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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Modern Hippie Pot Roast #SundayFunday #Sponsored

I recently received a copy of The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully by Lauren Thomas from the publisher. And, as usual, I dug in with sticky notes, a pen, and an eye for anything that interested me. Many thanks to The Collective Book Studio for the complementary copy of the cookbook.

There were many recipes that jumped out at me when I first flipped through and I decided to create my version of her Pot Roast with Carrots and Onions for the final Sunday Funday event of 2022. Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. This week Sneha of Sneha's Recipe is hosting and directed us to "create meat dishes." As I mentioned, I was inspired by The Modern Hippie Table. Here's the line-up to make all of our inner carnivores salivate...

On the Page

Before I dig in to my recipe, I want to offer my thoughts on this cookbook. First, I was completely unfamiliar with Lauren Thomas, her lifestyle blog, or this cookbook and the ensuing website, The Modern Hippie Table. When I received the book from the publisher, it was not at all what I expected.

To me, having lived in Berkeley for half a decade, the word 'hippie' conjures up images of an anti-society youth (or not) with long, unkempt hair who swings far left politically and actively protests against the establishment. Add to that use of illicit drugs, a waft of patchouli oil, and, possibly, the sentiment that eating anything with a face is bad and you have my version of a 'hippie.' I have met hippies who lived in trees with their families. There are even students at UC Santa Cruz who currently live in the redwoods of the campus. They are called 'Woodsies,' they attend classes, and they live in the forest. When I asked my boys for their definitions of 'hippie', D added that true hippies are likely vegans who forage or garden. R mentioned barefeet.

Don't get me wrong, there are degrees of hippiedom and I fall in there with how I eschew monoculture, factory farms, embrace organic, family-run farms, make most of my food from scratch (including sourdough and sometimes cheese), and hug trees. I shun drugs and patchouli oil; I do eat things with faces, but I have actively sought out ways to know who and how my food is produced. I have purchased meat shares and stocked my freezer with the meat of one lamb raised by a farmer I know; I belong to a community-supported fishery that discloses who and how the fish was caught...and always in a sustainable way. Hippies are more connected to, or at least interested in, the planet and the environment.

While her recipes are inspiring, Thomas' slick, Instagram-ready tablescapes do not say 'hippie' to me.

To be fair, she explicitly defines her concept of 'Modern Hippie' as "a place where old meets new, sophisticated meets simple, and fancy meets fun" (pg. 1). She writes that it's "an inviting atmosphere with whimsically elegant tables showcasing uncomplicated traditional foods enhanced with fresh twists" (pg. 1). Okay, I love that! But none resonates with me as a hippie, modern or otherwise.

A Modern Hippie Pot Roast

Adapted from Lauren Thomas' cookbook

Still many of her recipes were ones that I wanted to try. And I decided that her pot roast was perfect for this #SundayFunday event. I have never made a pot roast and had everything I needed. My version is slightly adapted from her recipe. I used za'atar instead of just salt and pepper to rub the meat and I tossed in some sprigs of fresh thyme while the meat braised. Also, 'baby carrots' in a recipe make me cringe. They are not baby carrots, as in juvenile. Instead, baby carrots are sculpted from larger carrots and are a waste of perfectly good carrots. So, from my hippie foodie soapbox to you: skip the baby carrots and just buy actual carrots, then, cut them to the length you prefer. This pot roast was a hit with my meat-loving crew.


  • one 3 to 4 pound brisket or bottom round roast

  • 3 Tablespoons za'atar (one version in this post)

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced

  • 4 carrots, cut into large chunks

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

  • one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 1-1/2 cups broth (I used a veggie broth because I didn't have beef broth)

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup organic dark brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato sauce (or paste)

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • Also needed Dutch oven


  1. Preheat oven to to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Sprinkle 1-1/2 Tablespoons za'atar on the brisket and massage the spices into the meat. Flip the brisket over and rub the remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons za'atar into the other side.

  3. Heat olive oil in the Dutch oven and brown the brisket on both sides until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the brisket from the pan.

  4. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic into the pan. Stir to coat with the oil in the pot and whisk in the sugar, vinegar, tomato sauce, and broth.

  5. Place the brisket on top of the veggies. Pour the diced tomatoes over the meat.

  6. Cover and place in the preheated oven.

  7. Braise for 5 hours until the meat falls apart when pulled with a fork.

  8. To serve pull the meat apart with a fork. Serve hot.

More Modern Hippie to Come...

I did try her Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes...actually I served it with the pot roast. And I am looking forward to trying her Guacamole with Tomato and Feta, Wasabi Deviled Eggs, and Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Stay tuned. I am also adding this post to January's #FoodieReads, here.

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