"It was a terrific time to be a kid," recalls Jordan Goldstein of the Summer of Love in 1967 in San Francisco, where she grew up at the epicenter of the Cultural Revolution.
Jordan was a flower child --with an emphasis on the word "child." She was just 11 years old, an age when it would have been normal to sell lemonade at a stand. Instead, Jordan and some neighborhood friends strung together beads and sold them to the free spirits who converged on their Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
"It was great to see people exploring different ways of living," says Jordan, now a self-employed communications consultant who still makes her home in San Francisco with husband Allan, a published author. "I feel for the people who had to run away to San Francisco and find a place to be. We were there…to see the Grateful Dead playing in the park and then come home for dinner, it was incredible.
"Growing up when and where I did exposed me to a lot of social upheaval and my parents were open to talking about it and in some cases participating in it. I came to know a wide variety of people doing a wide variety of things, some good and some not so good. I learned not to judge a person by appearance, but rather to try to understand what motivated his or her actions and what values were behind them."
It was love of a certain dessert that motivated Jordan to start cooking. "The first thing I learned to make was lemon meringue pie, because my mom said if I wanted one I'd have to fix it myself!
"I've been lucky to be exposed to much good cooking and great ingredients all my life," she adds. "I cook for Allan and myself daily, and often for a niece who is close to us and her new husband and baby boy. I also bring something nice each week to my 91-year-old neighbor across the street. My mom and three sisters and their families are nearby, and we do at least one huge get-together each year. With everyone, we number 24."
Food and cooking are forever linked to a defining moment in Jordan's life in the Bay area--the 1989 earthquake. She had sent Allan and a friend off to the World Series game in Candlestick Park with meatloaf sandwiches and she was in the kitchen making hot pepper jelly.
"I was boiling vinegar with hot peppers on the stove when I heard the earthquake coming. When I heard the sound it took me a second to process because it sounded like a big, empty moving van coming toward me. I knew what it meant, and I knew I had a problem with the open gas flame and the boiling hot vinegar. I grabbed the heavy iron lid, placed it on the kettle, and turned off the gas. Then I backed away and as I reached the doorway, where I've been told it is safest, the shock hit our little place.
"The cupboards opened in sequence. The refrigerator door opened up and condiments spilled out. The radio went quiet as the electricity went out so I didn't hear the broadcasters react as the quake reached the stadium. A six-story apartment building on our block neatly hopped off its foundation but stayed intact. Our front window cracked; some brick facing broke off the front of the building. The water and gas pipes were undamaged, but the service was halted.
"The combination of things breaking and the noise of the quake itself was very loud. After it passed, the silence was deafening. I thanked my lucky stars and then rushed out the front door. From my steps I could see a plume of dark smoke. That's when I knew it was very bad. I was seeing smoke from the fires that eventually consumed large portions of the Marina district…
"Thankfully, Allan and Dennis eventually made their way home--the game (and the series) was postponed. Little by little we made the contacts we needed to make, and despite a rash of aftershocks, managed to find enough candles to comfort ourselves with light.
"We ate the rest of the meatloaf. I even strained the vinegar later that evening, saving it until the gas came back on. I did eventually make a good batch of hot red pepper jelly and it became an icon of the quake. On the jar labels I named it 'Earthquake Jelly.'"
Jordan writes, "If you can't find good lean ground pork, grind or mince in the food processor a couple of boneless sirloin chops. The flavor is worth the trouble. My husband Allan likes me to cook it with as much exposed 'edge' as possible so I use a foil pie pan as a 'rack.' Poke holes into the bottom of it with a wooden skewer and place it upside down in a larger baking pan."
Preheat oven to 375° and prepare the baking pan. Gently combine all of the ingredients except the chili sauce. Form into a round loaf, and either use Jordan's method or a rack to hold the meatloaf up above the bottom of the pan, to make all the edges crispy. Bake until well browned and the internal temperature reaches about 160°, about an hour. Remove from the oven and spoon the chili sauce all over, spreading with the back of the spoon. Return to oven and cook another 10 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and glossy.
Prep. time: 10 minutes (15 if grinding the meat)
Cooking time: 70 minutes
Nutritional Information: Servings 5;
Serving Size 2 slices (195g); Calories 360; Calories from fat 180; Total fat 20g; Cholesterol 130mg; Sodium 610mg; Carbohydrate 14g; Dietary Fiber <1g.
Jordan explains, "Pronounced 'Tzimmiz'– it is a Yiddish word meaning a jumble or a mess, and there are as many different recipes for it as there are cooks. It usually includes some wine, and a fruit ingredient, raisins in my version. The ginger and greens are the California touch!"
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger (if using fresh) and scallions and cook until softened. Add the sweet potatoes and beets and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth, vermouth, THYME, PARSLEY, PEPPER and GINGER (if using POWDERED GINGER). Cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes start breaking up and the beets are tender, 15-20 minutes. Add the raisins and the beet greens (sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons) or spinach. Stir well, and if there is a lot of liquid, leave the lid off as the greens cook for 5-10 minutes until tender. If the liquid is mostly evaporated, leave the lid on while the greens cook. Serve with rice, bread or pasta.
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 20-30 minutes
Nutritional Information: Servings 6;
Serving Size 1 cup (214g); Calories 200; Calories from fat 80; Total fat 8g; Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 430mg; Carbohydrate 29g; Dietary Fiber 5g.