. Also, wouldn't this be super, super salty?

That's one thing I notice about le cuisine de hippie: lowering your salt intake to lower stroke risk is actually something with a lot of science behind it, unlike some of this "gluten is bad for all humans, so bad that we should all stop eating it" and "because some people get sick from FODMAP foods, they are all poison" stuff, and yet people seem completely unconcerned.
posted by Frowner at 8:32 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


So having parakeets means you know what bird seed tastes like.

This is a part of bird ownership that isn't published in the pet owner manuals.


Haven't you ever been curious about what your pet's food tastes like? I've had cats, dogs, birds, fish, hamsters, etc. At one point or another I tried at least some of their foods to see what they tasted like. As long as it didn't contain any toxic or disgusting ingredients, there's no harm.

If Bill Maxwell could eat Milk Bones and not keel over, I'm pretty sure I was safe. ;)
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I was not force-fed carob in the 70s, although a visiting family who did force carob on their children brought us a box of carob-chip cookies. I tried one and thought, "hey, fake chocolate!" It was kind of like butterscotch--not bad if you weren't trying to pretend it was something it wasn't.

Which is why I *like* spiralized squash for its own sake, tossed with a little feta cheese and toasted walnuts. Also seitan (which, my obligate carnivore husband points out, sounds exactly like "Satan").
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 8:33 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I have a friend whose wife was upset when she found that their year old daughter had been taking treats from the dog bowl. And even more upset to learn that he knew about it - 'she offers me one... and I don't want to hurt her feelings so I eat it.'
posted by tirutiru at 8:33 AM on February 1 [24 favorites]


I'm also one of those 70s children, but somehow escaped carob in my own home. My mother actually was kind of ahead of her time food-wise - she was cooking more like from the 90s already; not too much red meat, emphasis on vegetables, and blessdly not overcooking vegetables. Her one "70s food fad" thing was to shun sugary cereals. But chocolate was always proper chocolate.

Carob I only encountered in the home of a childhood friend; her parents were a little more hippie than mine. My friend seemed sold on the carob-is-like-chocolate thing, and I tried to buy into it because she was my friend, but secretly I was always a little dubious.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on February 1


Oh, I love Grape Nuts. You can't get them here in Canada.


My weird grocery store here in southern Ontario sells them. But they also have 4 separate areas where potato chips can be found (including one solely devoted to Uncle Ray's) and keep all their corn based gluten free food beside the pickled fish.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:33 AM on February 1


I ate a lot of these foods in the early aughts hanging out with crunchy granola types and vegetarians and I can't say I had any complaints? As long as you appreciate the foods for themselves and not based on whether or not they're like something else, there's a lot to love.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Hey, if we could also not be dicks about current vegan food, that would be great. Yes, some folks make black bean brownies and etc, but believe me, I do not.
posted by Kitteh at 8:34 AM on February 1


Also, when you have a bird, it can be fun to put a seed between your lips and have them nibble it out.

Note: this works well with calm budgies. I wouldn't try it with a parrot, tho.
posted by zarq at 8:35 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I have a friend whose wife was upset when she found that their year old daughter had been taking treats from the dog bowl. And even more upset to learn that he knew about it - 'she offers me one... and I don't want to hurt her feelings so I eat it.'

I'm sure her coat is nice and shiny now.
posted by zarq at 8:38 AM on February 1 [18 favorites]


Pro-tip for Grape-nuts lovers:

Try it hot. Grape-nuts and milk in a bowl, then bowl goes in the microwave for like a minute. I tried that in college after seeing the suggestion on the side of the box and it is fantastic.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


after seeing the suggestion on the side of the box

"does what it says on the tin"
posted by hippybear at 8:41 AM on February 1


I have a half-baked theory that it's enjoying food that's actually unhealthy

I read an interesting article somewhere about America's weird cultural tick of regarding food as essentially medicinal, from John Harvey Kellog on down. Like the way to sell almost any food here is to market it as healthy. Or more precisely --- There's basically two kinds of food here, good food which is healthy which you should be eating (and tastes bad and you feel guilty cause you don't eat it) and bad evil food which is delicious and tempting and therefore when you're feeling rebellious and defiant you gorge on it ("no, you didn't hear me. I want all the bacon"). Other cultures don't treat it like this and have significantly less fraught relationships with their snacks as a result.
posted by Diablevert at 8:41 AM on February 1 [23 favorites]


some folks make black bean brownies and etc, but believe me, I do not.

Are black bean brownies ipso facto even terrible? I mean, they contain chocolate and sugar, and I'd always assumed that they were on the continuum with all those Asian red-bean, melon and lotus-seed sweets, where they have a sort of mealy quality that is not in fact unpleasant. (Like moon cakes, possibly earth's most delicious sweets.)
posted by Frowner at 8:42 AM on February 1


Diablevert, if you find that article I'd love to read it!
posted by Melismata at 8:43 AM on February 1


Hey, if we could also not be dicks about current vegan food, that would be great.

I suspect the reactions on this thread are more the result of buried resentment at having been forced, as children, into dietary restrictions and substitutions against one's will, all the while being told, "See? You won't miss chocolate/sugar/cheese/meat/etc.! This is just as good! Yum yum!" It makes a difference.

I've never had black-bean brownies, but I love red bean cake and, given the choice, will take it over anything chocolate in a heartbeat.
posted by filthy_prescriptivist at 8:48 AM on February 1 [15 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, I will definitely try hot Grape Nuts. I had a lot $$$ of dental reconstruction work done the past year, and thought I'd have to give up cold cereal forever, along with anything else cold or crunchy.

My family didn't do carob in the '70s, because they didn't buy chocolate much, either. Too expensive. Went to college and learned to ask if this was carob or real chocolate candy. I thought carob was just a cheaper substitute. It sure tasted cheaper.
posted by Miss Cellania at 8:48 AM on February 1


Oh, I love Grape Nuts. You can't get them here in Canada.

Huh. I'd always assumed that Grape Nuts were/are available in Canada because my parents always had them in the house.

Post seems to list them under their Canadian brands.

OTOH, I haven't had them or looked for them since I was a kid, and we lived on the border, so it's entirely possible they were picking them up in the US since we shopped there fairly often.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:51 AM on February 1


Man, just reading this thread made me have to go and eat the last piece of the giant Toblerone I got for Christmas.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:52 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


Foosnark: "I seem to recall actually liking something that had carob. Some kind of trail mix with carob chips, maybe."

Yep. Unlike chocolate, it doesn't melt in the trail mix. That was where I always had it as a kid, specifically because it was sweet, sort of a chocolate substitute, but would not melt and make a huge mess in the trail mix bag when camping. I never thought it was bad, but then again I never expected it to be chocolate, either - I respected it for what it was.

And Grape Nuts are the bomb.

I also have an inordinate love for shredded wheat - not the crap they sell now that is frosted to hell and back, the old-school, deck-of-playing-cards-sized shredded wheat biscuits. Every so often, I open the box, pull out a biscuit or three, and poach an egg on top, just like my father and his father before me... my son likes it too, although the first time he found the box he came running into my room freaking out at how "huge" that shredded wheat was (he was expecting the tiny frosted variety!)
posted by caution live frogs at 8:58 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


Huh. I'd always assumed that Grape Nuts were/are available in Canada because my parents always had them in the house.

I've never seen them in any grocery store since I moved here and I have looked! So it may be that they are sold in larger markets like Toronto where you are?
posted by Kitteh at 9:00 AM on February 1


I still like the taste of homemade watery yogurt that's too tart. Now I call it a Lassi and drink it with a straw.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:00 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I was okay with carob as a kid, but I was never expected to pretend it was chocolate, and I didn’t see it often. What did make me sad was a Frookie. I was overweight and went on a diet around age nine; a fructose-sweetened cookie was deemed acceptable. It was like a hardened cake of spilled applesauce.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:01 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


If you’re an adult and think plain yogurt is ‘too tart’...how do you deal with pickles, election results, life?
posted by The Toad at 9:01 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


WTF is "water yogurt"

Isn't yogurt specifically spoiled milk?

How does one specifically spoil water?
posted by hippybear at 9:02 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Yep, count me in as one of those 70s children with few fond memories of carob.

The 70s were a strange and wonderful time. But not in that way.
posted by Gelatin at 9:02 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I was a child of the 70s and experienced some of this stuff. My parents liked healthy food but it was shaded more towards growing our own in the backyard. Does anyone remember when nobody had ever heard of zucchini and then suddenly everybody was growing zucchini because it was The Food of The Future? Also stuff like not knowing home-grown broccoli always came with broccoli worms, which came floating to the top when my mom boiled our first home-grown broccoli. No more home-grown broccoli! We weren't much into the health food store stuff, mostly because of the unhealthy condition of the health food stores. I remember one at the mall that had a "grind your own peanut butter" cart outside, oozing with greasy bug-ridden half-ground peanuts.

I had a prof in college who would bring in some kind of organic healthy treats that looked for all the world like cow pies. And this was in the middle of Amish country. I tried one. They were awful. I imagine carob might have been involved.

