Food Co-op Leftovers: a Recipe for Ratatouille

Stephen Salaff shares what to do with leftovers if your food cooperative members are a no show: make ratatouille.

| July/August 1970

The food co-op is packed with food ... but whattaya do when the gang doesn't all show up to get their orders? Stephen Salaff laid down a leftover recipe idea in a recent piece for the San Francisco Good Times.

One Saturday afternoon in March, I met a bunch of people standing around a parked station wagon. It seems that the wagon had returned to Berkeley from early morning shopping at the San Francisco Farmer's Market with a load of vegetables. The people were part of the Food Conspiracy, which provides food to neighborhood groups at wholesale prices. One of them said that some co-conspirators had failed to collect their food at the assigned hour, and so it was decided to give away all the extras right out of the station wagon. This illustrates one of the problems of such a food distribution system — the members have to get to the distribution point on time.

I helped myself to the assorted vegetables, picking three medium-sized onions, eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini, and green peppers — fifteen in all. The dish I cooked with them is a vegetable stew from the French Provence region, called a ratatouille. It is, in one or another variant, a natural and colorful way to utilize a windfall of fresh vegetables.

Ratatouille Recipe

To make a ratatouille for six to eight persons, you will need, in addition to the above vegetables, two cloves of chopped garlic, at least one-half cup of olive oil, and one or more  tomato spices, like basil and chopped parsley.

Here's what you do with each vegetable:

Onions: slice thinly
Green Peppers: halve, remove core and seeds, and slice into thin strips (julienne slices)
Eggplant: cut into one quarter inch rounds, and then into one inch squares; no need to peel
Zucchini: peel and slice into half-inch pieces
Tomatoes: quarter

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