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OP: Country Commune Cooking

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by Lucy Horton

Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1972. Comb bound. Very Good. First printing.

If you never make a single dish from Country Commune Cooking (1972), it is still a magnificent ethnographic and, often, over-the-top narrative which documents the lives and recipes of 43 communes visited by author Lucy Horton. Though she sets out alone, Horton is joined by “longhairs,” “freaks,” and “draft dodgers” who are happy to offer rides and share a joint along the way. 

There are too many wonderful anecdotes to retell here (you’ll really just need to get a copy to see for yourself). A chop suey recipe provided by the Furry Freak Brothers of northern New Mexico, for example, is preceded by the author’s two-page account of hitchhiking to witness a baby’s birth, along with over twenty others, “the group clustered around the bed cried out with each contraction, some chanting ‘om.’” The story ends with jubilant tears and a prompt announcement of the baby’s astrological sign (Virgo sun, Capricorn moon, Scorpio rising).

Another recipe, acquired from the Brotherhood of the Spirit cult in western Massachusetts, begins, “get everyone together and get a good feeling between you. Work out anything and everything that lies unexpressed.” Only then should you proceed to make the bean and vegetable soup called Spirit in the Flesh, for which the most important ingredient is, of course, love.

Our copy is a Very Good first printing. The book block is totally clean and crisp, though the plastic comb has various breaks on the lower quarter. An absolutely delightful book.

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