But the 70s also brought us Tang, which we used to make Russian Tea. No carob involved.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:02 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


“I will go to my grave insisting that carob tastes not of chocolate or treats but a fallen world and your parents’ lies.“ -Catherynne Valente
posted by corey flood at 9:03 AM on February 1 [17 favorites]


Recipe for Tang Russian Tea with Carob

No, just kidding. I'm not that kind of evil.
posted by hippybear at 9:04 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Moosewood? check
More with Less? check
Homemade whole wheat pancakes? of course.
Whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta when it wasn't stupid expensive, brown rice? Yep.
Limited tv? Fuck, yeah.
Carob? Nah. Carob itself tastes good, but part of what makes chocolate tasty is cocoa butter. Paraffin or other waxy junk doesn't taste good.

Not long ago, my grown son complained about the whole wheat pancakes. You know what, kiddo, your Mom, who got zero child support, who worked full time and picked up so much slack from your irresponsible sabotaging Dad made you pancakes from scratch most weekends. The majority of your meals were from scratch with the best and healthiest ingredients I could afford. You got bacon with those whole wheat pancakes because I'm not a monster. We didn't have soda pop in the house, but we had iced tea and it was lightly sweetened. You're a healthy weight because you learned to like a variety of healthy foods as a kid. The fridge always had the makings for salad, veggies and dip for snacking, there was always a bowl of apples, usually a premium variety that you liked. Your teacher may have thought it was weird that you got cut up cabbage with your lunch sandwich, but it's tasty, you liked it, and chips are really bad for you. Single-serving chip bags are expensive.

I'm your Mom. This thread is making me laugh. But, also, Moms get crap for *everything*.
posted by Mom at 9:04 AM on February 1 [27 favorites]


Tang, which we used to make Russian Tea

I don't know what this is but I assume it's not just Tang with vodka.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:05 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]




TANG WITH VODKA IS FUCKING AWESOME!
posted by hippybear at 9:07 AM on February 1 [9 favorites]


Buzz Aldrin Cocktail
posted by zarq at 9:08 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Fond memories of carobs. Summer job in 1973, whacking the trees to collect the pods for pig fodder. 30 cents an hour!
posted by garbanzilla at 9:10 AM on February 1


When the only soft drink in the house was that godawful-tasting Tab.

My grandmother used to heat up Diet Dr Pepper or Tab on the stove in the morning in lieu of coffee.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:13 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


TAB + TANG == DEVIL'S MIMOSA
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:15 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Carob is back...or maybe it never left and it's just been waiting for people to relax before it pounces again.
posted by esoterrica at 9:17 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Does anyone remember when nobody had ever heard of zucchini and then suddenly everybody was growing zucchini because it was The Food of The Future?

Zucchini showed up in our garden around the same time as swiss chard. Giant zucchinis and swiss chard which my mother tried and failed in a dozen ways to make appetizing.

The rest of the food in our (giant x 3) gardens was delicious, though. Carrots, peas, potatoes, corn, green beans, dill, onions, tomatoes. That was good eatin'.
posted by clawsoon at 9:33 AM on February 1


Due to my hyperactive brother, my mom decided to reduce/eliminate sugar from out diets.

Seriously, from the bottom of my miserable, broken, carob-hating, 1970s-child, untreated ADHD heart: fuck "sugar makes you hyperactive" and the hippie bullshit horse it rode in on.
posted by The Bellman at 9:34 AM on February 1 [12 favorites]


Omg, we had the yogurt maker...it was all rounded and modernist with a blue plastic lid and 6 inscrutable jars inside and it was like a weird science project you could eat. Runny? I think you just had to do it for longer. (BTW...don't eat greek yogurt. The sheer amount of excess whey from its production is now a kinda major environmental pollutant. 'But it tastes so good' is not an excuse. Just eat pudding instead. Same difference.)

Back when Mom had to scold us kids for getting into her "Ayds" weight-loss candies.

Oh yes, Ayds was delicious! Also a forbidden treat in my household that I would sneak 1-5 cubes of in retaliation for being given carob >:P ...It would probably have made a better chocolate replacement than carob if not for the fact that it had like 10x the calories. (It was 'diet' in the sense of meal replacement not calorie reduction. IIRC they were like 500 calories each (srsly))

For a long time, Little Debbies snacks with "chocolatey" flavor were carob, not chocolate. Last I checked, they weren't using carob any more, though I couldn't tell you when that change occurred.

I think carob was linked with cancer at some point in the early/mid 90s so most of it was pulled from shelves around then. Not sure if it actually causes cancer, but I imagine the scientists saying "Welp, no need to do any follow-up studies. It's obviously horrible. Now let's go dig a big hole in the ground and throw all that crap in there and burn it."
posted by sexyrobot at 9:38 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Another child of the 70s. I primarily associate carob with trail mix, courtesy of the Girl Scouts, where it was unobjectionable. Fortunately (?), my parents were not into the 70s-80s versions of healthy eating, so I was spared many of the tales of woe here.

(Were the results from the Moosewood Cookbook noticeably worse than the food at the actual Moosewood, which is quite good? Or did the cookbook just lend itself to bad results at amateur hands?)
posted by thomas j wise at 9:38 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


waxy carob bars and Mexican ditch weed

Incidentally, "Waxy Carobars and the Mexican Ditch Weeds" is the name of my new band.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:44 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Not sure if it actually causes cancer


I think it causes cancer in the way that sadness and disappointment cause cancer.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:45 AM on February 1 [12 favorites]


Ugh. I had a neighbor that was fully into carob and all related pseudo-foods. Unfortunately, in my house, we ate a lot of things out of the first Weight Watchers recipes, so I was mostly subjected to canned salmon mold (careful of the bones!) and baked liver.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:45 AM on February 1


Incidentally, "Waxy Carobars and the Mexican Ditch Weeds" is the name of my new band.


Do you play a fusion of Bakersfield country and Norteño corridos?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:49 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I love you people so much! Fuck Carob! And the suede denim secret police too!
posted by evilDoug at 9:53 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I love carob, haters. Especially from here .
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:55 AM on February 1


sold in larger markets like Toronto where you are?

I live an hour outside of Toronto. I don't see them in the large chain stores but they have them in my small independent. But Like I said I have a weird store near me.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:56 AM on February 1


This thread with all its reminiscing about 70s health food fads has made me hungry for a Tiger Milk Bar.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:56 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


(Were the results from the Moosewood Cookbook noticeably worse than the food at the actual Moosewood, which is quite good? Or did the cookbook just lend itself to bad results at amateur hands?)

I don't think the mention of the Moosewood Cookbook was a nod to its poor quality - but rather to its ubiquity in the kitchens of those people who were on the carob train.

And it may be that the Enchanted Brocolli Forest was actually more common, and I think that's technically not a Moosewood book proper (same author, but I think she was sort of striking out on her own a little).

The subsequent Moosewood cookbooks have been more closely inspired by the restaurant, as I understand it, and I've had no complaints in the past 20 years (I recommend one of their books in every 3rd Askme, and another one of their books I used so much that it actually fell apart and I had to replace it).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Teen of the 70s here. My friends and I ate carob because everyone knows that chocolate makes you break out, and we wanted to have good skin. I don't remember how long I was able to keep it up - some memories are worth repressing.
posted by AMyNameIs at 10:01 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


There was a horrible German ‘Reformhaus’ (healt food store) version of this food. Did American hippies ever get into Grünkern? It’s spelt, harvested green, tastes exactly like it sounds. My mom made a horrible Gruenkern casserole once (to her credit, only once) that could’ve been used as the slab foundation for a small bungalow. Also, millet. I assume there’s a good way to eat millet, since it is used a lot in other cuisines, but I haven’t found it. Porridge, maybe?

Whole wheat, on the other hand, is awesome. My super picky kids loooove whole wheat crepes, scones, muffins etc. I don’t even use it for health reasons but because it tastes better?
(Or maybe whole wheat flour has gotten finer and less offensive-tasting over the years?)
posted by The Toad at 10:05 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I'm also a child of the 70s, though not American, so I read the description of how carob tastes and feels like and found it familiar, but couldn't remember ever hearing the name. A little bit of googling later and I had probably confirmed what I thought: "chocolate" dog treats are made from carob.

(I sometimes ate a dog "chocolate" if there was nothing else to sneak from the cupboard...)
posted by Harald74 at 10:06 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


All this has done is send me into a 70's food spiral that ended up making me nostalgic for SPACE FOOD STICKS.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:08 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]




I recommend one of their books in every 3rd Askme
Please tell me you do this randomly whether the askme involves cooking or not.
posted by evilDoug at 10:11 AM on February 1 [12 favorites]


(Were the results from the Moosewood Cookbook noticeably worse than the food at the actual Moosewood, which is quite good? Or did the cookbook just lend itself to bad results at amateur hands?)

I started cooking with the Moosewood Cookbook in the nineties, when it had been slightly revised. I've also cooked a bunch of stuff from seventies hippie cookbooks and sixties/seventies sorta-"ethnic" cookbooks.

1. All are a bit bland, and the California ones usually rely on the availability of very good, very fresh produce to flavor the dish in a way that does not necessarily translate to other regions.

2. Many things were not available in the US when they were written, so anything more specialized than soy sauce is often left out or substituted where we would expect it in similar recipes today.

3. Heavy, calorie-dense food! Lots of cheese, lots of grains, lots of nuts.

That said, I really like many of these dishes. They tend to be very plain, but really let simple, wholesome flavors shine through.

