A festive deep-dish eggplant pie was the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table at the Golden Valley home of Mike and Charlene Plitman. A "Celebration of Peace Menu" -- which included mushroom soup, an apple-squash-date casserole and honey-orange cake -- was culled from "Ritual of the Hearth," a newly released collection of seasonal vegetarian menus by Roberta Sickler, back when a 196-page cookbook cost $3.95. Ready-to-make borscht, packaged as a Christmas present. A brown rice-kidney bean casserole, prepared in a pressure cooker.
All were among recipes in a "Vegetarian Holidays" edition of Taste, published Dec. 11, 1974.
The section's newfangled Dining Out column also got into the meat-free act, examining a pair of vegetarian restaurants: Mud Pie in Minneapolis and Common Place in St. Paul. "Don't go to either of these restaurants expecting a posh setting or costumed waitresses," decreed critic Peggy Katalanich. "Do go expecting delicious food at reasonable prices."
Katalanich also spent time behind the scenes at the then-four-year-old New Riverside Cafe in Minneapolis, a vegetarian collective on the West Bank [the restaurant closed in 1997]. "There's no legal definition for 'collective' in this state," Katalanich wrote. "Therefore, the operation can be as flexible as the members want it to be. In fact, the cafe is so flexible that there are no set or even suggested prices for the food. The motto is take what you need, pay what you can." Ah, the 1970s.