Greenwich Village, 1968

May 27, 2016

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Just came upon this Greenwich Village Cookbook sitting on my bookshelf, and started flipping through the pages, dreaming of all the restaurants I went to as a child.

I was startled to find so many esoteric recipes: almost every trendy modern food was on somebody’s menu, and while the pesto might contain cream cheese (at Fellin), the restaurant also proudly served rabbit.  The eel in the unadon at Shoei was frozen, but what other restaurant was serving eel in 1968?  And the basic recipe section at the end includes tahini, pita, tortillas, green noodles, crepes and – remarkably, I think – the recipe for home-made filo dough below. 

The glossary describes ackee, brocolli di rape, tamalina, ugli fruit, rice sticks, tree ears and tiger lily flowers. To my amazement the shopping index tells you where to buy them all.

On this summery hot day I’m offering up two of the dishes I loved best as a child. When we went out to eat I begged my parents to take me to Sevilla for green clams, or Steak Casino where I gobbled up the clams casino.  Even today, when either dish appears on a menu I find them impossible to resist.

One small note: If you’re making the first recipe, it’s definitely worth purging the soft shell (steamer) clams before using them.  This is how you do that.

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And now that filo recipe…. Note the warning at the end!


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  • Annie says:

    Love knowing that 1968 dates the style and colours of the illustration of the cover, and what constitutes “bohemian” food as Greenwich Village surely was thought to be — the espresso, the garlic bread, the Chianti bottle with the dripping candle wax…. I love this post and now going to explore the whole “Vintage Books and Magazines” section.

  • Joshua Friedman says:

    Anyone remember Cafe Bizarre? It was on THE street that sold hippie beads, tie died mumus, beadies, peace sign thingies. My mom and dad took me there for my birthday probably in about ’65-’66. They put sparklers in their ice cream floats. I was thrilled to be in The Village. I started life on 122d st near Amsterdam in ’54. On the corner was a Chinese place called Lucky’s. Chinese restaurants had names like Ruby’s back then. There was mu gu gai pan (an omelette with brown sauce), chop suey and some sort of noodle dish no one from China would have heard of. More exotic was the Symposium. According to google, it started in 1969. The mousaka was ethereal in comparison to what else we had to eat then. I still order mousaka when I see it on a menu, in the hopes of being similarly transported. Another exotic was the Hungarian place on about 112th and Amsterdam. Goulash, paprikash. Looks like there is just a pastry shop there now. There was an Asian market on Amsterdam between 123d and LaSalle. I discovered bean sprouts, bean curd and 1000 year old eggs, when I was about 11. Not to mention Slim Jims, from the deli next door.