I don't know if the initial Moosewood cookbook has been significantly revised since the nineties, but the subsequent Moosewood books tend to have somewhat spicier, lighter food.
posted by Frowner at 10:14 AM on February 1 [4 favorites]


philip-random: A Simple Curve - carob scene

What does she said right at the end? "I've got ____"?
posted by clawsoon at 10:15 AM on February 1


“There’s something so human about taking something great and ruining it a little so you can have more of it.”
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:15 AM on February 1 [22 favorites]


70's food spiral

My favorite ride! Did anyone ever make the Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie? I probably read the recipe every Sunday for years when we had tomato soup with Ritz crackers. My mom claims she made the pie once after incessant begging, but I can't remember.

Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie
posted by lagomorphius at 10:16 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]



What does she said right at the end? "I've got ____"?

halva
posted by philip-random at 10:16 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Fuck Carob! And the suede denim secret police too!

Does this have something do with Chess King?
posted by lagomorphius at 10:17 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


> I recommend one of their books in every 3rd Askme

Please tell me you do this randomly whether the askme involves cooking or not.


Not thus far, but now I'm thinking I should. ;-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


> "I don't think the mention of the Moosewood Cookbook was a nod to its poor quality - but rather to its ubiquity in the kitchens of those people who were on the carob train. And it may be that the Enchanted Brocolli Forest was actually more common ..."

Maybe it wasn't a nod to its poor quality in that comment, but speaking as a vegetarian of 25 years standing, I will take a firm stand on the position that both the Moosewood Cookbook and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest are nightmare-inducing terrors left over from an era when "healthy" was assumed to mean "disgusting" and "vegetarian" was required to mean "somehow both disgusting and bland at the same time".

Get yourselves a copy of the Veganomicon and maybe Isa Does It and then scream your freedom to boundless sky.
posted by kyrademon at 10:20 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


BTW...don't eat greek yogurt. The sheer amount of excess whey from its production is now a kinda major environmental pollutant

Yeah, I think I’ll just keep rarely eating cows which does way more to help the environment.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:21 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Goddamn it, the craving for a tuna fish sandwich on Roman Meal bread is forcing me to consider sneaking out of work early.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:22 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


The quality of the produce available to the average U.S. person in the 1970s was so low that it's unsurprising that vegetarian cookbooks from that period draw forth shudders. Also, there were like five condiments and spices available for anything, which didn't help. I mean, I'm exaggerating a bit, but in my current, tiny NYC kitchen I have a whole crate's-worth of sauces and similar that I didn't even know existed as a kid: fish sauce, dark soy sauce, sherry vinegar, mirin, gojuchang, sambal oelek, za'atar, that Chinese cooking wine I can't remember the name of off the top of my head...
posted by praemunire at 10:25 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I loved carob. And Fresca. I no longer like Fresca, but I miss carob sometimes. (I know it's around, but I don't like it enough to put effort into tracking it down.)

I strongly suspect I am the opposite of a supertaster. It's not that I don't taste things, but other than "I don't like hot spicy things," I'm apparently fairly oblivious to a lot of nuances.

I like white chocolate, too. I don't care if it's "not chocolate." I like Grape Nuts, too, and they don't have grapes or nuts.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:35 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Poor carob, it just couldn't.
posted by tommasz at 10:37 AM on February 1


This thread is the most fun I've had in a week.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:11 AM on February 1 [10 favorites]


I never knowingly ate carob, but I read a LOT of YA books from the 70s and 80s where characters bemoaned their parents forcing them to eat carob instead of chocolate, so I resented it in principle.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:15 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]


My mom was fully on board with the whole carob/Tiger's Milk bar/fruit leather/rice milk/no-TV-no-fast-food program well into the '90s, so the long tail of what a lot of you are describing extends at least that far. Her work schedule meant that more time-intensive, homemade foods (like yogurt) weren't really a part of our diet, but my brother and I were connoisseurs of the many brands of prepared foods that could be found at our local health food store by the time we were in elementary school. It sort of tickled me when my friends discovered Amy's while we were in grad school; Amy's macaroni and cheese was one of the only dinners that my brother and I used to get excited about as kids, since we didn't do take-out/pizza night/whatever in our house.

I actually kind of like Tiger's Milk bars - especially the coconut kind - and I never really minded the foods that we had, but other kids' reactions to it have really colored my memories of it. (I, too, was the kid whose mother sent them in with a birthday "treat" that was rice-based and fruit juice-sweetened, and a group of girls had a sort of intervention in the third grade where they felt like they had to tell me that they wouldn't come to my house or birthday parties anymore because we didn't have good snacks.)
posted by Anita Bath at 11:21 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


My parents were emphatically not hippies and I always (to this day, honestly) thought carob was for dogs. Because we love them and they love but should not have chocolate, someone had discovered something sufficiently chocolate-like for dogs to enjoy.
posted by Missense Mutation at 11:33 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I was fed no end of terrible garbage as a kid and have zero taste for most of it these days. I'm satisfied with a bit of chocolate or a little ice cream. (Okay, or a whole bag of tortilla chips; that is a special case.)

We eat mostly real foods at home, although we lean maybe a little hard on fish sticks or mac and cheese for hurry-up dinners for lilozzy, and honestly she has little taste for most really junky snacks (excepting lollipops, for some reason). She flat-out won't eat most desserts except for brownies. If you give a 4-year-old a Little Debbie cake she's supposed to inhale it, no?

So I'm a bit concerned for the future.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:38 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


My parents were emphatically not hippies and I always (to this day, honestly) thought carob was for dogs.

Carob. n.s. [aten, Saxon.] A legume, which in England is generally given to dogs, but in Scotland supports the people.
posted by clawsoon at 11:38 AM on February 1 [8 favorites]


This is giving me heavy flashbacks to being ten years old and visiting my new friend's house for the first time, the child of two art teachers, and being served sprout sandwiches and fruit leather and fruity sparkling water instead of soda. I love sparkling water now, but when you're ten and are used to drinking the pure sugar blast of soda, sparkling water tastes like sour flavorless soda gone horribly wrong. I barely touched the food and was relieved when we were offered a snack of ice cream before bed, and discovered it was in fact real ice cream.

Their house was a goldmine of new information for a Good Midwestern Catholic Girl not used to that sort of thing. Books for kids about HOW BABIES ARE MADE, just out in the open where anyone could read them! Salt crystal deodorant! A sauna! Tom's of Maine toothpaste! Many paintings and sculptures of naked people! An exercise ball! Frida Kahlo magnets! Weird bottles with homeopathy shit! They sleep on futons, not beds! I felt like an anthropologist every time I visited.
posted by castlebravo at 11:43 AM on February 1 [23 favorites]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

In college, I ate all the bad cereal I wanted for breakfast every morning for four years. One of the happiest times of my life.
posted by Melismata at 11:51 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I pretty much kept trying to eat healthy. There's less honey (straight from the beekeeper!) and raw milk (straight from the dairy farmer!) and zucchini (straight from the garden!) in my life, but there's still plenty of whole grains and vegetables. I also snack semi-regularly, though, without having to come up with any of the BS reasons that my father invented to convince himself that Coca-Cola was medicinal. (He never did convince my mother, so the Coca-Cola bottles tended to be consumed and disposed of before he got home for the day.)
posted by clawsoon at 11:59 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Tom's of Maine toothpaste!

I like that toothpaste, because it's the only one I've found that doesn't taste overwhelmingly of godawful industrial-affluent MINTY ULTRA MINT NOW WITH EVEN MORE FUCKING NASTY ASS MINT chemical flavoring that leaves my entire mouth feeling nuked every time I brush my teeth.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:09 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I've never been into junk foods and although I like good desserts and sweets, I pass garbagey ones right on by. I continued on in more or less the same vein, just updated for the times and with way more emphasis on good food and less on food as medicine--but I've always gone for the organic produce/dairy/meat. I've been a good weight always. I think the crunchiness was a net positive in my life.
posted by HotToddy at 12:12 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


That carob-and-Frookies life always seemed so ~exotic~ and ~forbidden~ to me as a child raised almost entirely on chicken nuggets, Froot Loops, and Lean Cuisines. In first grade I pestered a classmate into a lunchtime swap: my Shark Bites fruit snacks for his Tiger Milk bar. Little swindler made me throw in my chocolate-chip-granola bar, too. But I did it. I mean, it was called *Tiger Milk* so it had to be cool.

It actually was pretty good? But all the carob kids were definitely laughing at me about it.
posted by halation at 12:44 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I spent two years eating Pop Tarts and Twinkies and Dr. Pepper, then slowly reverted back to crunchy. I make my own yogurt (sour but thick) and grind wheat for homemade bread. But I am a better crunchy cook than my mom ever was, primarily because I don't use the Moosewood Cookbook (or Laurel's Kitchen). Or maybe because I have the internet. Anyways the good habits stuck with me and I really do like vegetables.
posted by epanalepsis at 12:47 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


"You know I love that organic cooking
I always ask for more,
And they call me Mr Natural
On down to the health food store.
I only eat good sea salt,
White sugar don't touch my lips,
And my friends is always begging me
To take them on macrobiotic trips
Yes, they are

Oh, but at night I take out my strong box
That I keep under lock and key,
And I take it off to my closet
Where nobody else can see.
I open that door so slowly
Take a peek up north and south,
Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie
And I pop it in my mouth!

Yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me!"

Best 70s song ever.
posted by jfwlucy at 12:47 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


The distinctive thing about the Moosewood Cookbook (and ilk) was its philosophy -- basically, "vegetarian food isn't very tasty, but if we add 3 pounds of dairy products, problem solved!"

Also, "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest" may be the most gendered title of any book ever.
posted by msalt at 12:49 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


My partner and I (both '70s children) were JUST arguing about carob recently. I maintained that it was absolutely nasty, while he claimed that it wasn't *that* bad and in fact, actually pretty tasty!

He returned from the next grocery trip with a bag of carob-covered peanuts from the bulk foods section. As we're putting food away, he rustles into the bag, downs a handful, and moment later, I hear "Oh mannnn....this is actually terrible."

We did not foist any onto the 3 year old, because we didn't want to perpetuate the lies for another generation.
posted by medeine at 12:50 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]


(Were the results from the Moosewood Cookbook noticeably worse than the food at the actual Moosewood, which is quite good? Or did the cookbook just lend itself to bad results at amateur hands?)

I only ate there once, but the night I was there the food all tasted like hippy potluck food made from Laurels Kitchen (which I have a copy of, mostly for the memories). It was funny to be paying to eat the same stuff that you get for free at a potluck, but I was told that it depended on who was cooking and that the restaurant was typically very good. I have never been tempted to return, however.

Tom's of Maine toothpaste!

I buy that because most of the other brands taste like artificial sweetener to me. I don't know if it is actually any good as a toothpaste, but at least it is less gross.

It's fun to complain about the terrible parts of the 1970s hippy-ish cooking, but really I am thankful that my parents cared enough to work extremely hard to provide what they thought of as healthy and tasty food. There are some things that I still like (e.g., peanut butter made from peanuts and salt), and other things like carob that bring back the wrong kinds of memories. (For me, the memory of the smell of carob is more intense than the taste, bringing flashbacks of shopping at the co-op.)
posted by Dip Flash at 12:52 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


We've had a copy of Moosewood on our cookbook shelf for decades.

I didn't know people actually made the recipes in it.
posted by hippybear at 12:52 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I've always wondered about all the hate on the seventies, but it turns out I was in a tiny corner that was the good seventies. I remember one night when all of our family went to a restaurant, and us kids (my brother, my cousin and I) could order all the mousse au chocolate we wanted. We had seven orders each. I guess it kept us busy while the adults had some wine or something. My aunt was very much into health food, but never to a degree where quality of life was compromised. This was best illustrated in a TV documentary where one of her friends, who lived in the free state of Christiania, swapped husbands with a woman from a suburb. My aunt's friend happily made a dinner of a couple of roasted ducks and vegetables, caramelized potatoes and marinated cabbage all with a rich gravy. The guy from the suburbs was so ready to become a hippy after that.
I do remember carob cakes, but I never had them presented as a replacement for chocolate. My cousin did feel they had too much vegan food at home, and he'd come over to our house for some meat. But his own cooking is clearly inspired by what he grew up with. I went over to their house for some more interesting and modern food.

My kids grew up mostly without a TV* and always on homemade food. I showed them that documentary about McDonalds where they claimed the burgers were made of ground everything cow including the bones and the intestines. They don't seem to be severely damaged, and they like good food.

*Every now and then someone would give the kids a TV that was too heavy for me to carry down to trash and it would take a while till I could get someone to remove it. Otherwise they'd go visit the neighbors to watch TV.
posted by mumimor at 1:04 PM on February 1


Honestly, I think the seventies are hugely underrated. It's interesting that the decade which saw the massification of the left, the rise of feminism and a dramatically expanded discourse about race and racism, the rise of gay liberation and the start of what would ultimately be substantial improvements in American food, popular culture and clothing is the decade where everyone is all "lol carob, lol haircuts, lol EST". I mean yes, the seventies are full of things about which to lol, but what about the sixties? The fifties? I remember quite vividly a number of stupid mass culture things from the nineties and early 2000s, for that matter.
posted by Frowner at 1:09 PM on February 1 [11 favorites]


There's plenty of carob trees all over Athens, but I don't think anybody eats it. There's this children's magazine from the 1950s about a boy-wonder fighting Nazis in German-occupied Athens, and one of the common tropes is that the famine is so bad that people are reduced to eating carob.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:11 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


I buy that because most of the other brands taste like artificial sweetener to me. I don't know if it is actually any good as a toothpaste, but at least it is less gross.

We were pretty anti-antibiotic, and I'm still leery of them when not necessary, but a toothpaste with triclosan recently cleared up some leaky old root canal problems that no amount of regular toothpaste was able to do anything about.

So now I'm against general antibiotics unless necessary, but wish that doctors and dentists had more local antibiotic options. Just inject that antibiotic right where it's needed, and don't give me weird digestion problems for two months with oral antibiotics that don't seem to be able to get to the site of infection anyway.
posted by clawsoon at 1:11 PM on February 1


I remember quite vividly a number of stupid mass culture things from the nineties and early 2000s, for that matter.

The food fads of the 80s and 90s -- oat bran! low-fat, high sugar! -- were way dumber than carob and brown rice.

Honestly, the shitty way my family ate in the 80s and 90s was every bit the flip-side of the carob coin. Hippies who grew up on processed junk in the 60s rejected it and ate bulk lentils and bulgur. Some people who had been too poor to afford the processed junk in the 60s, but coveted it the way my mother did, found that it was cheaper in the 80s and loaded up.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:16 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Mmm, I loved Fresca and Tab! I grew up on junk food, though, so subsequently loved carob and the Moosewood cookbook I found secondhand in college. I was so jealous of all you kids of hippie parents who'd sampled whole grains before 18!
posted by stillmoving at 1:28 PM on February 1


This thread is the most fun I've had in a week.

Yup. Is it the nostalgia that makes everyone so chill and happy? (Maybe we should have a thread on nostalgic skincare trends of the 70s...Patchouli, anyone?)
posted by The Toad at 1:36 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


This sort of thing was gently mocked in a children’s book that I read growing up in the early 80s: Toad Food and Measle Soup. It made me highly suspicious of tofu and miso soup for years.

My parents never really tried it on with carob. We always ate whole wheat bread, though. At least until my brother figured out that white bread existed and refused to eat anything else. (To this day I prefer whole wheat.)

The secret to thick yogurt is to heat up whole milk to 200°F, then cool it back down to 110°F or so before adding the starter yogurt and incubating. The hotter you get it to start with, the thicker it’ll be. I use Fage Total for a starter and it doesn’t get sour/tart. I learned this from the interwebs, though; I imagine without that resource, I’d have tried it without heating the milk and gotten weird watery yogurt.

Also, I actually made honey, peanut butter, and chickpea chocolate chip cookies once, purely in a spirit of scientific curiosity (and because The Hairpin dared me). I was shocked by how actually delicious they were. I’m an adventurous eater, yes, but these were actually good, not “lying to myself that this weird thing is good.”
posted by snowmentality at 1:45 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


The talk above of red bean cakes intrigued me, as I didn't think I'd ever had one. So I googled it and LO AND BEHOLD, I HAVE, and it was one of the most delicious things I'd ever eaten!

It was called a Japanese mooncake, and it was handed to me by an extraordinarily cute (straight) guy I had a crush on in Los Angeles in the early 90s. He had just come back from a Lunar New Year festival and thought to bring me one. He said it was some kind of bean paste, and though I looked at it side-eyed (bean paste dessert??), he was just too achingly handsome to dismiss his offer.

So I ate it and it was amazing. So thank you MeFites for that fantastic reverie. I hadn't thought of that "incredibly hot, thoughtful guy brings me delicious new foodz" memory in 25 years... *sigh*
posted by darkstar at 1:45 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


(Maybe we should have a thread on nostalgic skincare trends of the 70s...Patchouli, anyone?)

Petro-Carbo Salve, a cure-all for any skin condition!
posted by darkstar at 1:46 PM on February 1


Cracked wheat bread. Like, for the longest time (in the area where I was growing up) it was branded Hillbilly Bread by whatever company was making it. I still buy cracked wheat bread today because I like the nutty flavor with the expected industrial loaf texture. In this part of the country (inland northwest) it's just called Cracked Wheat Bread. I've never been a fan of the heavier breads, although when I lived in Germany back in the 80s I developed a taste for the black bread which is a thing one would never ever ever ever find in the US.
posted by hippybear at 1:50 PM on February 1


Honestly, I think the seventies are hugely underrated.

Totally agree. Maybe it's because I was a kid then, but I recall it as an optimistic time, with visions of space colonies and solar powered houses. Not that we weren't aware of problems - I recall forming a 5th grade think tank about inflation and other issues of the day(oh, our solution to killer bees? BUILD A WALL) - but the idea that it was nothing but a grim coda to the 60s has gained far more acceptance than it should.
posted by thelonius at 1:56 PM on February 1


Well I don't see why a lentil cookie can't be perfectly nice
*sniffs virtuously*
posted by glasseyes at 2:01 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


The '70s was a low point for militarism and gendered toys, which I think made some opinion leaders sad. If you think Reagan was The Greatest - and a lot of Americans did - then the '70s was the bad thing that he made go away.
posted by clawsoon at 2:02 PM on February 1 [8 favorites]


I don't think I've ever tasted this stuff, but I know my wife's mom used to buy her fruit leathers and that sort of thing when she was a kid so I texted this article to her. The first word of her reply was "Ugh."
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:02 PM on February 1


The 70s were fuckin' awesome! Born in 68, so Sesame Street and Fred Rogers and Electric Company and all that PBS stuff was directed basically at me. Also, we had all the Norman Lear TV shows or sideways-related series like Barney Miller (amongst others) which were tackling serious social issues in a way which appealed to audiences. (Also there were only 4 TV channels back then so people were more united in their viewing by default.)

