Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: Whole Earth Cookbook

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, September 11, 1999

Review of the Whole Earth Cookbook, with a recipe for Apple-Raisin Slaw.

AuthorsSharon Cadwallader, Judi Ohr
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
Length120 pages
Book Rating5
Whole Earth Cook Book: Cover for the Whole Earth Cook Book.; cookbooks; natural food

My copy of this book is spiral bound, printed in 1972. The photo on the back shows the staff of the Whole Earth Restaurant in July of 1971 in full hippy regalia. The “Whole Earth” restaurant in question is the Whole Earth Restaurant on the UC Santa Cruz campus here in California. It used the produce from the next door organic Student Garden.

This is a whole foods cookbook, not a vegetarian cookbook. The introduction includes commentary on the “modern feedlot techniques” of meat producers, and the advice “learn to cook glandular meats, such as liver, kidney, and sweetbreads” and “avoid packaged-meat counters and do not buy prepared luncheon meats”. Much like Beatrice Trum Hunter, the recommendation is for natural, “clean” food, prepared without unnatural chemical additives, fertilizers, or antibiotics/pesticides, regardless of whether the product is vegetable or meat.

The soup section starts with some general advice on making and keeping stocks. It includes such interesting soups as “Cheese Soybean Soup”, “Cabbage-Potato Borscht”, and “Pumpkin-Mushroom Soup”.

Recommendations for vegetables: herbs can also be very good on salads. “Even if you live in the city, you can plant herbs in flowerpots or in the center of cement blocks.” Also includes some advice on sprouting seeds, alfalfa seeds recommended. See below for the “Apple-Raisin Slaw” recipe. There’s also a meatloaf replacement that uses eggplant and a little tofu. It’s okay. The “Eggplant Pizza”, with two cups of mozzarella, is much better tasting. More interesting is the “Mexican Stuffed Zucchini”, squash stuffed with enchilada sauce, bacon, mushrooms, corn, olives, rice, and salsa. But that’s also more work than I normally like to do.

Whereas it was the French who know more than we do about soups, it is the Scandinavians who know more than we do about sandwiches. It includes the best soybean spread I’ve ever tasted, mainly because it includes bacon.

A long discussion of protein sources for vegetarians follows, including the reasons why you want cold-pressed oils instead of heat-refined oils. This was before the days of canola oil, which isn’t mentioned.

In spite of the move toward vegetarian diets, meat consumption is at an all-time high in this country and shows no immediate sign of decreasing. Given this fact, and our own feeling that a healthy diet should contain some meat, fowl, and fish, we have included a variety of recipes in this area.

The meat section contains a number of odd and interesting recipes, from “Potato-Prune Roast” to “Marinated Beef Tongue”. There are a lot more, and this is possibly one of the most interesting chapters, an oddity in whole-foods cookbooks, even those that include meat.

To make up for the wide variety of meat recipes, the next section is “Grain Dishes”. Mostly it’s ways of making breakfast foods, but includes “Brown Rice Burgers”, actually pretty good, for when you’re tired of all those sweatbreads.

I strongly recommend that you try adding bulgur wheat to your bread recipes on occasion. The “Breads & Quick Breads” chapter includes a recipe for Cracked Wheat Bread, but I didn’t have any so I substituted Bulgur Wheat. It makes a very rich, but light, sandwich or toasting bread, very tasty. Nothing special about the recipe, it’s just normal bread with pre-softened cracked (or in my case, bulgur) wheat added. Their take on Anadama bread (cornmeal and whole-wheat) is also quite good.

With five eggs to two cups rhubarb, their “Spring Rhubarb Pudding” looks mighty tasty and very fattening. (One cup of honey as well.) It appears to be a bread pudding flavored with rhubarb. Lots of cookies and bars, and some ginger snaps, cakes, , and a peanut butter fudge that appears to be missing some important information: how hot to heat the “honey and peanut butter” if you want it to harden into fudge. Otherwise, there are a lot of good baked items to try here, but nothing really stands out.

I like the look of this book as much, or more than, the recipes. It just looks like something from the late sixties/early seventies. Spiral bound, as if it were hand-printed (even though it’s from Houghton-Mifflin), muted earth colors on the cover, a black and white photograph of the restaurant staff on the back. The recipes themselves don’t really live up to the presentation of the book, but they’re quite good. Certainly worth what I paid for it, and if you see this at a used bookstore or sale, I’d recommend at least taking a close look at it.

Apple-Raisin Slaw

  • 1 cup seedless raisins,
  • ¼ cup rosé wine,
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice,
  • 3 apples, diced without paring,
  • 4 cups shredded raw cabbage,
  • 1 cup mayonnaise.
  1. Combine raisins with wine, cover, and let stand several hours or overnight.
  2. Sprinkle lemon juice over diced apples, stir well.
  3. Mix with raisins/wine and the shredded cabbage.
  4. Add mayonnaise.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Toss and serve at once.

January 14, 2014: added a link to a blog post by Linda Wilshusen, one of the people in the back cover photograph.

Whole Earth Cookbook

Sharon Cadwallader, Judi Ohr

Recommendation: Nothing special

If you enjoyed Whole Earth Cookbook…

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For more about natural food, you might also be interested in Laurel’s Kitchen.