***This will be the first in a semiregular series about my findings at the Margaret Husted Culinary Collection at DU’s Penrose Library—a remarkable, undersung cookbook archive whose 1000s of specimens run the gamut from serious historical finds to, well, the following.***


“From the Unsquare corners of North Beach, The Village, and Venice West, comes this authentic collection of Beat Recipes” published by 7 Poets Press in 1961, according to the intro, which continues:

“Most of the recipes are inexpensive (who has bread for steaks?), quick to prepare, and a gas to gobble, compiled over a period of three years spent On The Road and two years Up the Creek. …
A Loft is not a Pad without a Beat Generation Cook Book—Eat Beat! It’s the way out, Man.—The Editors.”

(Psychedelic highlights courtesy of me!)

Thing is, the recipes are wack like crack (or, less anachronistically but less mellifluously too, like LSD). Check out the 1 for Streetcar Pie:


Groovy, eh? At least I think so, though the ambiguously gendered guy with several missing toes in the illustration at the bottom of the page doesn’t seem so sure.


Now it’s your turn to spot the pot-fueled humor!


But here’s the best part: the back ad.


Sure wish Bukowski & Hughes had contributed some recipes too, although in the former case I guess it would just be:


1 bottle of beer, unopened

Open bottle. Serves 1.

As for Hughes—what, dried grapes?

After all, poets tend to be too busy writing, fighting, drinking, & going insane to think about eating much, never mind developing recipes. And bona fide rock stars like Sonny & Cher? Forget it.


Which makes “The Yardbirds’ Lemon Butter Chicken” a little hard to swallow. But sure, maybe that wacky Don Adams, aka Agent 86 on Get Smart, really did whip up a dip of port wine, peanut butter, raw onion & processed garlic cheese from time to time to smear all over Agent 99 back in the trailer.