Also, the music was great and imaginative, the movies from them feel more honest to me (I see them a lot on TCM), and despite the demise of the counter-culture before the 70s even began, the entire era felt infused with the day-glo colors and optimism of that movement. Up With People? Donnie & Marie? Shake Your Booty?

There was a lot more going on than all that (obviously, jeebus, let's not have that discussion) but skipping a stone across the pond of the 70s will show that it was a colorful, optimistic time.

The 80s were paranoid and dark.
posted by hippybear at 2:11 PM on February 1 [9 favorites]


This was best illustrated in a TV documentary where one of her friends, who lived in the free state of Christiania, swapped husbands with a woman from a suburb. My aunt's friend happily made a dinner of a couple of roasted ducks and vegetables, caramelized potatoes and marinated cabbage all with a rich gravy. The guy from the suburbs was so ready to become a hippy after that.
I remembered this completely wrong. My aunt's friend cooked four ducks. And both husband and wife lived in Christiania. I found the documentary here, but it is all in Danish.
posted by mumimor at 2:17 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


visions of space colonies

Gerard K. O'Neil came to my town to give a talk about the L5 Society. It was all happening for real!
posted by lagomorphius at 2:17 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?


I drink.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:19 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I didn't know people actually made the recipes in it.

The gazpacho recipe is very good, but then my understanding of gazpacho is framed by it so I guess I'm not an authority on gazpacho.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:21 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Russian Tea Is Not from Russia, It's from Church Cookbooks

did they just heck up really badly trying to make kompot
posted by poffin boffin at 2:23 PM on February 1


homemade watery yogurt that's too tart
Ayran is a thing, and a refreshing one too.

Locust beans. What do you do with locust beans? I would mash up a sticky handful of fermented beans into a vegetable stew: the umami is something to write home about.
posted by glasseyes at 2:24 PM on February 1


If you think Reagan was The Greatest - and a lot of Americans did

Not everybody!
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:26 PM on February 1


All of you carob haters can send your carob to me -- I LOVE it, and think it is especially delicious with rice cream.
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:34 PM on February 1


What's frustrating is there are times when I actively want carob - not as any kind of chocolate substitute, but just for the nostalgic taste of carob.
But now that health food stores stock all the fancy chocolate bars, I can't find carob bars anywhere, and carob chips but rarely...
posted by cheshyre at 3:58 PM on February 1


This thread has given me a lot of laughs.

I grew up on a farm, and a lot of what we ate was not only homemade but homegrown. We grew a lot of our own vegetables (potatoes, peas, beans, carrots, parsnips, beets, tomatoes, pumpkin, corn), a lot of our own fruit (strawberries, raspberries, elderberries, red and black currants, gooseberries, rhubarb), meat that had been raised on the farm (mostly beef and pork), eggs from my grandmother's chickens, and unpasteurized milk from the farm across the road. We never had carob or bulgur or brown rice, but we also didn't have the extra sugary cereals (Cheerios, Shreddies, and corn flakes was as far as my mother would go), and pop was an occasional treat. Mum bought chocolate and chocolate chips and both white and wheat flour to bake with. Our food tasted good and was pretty healthy without being austere at all. It's a balance I aim for in my own cooking. For instance, my breakfast options are a) whole wheat toast with jam and butter, or b) oatmeal with maple syrup and raisins, or c) homemade muffins. And no my homemade muffins aren't whole grain or granola or whatever. The current muffin batch is lemon rhubarb, made with the last of the rhubarb from my garden last summer, and the batch before that was lemon lavender muffins, and prior to that, I made orange chocolate muffins.

It's not that I'm adverse to trying some of these supposedly super healthy alternatives. I've never had carob but I am curious about it and will try it sometime if I get the chance. I'll try recipes if they look good. But it's really discouraging that when I do the results are such a disappointment. I made black bean brownies once, after the recipe turned up in my Facebook feed. Never fucking again. The taste was acceptable, but I could not stand how wretchedly mucky they were -- they left a horrible coating on my fingers and the plate, and my gums and teeth were rimmed in black like I'd been eating tar. I had a terrible time getting my mouth clean again, and spat black water repeatedly while brushing my teeth. I bought a little bag of chickpea flour over a year ago as an experiment, and am beginning to despair of getting it used up, because so far I've made two recipes with it and neither were much good. I made my own yogurt for awhile using a thrift shop yogurt maker, and that actually went pretty well -- the yogurt was both good and cost efficient -- but then my yogurt maker died.

I keep thinking about the time I went to a party and took some orange ginger chocolate chip cookies I'd made myself. The hosts were gluten-free and vegan, and the food they'd put out was cut up vegetables without even a dip. I groaned inwardly at the sight. They were beautiful, fresh veggies, but still -- come on, it was supposed to be a party. I was sitting within sight of the table with its trays of veggies and the plate of my cookies, and I watched as the cookies steadily disappeared while the veggies just sat there, untouched.
posted by orange swan at 4:40 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


homemade watery yogurt that's too tart

We totally had that. Also, the electric hot dog cookers what just had giant spiked electrodes for each side of the hot dog, and electrocuted them. Tasted as bad as you would imagine.

One Moosewood recipe that I like is the Hungarian Mushroom soup. A long-running, now closed restaurant in Portland called Old Wives Tales always served it.
posted by msalt at 4:55 PM on February 1


Hail fellow crunchy kids of the 70s!

Sugar (aka “white poison”) and anything that contained it was banned in our house. We only had chocolate at Easter and Christmas, and then only because relatives insisted on buying them for us. I still remember the smell of the local health food shop where I crouched absorbed in examining all the different flavours of carob bar. I was allowed one a week. None of them ever tasted like the forbidden and wonderful chocolate, but I craved sweet things like crazy, and carob was the closest I could get.

Mum also used to make her own bread out of flour she ground herself. Other kids refused to come to our place because of the terrible meals. I thought Coke was the most sophisticated adult beverage in the world and that serving dessert was a sign of being a "real" family, the kind you saw on the TV in US sitcoms who had orange juice at breakfast, and cookie jars, and enjoyed spending time together. My relationship with food has continued to be complicated and is inextricably tied up with my equally complicated relationship with my mum. This is why I'm fat now!

Even after she got over the “white poison” she still made every recipe with half or less of the sugar it called for, which sometimes did strange things to the texture and cooking time. And once she made a batch of REAL brownies for her Amway group (yep, she was an MLM victim as well) and they tasted SO good, so she said she’d make another batch for my boyfriend and me. Our batch was made with carob instead of cocoa, and half the sugar. I’ll never forget the look on my boyfriend’s face when he bit into it.
posted by andraste at 5:13 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I have just remembered that we also used a coffee substitute called Caro. I think it was largely chicory.

Blech.
posted by andraste at 5:16 PM on February 1


My husband's family was medium-crunchy in the 70s ad 80s (his mom was a public health nurse and really took to heart all that vintage no-fat no-sugar no-salt whole-grains stuff and she still eats low fat foodstuffs that make me cringe--I take my own half-and-half when I visit). He has kept a lot of his tolerance for bland pabulum. We're kind of the odd couple that way because I'm a supertaster and as far as I can tell he has no taste buds at all. Flavor is not a thing that he really considers when evaluating a food. I call him a food pervert, with the utmost love.

My parents weren't crunchy per se but were health-conscious and also academic-class foodies. So, there wasn't really a lot of brown rice and fat-free stuff around, but there was the 80s version of "artisinal" foods as much as we could get our hands on them in 1980s Pittsburgh. So I did grow up eating whole wheat bread and home cooked meals mostly (my dad worked from home a lot and did most of the cooking). Cereal was Special K but I was permitted one box of Cap'n Crunch once a year for my birthday. No carob.

We're a vegetarian/pescatarian house now and my kid (5) eats tofu like it is going out of style. I swear I did not force him! He just loves the stuff. But I will not have whole wheat pasta or fat-free dairy in this house, nosir. Get thee behind me, Satan. Husband and I regularly duke it out on the topic of whole wheat pizza crust and brown rice.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:22 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?


I went to a lefty SLAC and I think all the social cred I had was probably earned from Crunchy Home-Farm Background. (I taught no-recipe breadmaking over the winter break.) More conveniently, I knew how to cook -- I also know some of my Southern granmother's home cooking, but I knew how to cook *cheaply* because of crunchy background. That's been useful my whole life.

And only buying the fair-trade, therefore maybe non-slave-grown, sugar -- which is where my beatnik parents started because they were not about their health being the end-all of purpose -- certainly reduces my sugar intake even yet. Holy cow that stuff is more expensive.

