jude’s culinary journey

Art and design 

Posted 12/27/23

I went to the High School of Art and Design, a few blocks from Central Park in mid-town Manhattan. It was the ‘70s, and some of the best years of my life. 

As far as I’m …

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jude’s culinary journey

Art and design 


I went to the High School of Art and Design, a few blocks from Central Park in mid-town Manhattan. It was the ‘70s, and some of the best years of my life. 

As far as I’m concerned, it was the greatest time to be growing up. I was reading Albert Camus, Hemingway, Colette, Hermann Hesse, Jack Kerouac and the poetry of Kenneth Patchen and the Beats. I kept my journal in a Kahlil Gibran diary. After school, I’d lie on the floor of my bedroom in front of my record player, listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Joni Mitchell; Stevie Wonder; Marvin Gaye; Carol King; and James Taylor. 

When Neil Young was the star attraction, my dad would pop his head into my room and say, “How can you listen to that whining?” 

“It’s the lyrics,” I would murmur.

Art and Design brought together creative, passionate kids from the five boroughs. The school offered classes in photography, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, painting, silk-screening, packaging, fashion design and advertising. Here was where I was introduced to the movies of Bergman and Truffaut and to poetry and creative writing. Everything was new and important and we were hungry to explore, experiment and grow. 

At this time, an interest in health foods was just taking off. My friends and I began to explore a different way of looking at food, how it was prepared, and where it came from. We read “Diet for a Small Planet” and purchased the Moosewood cookbooks. Many of us cut out meat and refined products from our diets. Natural food stores were opening up all over the city, and I began to drag home bags and boxes of dried soybeans, brown rice, carob pods, herbal teas, whole wheat pasta and breads, and jars of molasses and honey.  

After researching how meat was processed, I decided to become a vegetarian. My mother clipped articles on the availability of free-range fowl and organic products, persuading me to keep chicken and fish in my diet. She had always been supportive of my interest in food and cooking, and now she encouraged me to cook this new food for some of our family meals. 

At the beginning of my experimentation, we endured gluey buckwheat macaroni, mournfully dry soybean casseroles that could easily have been used as doorstops, and weird combinations of strange-tasting ingredients.

My school friends were creating similar concoctions of their own, and we decided to work together to produce interesting and delicious meals. Instead of eating the cafeteria food that we all found repulsive, we would each prepare a dish or course at home and bring it to school to share with four or five friends. Soon enough the kids around us, who sat with trays of mystery-meat patties, shredded carrot salad with raisins, and gloppy pasta dishes, were eyeing us enviously and asking if they could taste what we were devouring.  

It was an exciting time of change for all of us, and to this day, I still try to eat in a healthy way. 

One evening all those years ago, puttering around the kitchen, I made a pot of curried carrot soup with fresh ginger. It was even better the next morning when I reheated it and poured it into a huge picnic thermos. It was a great success at lunch that day, though as we drank from the school’s Styrofoam cups, we wondered if they were indeed bad for the environment, as we suspected. It put just a tiny damper on our enjoyment.

judes, culinary journey, neil young, art, music,


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