The Hippy Pie and The Sweater Curse

Today I have made The Hippy Pie of All Hippy Pies. It is so worthy, so ethnic, so beany and so wholefoodsome that even the most stony-hearted carnivore may be swayed to the vegan way by its earthy brown, splodgy charms. Not that I have any plans on converting anyone, or on giving up sausages or on going veggie or anything… but sometimes the thought of campfires, barefootedness and the dreaded style suicide of boho scarves and flowing skirts call strongly to my Felix Heart.

On such occasions, I must cook beans. There is no other way. I must cook beans and lemons. And garlic. And spinach. And bay leaves. And make stuff in a way that involves tasting the pot every few moments and licking the spoon and adding more salt, sweet, bitter, sharp until it tastes just perfect. This pie is made from moth beans, (I had to buy them because of the name) spinach, fresh coriander, loads of herbs and spices, lemon, garlic, carrots and onions, and it has a layer of herby mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes added in on top, and poppyseeds sprinkled on.

This kind of cooking reminds me of my mother as I remember her when I was about eight years old. She had a wholefood cookbook that she would periodically experiment with in amidst making toad-in-the-hole, (Fergus’ favourite) tuna fish pie, (Pops’ favourite) and yorkshire puddings (Ned’s favourite.) Thad wasn’t born then, and I loved everything she cooked so much that it is impossible to name my favourite thing. It seems sad to me now that in the years of endless nourishment I never learned of my mother’s preferred dishes amidst all she cooked, but it is my belief that she very much enjoyed her explorations of the wholefood cookbook. Subsequently, I have no fear of Hippy Food as it was always a part of my childhood, a way of sneaking some roughage and vitamins into a diet which also involved quite a lot of microwaved golden syrup sponge and fish fingers*.

My mother had lots of African-print skirts and floaty scarves and amazing blouses left over from her youth which I snaffled up as a very small girl for my dressing-up basket. The clothes made their way into my actual wardrobe during the teenage years. I got told off on the no-uniform day at school for turning up in bare feet and a long muslin dress but I thought I was fabulous thus garbed, floating through the corridors looking mystical and deep. I listened to The Doors, wrote atrocious poems about The Moon, and at some stage I painted a painting of myself as the naked Sun rising up through Stonehenge, with the upright stones of the circle being carefully positioned to protect my modesty.

Looking back on all this hilariousness I find myself imagining my Mum when she was younger than I am now, with her small children and her floaty skirts and her wholefood cookbook. I feel a lot of love for the earnestness of the cookbook and I remember my Mum in those times as the Goddess of Everything with her very long hair and ethnic prints. I believe these formative memories shape us forever, and so I am destined always to have this regressive, mother-goddess-worshipping Bean-casserole making aspect to my character.

Today I embrace this.

I think a major causal factor in these tender rememberings was the powerful force of wearing Rachael’s Jumper last night when I dressed up for her Friday the 13th Superstitions party as The Sweater Curse.

I really enjoyed being The Sweater Curse for one evening and Rachael’s jumper infused me with teenage angst since she knitted it during a period of suspension/expulsion from school, and the design was based on a really crap jumper she saw a man wearing in Camden. Made entirely from charity shop oddments in cheapest grades of acrylic, it is a masterpiece of Punk/Hippy style fusion. It’s powerful energies were strengthened during an ill-fated exchange trip to France in which Rachael’s bag (which only contained pants, art materials and this jumper) was destroyed when a tin of cow gum split open inside it. The jumper has a very stiff patch on the front as a result of the glue spillage, and apparently after the incident, Rachael’s pants got stuck to her jumper and thus dressed, she went to sit on Jim Morisson’s Grave and smoke.


So there was much remembering and nostalgia for our silly younger selves last night, and a lot of love. I don’t know if we are any less silly nowadays… Rachael was dressed as an umbrella open indoors, Louise came as a kind of S&M leprechaun, and Rosemary dressed up as a lucky penny. Her boyfriend came as a wishing well which was truly a sight to behold, but it was too dark in the club to take a photo of this. You’ll just have to imagine it. I believe he used empty takeaway cartons secured onto chicken wire to constitute the bricks that go around a well.

I hope all the fun and happy memories and love of teenage hippyness have made their way into The Pie. I am going to take it to Ellen’s house today for her Pi day Housewarming, and spread the beany joy around a little.

I might see if I have a floaty skirt hanging about somewhere…

*not eaten together as one dish.

3 Responses to The Hippy Pie and The Sweater Curse

  1. Pingback: The Domestic Soundscape » Blog Archive » Mother’s Day 2009

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