Whole Foods makes me angry because it's such a perversion of the co-ops.
posted by clew at 5:23 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


the semen-like stench that the trees give off

Is that what did it? Man, super strong memories of that quite distinctive smell while bike riding through the park.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 5:23 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


The thing is, I spent the 70s understanding that carob was a substitute for chocolate, but I never heard *why*. That article isn't much help, though. Was it just the fat? And now, do the anti-oxidant and anti-depressant properties of chocolate make it OK again?

I hated carob until I bought some fresh carob. It's a poor legume that never wanted to be chocolate.

We used to eat at Moosewood all the time, and I remember the food as delicious and complex. We've had a copy of the Moosewood cookbook for 40 years, but my SO just started making recipes from it, and I'm amazed that they are all "healthy thing covered with cheese".
posted by acrasis at 5:35 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to stop back in here to mention another staple of summer in the 70s: weird-tasting, slushy, ultra-cold homemade "ice cream". The Headache Maker.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:51 PM on February 1


You people are my tribe. Signed, 70s carob survivor.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:53 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I have just remembered that we also used a coffee substitute called Caro. I think it was largely chicory.

I know people who think Cafe Du Monde is how coffee is supposed to be. Not me.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:55 PM on February 1


enn's comment

I have been waiting for this thread all my life. I grew up in the 80s in a late pocket of carobism, no-TV, bulk granola, and dying old Volvos. I don't even have much of a sweet tooth and am largely indifferent to chocolate but carob is bullshit.

perfectly encapsulates my own experience
posted by deadbilly at 5:56 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


the semen-like stench that the trees give off

Is that what did it? Man, super strong memories of that quite distinctive smell while bike riding through the park.



I remember it being an almost overpowering stench on the ASU campus because of the carob trees. Sometimes they’d smell like semen, other times like vomit.

There are a number of kinds of trees that give off that smell: the carob, Callery pears and lindens are the most notorious, I think. (Ginkgoes can smell like vomit.)

Which reminds me of this sketch by Mitchell & Webb about the linden tree. (NSFW YouTube)
posted by darkstar at 6:05 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


trivia: up till about two minutes ago I had macrobiotics persistently confused with hydroponics, so that I thought it was a particularly ‘70s thing to insist on food that had been grown indoors
posted by Countess Elena at 6:58 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


"No wild food for me, nosiree!!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:18 PM on February 1


Now I'm wondering what it was about carob that prepared so many for Metafilter.
posted by clawsoon at 7:18 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


You mean, "it resembles one thing that is sold as a substitute for that thing but actually is nothing similar to it and you will still want the actual thing"?

Like, I have no idea what you mean.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on February 1


Now I'm wondering what it was about carob that prepared so many for Metafilter.

Everyone needs a proven bowel conditioner, and Metafilter tastes better.

A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I have forever ditched the carob, sprouts, and tofu, but an awful lot has stuck. Whole wheat bread tastes right to me; I cook mostly from scratch; and I eat very little junk food (by preference, not abstemiousness). The flavorless and heavy cooking of the era of Laurel's Kitchen and similar books hold no appeal to me, nor does the endless variety of ersatz foods (fake mayonaise, etc) that organic stores tend to be full of.

The psychic scars of being the one kid in class in homemade clothes and with weird lunches have healed, too. I don't think my parents ever considered how rough that was at times; I didn't have any choice so I just sucked it up and now they are funny memories. Maybe it added character?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:50 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Hello, 70’s-80’s kids. I was your mom. Yes, I thought whole wheat bread was a much better bet for you and yes, I bought carob instead of chocolate and even chicory instead of coffee. I am even guilty of trying to get you to eat brussels sprouts by covering them in butterscotch sauce, a culinary felony if there ever was one. But we lived and learned and laughed together in spite of having no t.v. for a large portion of your childhood.

I notice that your kids, my grandkids, don’t get to eat a lot of bad stuff and that while you do have t.v. , their time with it is limited. This is awesome and I love you for it. Now please pass the chocolate!
posted by Lynsey at 7:52 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


I was ready to favorite that right up until the pass on the chocolate moment.
posted by hippybear at 7:53 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Okay, I shouldn't post before reading the entire thread but this is easily the best MeFi since Trump got elected and ruined everything. So: back in the day, a friend used to be very proud of her carob pudding. Not eggs-and-milk pudding but made with tofu. I must have, on different occasions, gagged my way though three bowls of this glop (small bowls!) before discovering "I'm allergic to carob." "Really? Oh, that's so terrible!" "Yes. It's a cross to bear." This pudding -- it wasn't as dense as quick-set cement nor as flavorless as untreated cardboard, but it did have a weird after-aroma, sort of like mildew, though I never could pin it down. And there were carob pies (different cooks) that had whole wheat crusts made with oil that had the consistency of pavement. That same cook with the carob/tofu pudding made pizzas for us once: whole wheat crust, some canned tomatoes, bok choy, and canned oysters. I swear I am not making this up. She had rhubarb juice on the side. Yes, really! My kids (brought up in a non-carob-speaking household) refused to have anything to do with this poison.
I think the article has the right idea: no substitutes! Carob probably has its own excellent uses. Tofu is great, properly prepared with some respect to its unique qualities. But, carob and tofu pudding? Jesus wept!
Another concept pointed out in this thread: Americans think eating = morality, and if something is pleasurable, it's wicked. (NB: I am in Canada and there is a lot of that here. Thank God for Quebec!)
posted by CCBC at 7:55 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Reading through this thread I'm amazed all over again that while I was consigned to my fair bit of 70's crunchiness, I somehow managed to largely avoid carob. I am thrice blessed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:31 PM on February 1


A question for crunchy kids: what happened when you left the nest?

I'll never forget the day in 1994 when I realized that, at the time, an entire pack of Little Debbie Cakes was just a dollar. My parents had always dismissed my begging with "that's too expensive". Those carob-pushing bastards had been lying to me.

I gained a fair bit of weight. But that's the standard freshman 15, right?

I seem to remember sixlets, or some version of a similar candy, being carob and not chocolate and therefore sad.

Of course only I, the oldest child, born in 1976, was subjected to the injustice of carob. My much younger sisters, being born in 1986 and 1993 respectively, got to eat chocolate AND drink sodas.
posted by EinAtlanta at 8:41 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I've always been really sensitive to the caffeine/theobromine/whatever in chocolate, so my mother used to try to give me carob "chocolate" sometimes and yeah, it was like brown crayon mixed with sweetened chalk dust. But I think the real problem was the nasty hydrogenated oil they made it with in the '80s, the same stuff they use in the lowest grade of compound chocolate, which is just as horrible. Now I've tried some of this stuff, which is basically milk chocolate with carob (it has cocoa butter, but not the cocoa solids that have the chocolate flavour and stimulant properties) and it isn't bad at all.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:50 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


My sincere and overdue apologies to the 4 teenage boys my then husband and I fostered in the late 1970s/early 1980s for the homemade yogurt, 100% whole wheat pizza and (god forbid) pie crusts, kefir cheese and sprouts on rice cakes, and most especially carob chip and oatmeal "cookies" that could literally function as a healthy breakfast.

Please understand that I truly meant well.
posted by she's not there at 9:04 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


the 80s version of artisanal foods

Like General Foods International Coffees, in the rectangular cans. Well known drinks of seasoned world traveler gourmets, such as "Irish Mocha Mint"
posted by msalt at 11:44 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I developed a taste for the black bread which is a thing one would never ever ever ever find in the US.

Burny Brothers Bakery, a now long-lost chain in Chicago, used to sell loaves of what they called Bavarian Black Bread, which was the most wonderfulest stuff ever! A member of Baby Huey and the Babysitters' band turned me on to this bread topped with apple sauce, or slathered in cream cheese and strawberry jam as a munchy stopper. Yow, I want to go back in time!
posted by Chitownfats at 12:39 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


....Boy, I must have either been picking the right Moosewood books or I discovered them during the 90s revamp or something, because I've been delighted with all the ones I have. I remember Enchanted Brocolli Forest at my childhood bestie's house (same family who had carob), which they made heavy use of after my friend decided to go vegetarian at the age of eight. I didn't really crack it open until much, much later - that same friend and I went to the same college, crossed paths again senior year, and I actually moved in with her and one other woman (also a vegetarian) the summer after we graduated.

We lived about two blocks from the big Greenmarket in Union Square, and there was a bookstore in between our apartment and the Greenmarket - so I spent the summer gradually acuiring newer and more interesting books from the then-growing Moosewood line: they already had Enchanted Broccoli Forest,, but I added the International foods one and the one that's also a book on gardening. Then discovered the soups-and-salads one.

With the exception of a cheese-and-veg pastie I discovered in the international one (and which you will have to pry from my cold, dead hands), none of the things I've made have been over-cheesed or stodgy. Even the Broccoli Forest book has yielded a lovely couple meals for me.

I don't think I've ever seen the original book, however...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:02 AM on February 2


Oh my gosh, I haven't thought of carob in years! Now the flavor comes back to me. And can you even buy it in the crunchy co-op these days? You can buy other terrible candies like those hippy gummy bears.

I wouldn't want to eat every meal from the Moosewood cookbook, the casserole-flavored everything would get boring fast, and I wonder if people who especially hate it might have had parents who used it as the sole cookbook? I still use recipes from it, though I jazz them up. My only specific systematic complaint about it is it's overdilled.

