Jonathan Talks to Jonathan

Jonathan Kauffman, a James Beard Award-winning writer, is returning to Seattle. The former restaurant critic at Seattle Weekly, he will be at West Seattle’s Westside School to discuss his new book, Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30 pm.

Jonathan recently sat down with Jonathan Shipley, Town Hall’s Marketing Manager, to discuss lentil casseroles, vegetarian cults, and the horror of carob.


JS: You lived in Seattle and now live in San Francisco. What’s different between each city’s food cultures?

JK: They’re really similar. There’s more money in San Francisco and so there are more high-end restaurants. The Chinese population is greater here, so there are better and more Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. Seattle’s got better seafood and, since it’s not as expensive as San Francisco, there’s more willingness to experiment in Seattle. They can try new things.

JS: What do you miss about Seattle?

JK: My family and my friends.

JS: What don’t you miss about Seattle?

JK: I like sunlight. I like that I don’t have to take Vitamin D supplements anymore.

JS: What inspired this new book of yours?

JK: I was having a meal in Seattle at The Sunlight Café on Roosevelt. I was being served steamed vegetable with tahini dressing, and whole wheat pastries, and veggie burgers and I was hit with a sudden sense of nostalgia. I grew up in the middle of Indiana. How did I grow up eating this food? How did lentil casseroles and stir fried vegetables with tofu and South African stews get there?

JS: What hippie food is your favorite?

JK: My reset meal is a big wok full of stir fried vegetables and tofu over brown rice.

JS: What hippie food do you detest?

JK: Carob is horrifying.

JS: Who was the most interesting interview subject in your book?

JK: Former members of the Source Family. They were members of a vegetarian cult in the 1960s and 70s under Father Yod. They dressed in white, lived in a mansion, were in a rock band (Ya Ho Wha 13), and earned their money off an organic vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles. They are pretty lovely people and are very positive about their time.

JS: What fact did you uncover in the book that most delights you?

JK: Tempeh [an Indonesian dish made by deep-frying fermented soybeans] was introduced by The Farm, at one time the biggest commune in America. The Farm, still in operation in Tennessee, have made three lasting contributions to the world: tempeh, home births, and radiation detection. I totally love them.


Whether you’re into granola or sprouts, co-ops or quinoa, Town Hall looks forward to hosting Kauffman at the Westside School. Join us!

What is your personal platform?

Claim this coming Inauguration Day as your own. What is your personal platform? What fundamental values support it? What is the most pressing challenge facing your family, or your neighborhood, or city, or state, or planet, over the next four years? What will you advocate, and what will you defend? And most important, what are you going to do?

On Friday Jan. 20, Town Hall will open its doors at 8 a.m. to witness the induction of a new U.S. President. Then, in partnership with The Stranger, from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. a selected group of citizens from across our region will be invited to declare their own platforms in a two-minute (350 word) inaugural address from the Great Hall stage, captured on video.

We will record your address in a simple, one-take video to be published to both the Town Hall and The Stranger websites. To submit your platform for consideration, send an email to info@townhallseattle.org with the subject line “Inauguration.” Include your name, phone number, one to three issues you will address in your platform. Please disclose professional or volunteer affiliations in the areas you plan to address. (This will not disqualify you. We just want to be aware.)

If you are selected, we will be in touch with more details. Your inauguration platform submission is due Tuesday Jan. 17, 9 a.m.

A platform is not a lament for things in the past, it’s the act of declaring a vision of the future. Begin by asking yourself: What are the greatest challenges we will face over the next four years? What are my personal and civic priorities? What, specifically, am I going to do?

Town Hall does not endorse any political position or cause—we endorse people finding their power through information and community. We are a place to deepen your knowledge, or to learn something new. To explore your passions, and to find new things to be passionate about. To connect to existing activism, and to organize new efforts. To press your case, and to respectfully consider someone else’s.

We are here to help you ask and answer the question “What am I going to do?”

Town Hall Past and Future

We’re just six months away from the beginning of Town Hall’s highly-anticipated renovation. As we prepare to revitalize our 100-year-old building, we are inviting our members to join us on February 26 at 2 p.m. for a celebration of this beautiful, unique space and its role in Seattle’s history. David Brewster (Town Hall’s founder), will be joined by Lawrence Kreisman (Historic Seattle), and Clint Pehrson (Town Hall Board of Directors), to tell the story of this place—formerly Seattle Fourth Church of Christian Science—and its transformation from an expression of 20th century religious community into a 21st century home for civic, intellectual, and cultural life.

David Brewster founded Town Hall Seattle, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com, and Folio: The Seattle Antheneaum. He will share the story of how this building became Town Hall’s home and the need he saw for a mid-sized, multi-disciplinary arts and civic center in Seattle.

Lawrence Kreisman has spoken eloquently about Town Hall’s Greek Revival building with its fluted column entrance and terra-cotta sheathing, and he has a particular interest in the showpiece of the sanctuary: the stained and leaded glass windows and dome, created by the Povery Brothers of Portland, Oregon. He will discuss these signature features and place the Povery Brothers’ work in context.

Clint Pehrson has practiced architecture in Seattle since 1980, specializing in facilities for cultural institutions—libraries, churches, civic, and arts organizations. In addition to being a current Town Hall Board member, he was one of the original investors who made it possible to purchase the building and create the Town Hall Seattle we know today.

After the program, you are invited for a behind-the-scenes tour of Town Hall.* In a century-old building, there are many interesting places to explore that you don’t normally see—from the organ loft, to backstage green rooms, and so much more. It is wonderful way to imagine what the renovation will mean for the future of the space and your future experience at Town Hall.

[button link=”https://townhallseattle.org/event/town-hall-past-and-future/” bg_color=”#ff0808″]RESERVE YOUR TICKETS TODAY[/button]

*Tours on February 26th will be limited. After you reserve your ticket, look for your invitation (sent via email) two weeks before the event to secure your building tour space. We will be pleased to help you RSVP for one of our twice-monthly building tours if space does not allow you to participate in this one.

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