Did/does anyone else have the American Wholefoods Cookbook?
posted by away for regrooving at 2:40 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I think I got lucky, since most of the health food stuff was avoided since my mother was too young and too poor to really go nuts with it. And when she did get into her "living off the land"/country girl phase, it was less about yogurt and carob and more about going out and picking baskets of cherries that promptly became preserves forever and ever and ever and I'd be highly surprised if there still wasn't a jar somewhere still.

Roman Meal, though. For months on end in the third and fourth grade, my school lunch would consist of the following:

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Roman Meal bread
A carrot

I still can't stand the taste of wholemeal bread.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:37 AM on February 2


I like carob just fine, but that's probably because it's not much like chocolate, which is the ultramundane missionary position of dreary default sweets. If you could eat the sound of "Silent Night" being droned out by a suburban Presbyterian church choir, that would be chocolate to me, whereas carob is crammed full of Harry Partch.
posted by sonascope at 3:55 AM on February 2


Yogurt is supposed to be runny and tart. That is the most desirable form, where the quality of the milk reveals itself and becomes even more delicious. When you see the whey liquid on top, stir it back in!

I've lived in the U.S. all my life and there are some things I just don't understand about my countrypeople, among them the compulsion to add sugar to everything and to believe that yogurt is only edible if it's spackle or pudding.
posted by ardgedee at 4:17 AM on February 2


Making yogurt at home is quite easy. You don't need any speciall equipment at all other than a thermometer and some towels (once your scalded milk gets to the right temp, you wrap the pot in a couple old towels to keep it warm while it cultures). Use good quality whole milk and it's delicious. In most parts of the world, yogurt is a drink more often than it's a custard. (Salty lassi is the pinnacle of yogurt and I will not entertain any dissent.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:26 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


This should give you an idea re just how bad things were for those I fed in the late 70s/early 80—my copy of Laurel's Kitchen was worn dog-eared.
posted by she's not there at 5:27 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Like General Foods International Coffees, in the rectangular cans. Well known drinks of seasoned world traveler gourmets, such as "Irish Mocha Mint"

They never went away. Just changed their name. Can't find them at any of the local grocery stores, though.
posted by lagomorphius at 6:16 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I am filled with a burning curiosity to know what, precisely, could possibly be in Laurel's Kitchen that makes it such a dark necronomicon, bringing such pain to so many

I can only find bits and pieces: a mostly-unobjectionable-looking recipe for 'spanakopita' (whole wheat, obvi) and... well, that 'shepherd's pie' does look pretty traumatic, I have to admit...
posted by halation at 6:26 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I am also dying to see what these recipes look like in their full nightmare form. Surely some still-hanging-on food blogger must be working through these?
posted by faineg at 6:33 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


For Christmas I made the Moosewood spinach-ricotta in a crust thing, with gluten-free 'flour.' The crust was, understandably perhaps, a flop the rest of the thing was pretty fine. I put toasted pine nuts on the top and it was ok. In retrospect I realized I should have made the 'crust' out of corn tortillas. Probably would have been approx. one thousand times more delicious.

So, yeah, Moosewood - hilarious to see it again, because I'm old enough that I haven't seen it in a few decades, but it's really not so bad.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:40 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


my kid (5) eats tofu like it is going out of style. I swear I did not force him! He just loves the stuff. But I will not have whole wheat pasta or fat-free dairy in this house

Yes! I begrudgingly added tofu to my diet sometime in the last few years when I finally figured out a way to make it palatable, and it's consistently been something that lilozzy will scarf. Firm or extra-firm, cubed, dried, tossed with a little oil, soy sauce, and corn starch, baked until just starting to turn brown. She eats it just like that, I usually make garlic sauce or General Tso's for the adults.

My wife always buys weird pastas, but she knows that I won't eat them. It's become a joke in the house, really. There's a (Costco-sized! what was she thinking?) box of black bean "spaghetti" that's been in the pantry going on two years now. She cooked it once and it gave me Lovecraftian horror to watch it flopping around in the boiling water. I had to nope right out of dinner that night.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:55 AM on February 2


I would like to refer people back to the thread wherein my partner bought black bean flour but couldn't remember what to do with it as we are not g/f people.

(For the record, we threw the black bean flour out and I have been adding all the other stuff to our homemade bread dough.)
posted by Kitteh at 7:27 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Totally agree. Maybe it's because I was a kid then, but I recall it as an optimistic time, with visions of space colonies and solar powered houses.
____
The '70s was a low point for militarism and gendered toys, which I think made some opinion leaders sad. If you think Reagan was The Greatest - and a lot of Americans did - then the '70s was the bad thing that he made go away.


Yes this, exactly this. Gay Space Communism was on the way and the Man decided to take the other, reactionary path, and funk gave way to gangster rap.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:36 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I grew up in a Vachon household (Americans - imagine Little Debbie with a French twang) so carob was something I only had when I was hanging out with my hippie friends in university.

I passed this carob article along to one of them, an older vegetarian (a teenager in the 70s) and he reminded me about the Moosewood cookbook (which others had mentioned above). When I first started hanging out with that crowd, in the 90's, the original cookbook was a bible to them. One of our mutual friends even went on a pilgrimage to the restaurant! I ate a lot of those bland "hippie potluck meals" with them and having had experienced good vegetarian food in India just before I met them I was always puzzled why they didn't just eat that food rather than all these unfortunate casseroles. It always felt like I was invited over to a poor church lady's luncheon - so much of it reminded me of food that the polite Protestant ladies would make for ecumenical suppers. When I'd suggest beans and rice my friends looked at me as if I had a third eye, for whatever reason it just did not compute. And when they'd venture into the world of ethnic food, they'd do unfortunate things with it like pasta with a sauce made with too much hing and without onions and garlic. The lingering taste of that supper is burned in my memory... Thankfully, things have improved on that front but my one friend still has fond memories of those weird vegetarian casseroles of his youth.

If you could eat the sound of "Silent Night" being droned out by a suburban Presbyterian church choir, that would be chocolate to me

I think you might be eating the wrong chocolate.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:42 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Oh man, discovering Jos Louis when I moved to Quebec was AWESOME.
posted by Kitteh at 8:02 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


> Like General Foods International Coffees, in the rectangular cans. Well known drinks of seasoned world traveler gourmets, such as "Irish Mocha Mint"

They never went away. Just changed their name.


I have a confession: I went through a bit of a granola phase of my own in the early 90s, and I actually made my own General-Foods-International-Coffee-style instant coffee mixes.

...It wasn't that hard, actually: some combination of instant coffee, powered milk, and spices in some varying rations thrown into a food processor. Maybe some sugar as well, I can't remember. I made a few varieties and kept them in containers in my cupboard where....well, I didn't really drink them all that often ultimately, because I got to the point where coffee was more of a morning motivational beverage than a soothing "celebrate the moments" beverage and I didn't want to fuck around. So they mostly just sat there on the cupboard making me feel all self-sufficient for a few years until I was cleaning one day and chucked them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I think you might be eating the wrong chocolate.

I was just laughing about this on another social media site, because it's so hilariously evocative of telling someone that you're a dude who likes other dudes and having them tell you it's because you just haven't met the right woman yet. I've had the most expensive, esoteric, artisanal, handmade, lovingly curated chocolate ever harvested by child slaves and presented with great flourishes by those who believe that an issue of taste can be resolved by the right example of a thing, and yeah, it's fine. Chocolate is fine, like vanilla wafers, plain white rice, and graham crackers are fine, but it sings me no songs of anguished love, battered dreams, cosmological yearning, or throbbing erection and is, as always, pleasant but uninspiring. It's okay. Not stellar or lustworthy, but okay.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

For those of you looking for an old school crunchy healthy cookbook that will produce meals that are not a culinary hair shirt worn by the kind of people who were forever earnestly foisting hey-this-is-so-good-even-my-meat-eating-friends-can't-tell-the-difference recipes that always came out tasting like an Ikea bookshelf fed into a juicer, The Vegetarian Epicure and other books by Anna Thomas are the real deal. Was choking down my first months of vegetarianism in a powder-dry loaf of wheatgristle some thirty years ago and Thomas's book lit up the world. I didn't stick with my vegetarian streak, but I still approach healthy cooking as if joy is a required ingredient.
posted by sonascope at 8:10 AM on February 2 [10 favorites]


discovering Jos Louis

Sometimes I think I'm a bad parent for not allowing my kid to eat as many Jos Louis as I did when I was a kid. We had the whole range at home - Jos Louis (which I loved frozen), Flakey, Swiss Rolls with chocolate & the ones with coconut, Caramel, Half moons... Oh man so much deliciously crappy pastries.

Though in light of this thread, my son told me the other day that he didn't want to eat living creatures which I said was fine (we're mostly vegetarian anyways). But he clarified and said he'd of course continue to eat "lumpy meat" (ground meat) "because its delicious" which I thought was pretty funny.

because it's so hilariously evocative of telling someone that you're a dude who likes other dudes and having them tell you it's because you just haven't met the right woman yet.

Ha! I was mostly teasing but you're right sometimes things work for you and sometimes they don't - chacun à son goût.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:15 AM on February 2


I was mostly teasing but you're right sometimes things work for you and sometimes they don't - chacun à son goût.

My sweet spot for sweets can be found in the nearest nougaterie.
posted by sonascope at 8:25 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I learned to cook in college from the Sundays at Moosewood and Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbooks. They're not that bad. They're not Laurel's Kitchen or the Tassajara Cookbook (Whole wheat bread! For 50 people!) that is for sure. Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East cookbook was also important to my education and a vegetarian home cook.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:51 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


RE: chocolate...I lived two years in downtown Aix-en-Provence, right across the Place de l'Hotel-de-Ville from a Jeff de Bruge chocolaterie. Aside from the myriad other things that were literally within a 60 second walk of my door were some of the most incroyable chocolates, including some lethally good truffles that were more addictive than crack.

Man, I loved that place, but it's probably a good thing I don't live there anymore. France ruined me for chocolate, the same way Cameroon ruined me for bananas. Almost everything since just seems like a pale shadow...
posted by darkstar at 9:56 AM on February 2


The beautiful thing about not everybody liking chocolate is that I can give you my chocolate, you can give me your fruit tart, and we'll both be happy.

If the tart's lemon, I'll be ecstatic.
posted by Lexica at 10:18 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Carob shmarob, but all you hating on the notion of chickpea cookies are missing out on some deliciousness.
posted by anthill at 10:23 AM on February 2


I went though a period of cooking A Diet of a Small Planet and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest for a while. One great advantage was they they were generally a pretty cheap way to eat and relatively tasty and filling, at least compared with MFK Fisher's How to Eat a Wolf gruel (which was largely inedible by the later part of a week).

Grad school friends introduced me to Julie Sahni (Classic Indian Cooking) and Marcella Hazan (Marcella Cucina) and I found a used copy of Gaku Homma (The Folk Art of Japanese Country Cooking) somewhere to contribute as well. I realized for about the same money I could make things that tasted soooo much better. Much of the 70s vegi cookbooks to me feel kind of unfinished, like they really hadn't figured out the way to cook with those ingredients yet. After discovering traditional "peasant" style cooking, I've never looked back.
posted by bonehead at 10:55 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


She cooked [black bean spaghetti] once and it gave me Lovecraftian horror to watch it flopping around in the boiling water.

In that case squid ink pasta probably isn't your thing...
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:10 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I actually made my own General-Foods-International-Coffee-style instant coffee mixes.

Awesome. Now that I think about it, in 30 years we'll be laughing at circa 2005 American "chai lattes" in the same way. They are completely unlikely any I saw in India, starting with the pomposity with which they're delivered, as opposed to a guy with a rack of highball glasses full of piping hot tea yelling CHAI CHAI CHAI CHAI CHAI at top volume and handing them though the train window for 5 cents.
posted by msalt at 11:10 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


In that case squid ink pasta probably isn't your thing...

Interestingly, I have eaten squid ink pasta and didn't have a problem with it. Possibly because I didn't have to watch it undulating in the pot. (I did consume a bit too much wine and beer and scorpion bowl that evening, though, so I believe I did watch it undulate before the end of the night, unfortunately.)
posted by uncleozzy at 12:00 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Squid ink pasta is all the rage right now, from Southern California's awesome 85° Bakery chain to Portland's pan-Mediterranean gem Gastromania.

The good news is, you can't taste it. I was afraid it was going to taste like the time I bit through a Bic pen, intensely bitter bitter and stainy.
posted by msalt at 12:31 PM on February 2


I was sort of a hippie mom in the 70s, but never fed my kids carob, and they just refused to eat what they did not like. Two liked just about everything, the other two did not. I breast fed them for two years each, made hand ground baby food, and almost never bought soda or white bread (whole wheat and really good Russian rye bread) which made fine pb&j sandwiches they took for lunch every day. I was never that in to the whole organic thing, but my Dad had a huge garden so we had lots of fresh stuff. I am sure they have some unhappy memories of stuff I cooked(one never forgot I tried to force him to eat Spanish rice) but at least I did not foist carob on them. I was not strict, they could have soda at parties and if we went to a fast food place, candy in moderation, chips etc. They all grew up big and healthy and eat everything so I guess I did not go too overboard with the hippie dippy thing
posted by mermayd at 2:09 PM on February 2


Also, you people complaining about Moosewood are total softies. Try growing up under the tyranny of More with Less. I'm only now getting over my bland-mushy-lentil-related trauma.


Are you one of my children? I have cooked out of that book for almost 35 years, and its lentilburger recipe was a go-to recipe for awhile......


I still recommend that cookbook on here occasionaly. No carob that I recall tho.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:23 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


PTCD (post traumatic carob disorder)
posted by theora55 at 9:51 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


> Gaku Homma (The Folk Art of Japanese Country Cooking)

bonehead, I looked it up in Google Books, and read a little. The storytelling and writing is so good. thanks.
posted by theora55 at 10:17 AM on February 3


I don't know about carob, but if you eat too much tofu, you lose your sense of humor. But deep-frying it resolves the issue.
posted by theora55 at 10:20 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I was lucky enough to grow up with back-to-the-lander parents in the then-farmland of Scaggsville, Maryland, and the combination of DIY, self-sufficiency, and mindful eating without the kind of diseased orthorexia that infests progressive culture was 80% fantastic and 19% dreadful, and 1% what-the-hell-are-we-doing?

We lived in a log farmhouse built in the 1700s, kept a flock of chickens, and farmed all our vegetables in a quarter acre patch that meant that I didn't understand the horror of how most people ate until I grew up and left home. Easter was horrible, because dyeing brown eggs gives you...brown eggs, and you can't peel a hardboiled egg that's actually fresh, instead of months old, like the sucker factory "eggs" most dopes ate, without the frustrating experience of shredding the egg you were trying to peel (my ma eventually got savvy and hid a couple dozen eggs in the back of the fridge months ahead of Easter to get those stale EZ-peel eggs we craved). We weren't allowed candy and junk food, which killed Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone, and my father's crappy supermarket cookies were kept in a locked metal box on the porch, but my mother made lovely homemade yogurt and dried fruit leather using a window screen in a low oven.

My parents were liberal without the look or the horrid commune mindset, so we were able to eat fine things like peanut butter and (homemade) jam on the insanely good sprouted wheat bread made nearby at Columbia Union College and sandwiches with sprouts my mother grew in the dark under our kitchen sink, but otherwise weren't as visibly countercultural as the poor children living in the gross hippie group house up the street where slack, stoned seventies progressive dudes fucked everything that walked while the poor women were relegated to earth-mother roles in a sick echo of biblical nonsense and all the children of increasingly mixed parentage were saddled with tragic names like "Tree" and "Persephone" and, because of the Beatles, "Sexy Sadie," which was the saddest name for a particularly awkward just-post-pubescent girl to suffer under in 1978. My ma did make my shoes from Tandy Leathercraft kits, for a time, until I complained so bitterly that the leather soles would soak through in the rain that I got to wear Sears Surplus shoes. We were, thank the forces of happy accident, blissfully free of hippie horrorshow at home, were a jazz-and-classical family and never had to deal with the endless runs of the Dead, and were nowhere adjacent to free love or nudist parents or breastfeeding until two-digit ages, so we got most of the best without the worst.

My mother invented 2% milk (at least among out social circle) back when milk was either whole or skim for those who were "reducing" by mixing powder-made milk and regular whole milk, made pita bread when that was an exotic dish sampled mainly by overseas military types, and forever wondered if squirrels were eating the snow peas when, in fact, we were military-crawling through the garden as not to be seen stealing them from the garden-facing windows and then just lying there in the dirt, watching the clouds pass and crunching sweet green pods.

In our neck of the woods, a handful of miles from Tacoma Park, Maryland, the ancestral home of Seventh Day Adventism, our health food stores were all Adventist, a little weird, a little judgy, and prone to worrying pronouncements about how Red Dye #2 would turn children into soulless killing machines, so my mother, a young(ish) and earnest person engaged with the world, would try out things like carob, which was marketed as being better than chocolate because white flour and white sugar make rapists and certified public accountants. Sadly, margarine was okay in this health culture, and we put Log Cabin syrup on our buckwheat pancakes in a monstrous suburban atrocity borne out of the inability of monstrous suburbanites to read labels (we much preferred King Syrup, which is a local delicacy and is what it is rather than a vile impostor) in one of many juxtapositions of the sublime drowning under the absurd. The carob experiments ended fairly quickly, though, because the stuff (like all health food back then) was insanely expensive and didn't appeal to the taste buds of the primary cook in the household.

I will still eat the shit out of a bag of carob raisins from the Amish market, but I think, on some level, that's more about the memory of a rare treat in a mostly sugarless household.
posted by sonascope at 10:21 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


More with Less and the later books, to their credit, have food from other countries. Some of the recipes are definitely toned down from the originals but they are recipes contributed largely by white expatriate missionaries who have modified recipes from the countries they lived in. The recipes are simple by design and modified for a white Protestant palate. A careful cook though can easily get the gist from the recipes on how to spice them up or modify them to make them more palatable. If you're eating some weird casserole from it blame whoever cooked it because there's lots of good stuff in there that isn't that. Moosewood has a lot of "hippie potluck dishes" and that's frankly how it was designed and no matter how you cook them they are still that.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:13 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


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