A Visit With Nikki and David Goldbeck – and a book giveaway!

The Wall Street Journal called The Supermarket Handbook the “manifesto” for a food revolution “that may be in the wind” back in 1973. And Nikki and David Goldbeck’s 1973 best-seller did help revolutionize America’s diet. The Goldbecks were early proponents for a broader acceptance of healthful foods and better food labeling, now mainstream ideas.

Over 30 years and many books later, David and Nikki still believe experiencing the joys of real food is the best incentive for people to do something about what is happening to our food supply.

It’s a full circle moment when we can stop and compare notes with our fellow organic food pioneers. We’re lucky to have become acquainted with the Goldbecks in their current hometown of Woodstock, New York, where they agreed to chat with us.

Nikki and David Goldbeck. Photo courtesy Hudson Valley Life.

How does it make you feel to see that the mainstream has come around to your way of thinking about food? Did you think that would happen?

Of course, it feels great. At the same time it’s amusing and at times frustrating to hear people telling us about these “new” ideas. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been there ahead of the crowd. David’s book, The Smart Kitchen, pioneered green kitchen design. We wrote Choose to Reuse, a book on reuse in 1995, when reusable shopping bags were still a novelty, and we published Clean & Green, a book on nontoxic cleaning, before the stores were stocked with more benign cleaning products. We are glad to see all of our concepts are finally catching on.

How did you get started with eating a wholefoods cuisine? Can you take us back to the beginning? What led you down this path?

In the late 1960s, we were living in NYC, where David was practicing law in legal services and Nikki was working on Madison Ave. doing food PR and recipe development. Influenced by friends and the times, we became aware of how meat was “manufactured” and decided on New Year’s Eve to go vegetarian for a week. After a week, we never looked back. This “experiment” led us not only to experience the joys of meat-free cooking, but began an awareness about food additives, food processing, chemical farming and the like — that launched us on our way.

We have always advocated a diet focused on wholefoods, a term we coined in American Wholefoods Cuisine, and define as “fresh and unfragmented foods that are as close to nature as possible.” Our “Wholefoods Philosophy,” which expands on this concept and is explained in more depth in that book, has remained essentially unchanged since we began this journey some 40 years ago.

What’s the easiest way for people to change their eating habits, if they feel they should?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating. What is of utmost importance in staying with any diet is enjoyment. Whether you are one person or a family, hate to cook or love it, there are choices you can make that are simple, healthy and fun. One of the ways we think about food is to “dine each day as if you were in a different foreign country.” That way you get both variety and pleasure.

How can people use spices to make simple foods more interesting? Do you have a go-to spice that you find yourself using on lots of dishes?

Spices are the foundation of every good cuisine. Remember our advice to eat each day as if you were dining in a different foreign country? What distinguishes all of these cuisines is the way in which they take basic foodstuffs and flavor them to create the world’s great culinary delights. Oddly, the spice we turn to quite often is cumin – it seems to work with so many different cuisines … Arab, Israeli, South American, Indian, African, and more.

Let’s get back to your books. What was your first book? How did you write it? Did you test the recipes yourself?

The first book was Nikki’s cookbook, Cooking What Comes Naturally, A Month of Vegetarian Menus. Following the “trial” vegetarian week, and constant questions from family and friends about what we were eating, David began writing down what we had for dinner on a calendar. After 30 days, we realized we had eaten more interesting and varied meals than ever before.

As a result, Nikki began to refine the recipes, David served as the #1 food taster, and a book was born. As luck, or timing, would have it, Nikki made friends with a woman on the bus going to work who told her that Doubleday, where she worked, was considering a vegetarian cookbook. And as they say…the rest is history.

Did you go on a book tour then?

We went on a small tour. But what stands out is our appearance on the Donahue show, which was just ending its run in Dayton, Ohio and about to move into the big time in Chicago.

Tell us about your visits on Donahue. (For our younger readers, Phil Donahue’s show was the precursor to Oprah)

Over the next few decades we appeared three more times on Donahue, filling the entire hour talking about each of our subsequent books, starting with The Supermarket Handbook and then American Wholefoods Cuisine. He was a terrific host (even though he did wave around tofu and compare it to wallboard!) And it was quite a challenge, since there was no TV kitchen. We still laugh about the time we were holed up in the Drake Hotel in Chicago cooking on improvised equipment in preparation for the show where we introduced vegetarian wholefoods cooking to America.

Nikki & David cook with Phil Donahue.
Donahue turned over four one-hour shows
(c1974, 1977, 1979, 1983) to the Goldbecks to present their
approach to wholefoods shopping, cooking and nutrition.

You’ve also written a restaurant guide, Healthy Highways, to help people “avoid the fast-food lane” when dining away from home. Do you see this as a new direction in your work?

Healthy Highways is the next logical step in our food writing as we see it. We have written about how to shop for wholefoods, how to cook them, how to choose a healthy diet, and how to set up an environmentally-friendly kitchen.

But the missing piece was how to eat healthfully away from home. In Healthy Highways, we “travel” state-by-state, city-by-city, letting people know where they can find a natural foods store or restaurant that features vegetarian and vegan meals.

Our goal is three-fold: to help people eat well away from home; to bring customers to natural food stores and vegetarian and vegan restaurants; and, to encourage restaurants everywhere to pay more attention to people looking for meatless meals and healthier options. We are happy to say that there are more eateries around the country offering real (and creative) choices – not simply a plate of vegetables or salad.

Thanks so much, David and Nikki! It’s been great to connect with you and to see you’re still stirring things up in the food world.

Now in its second edition,  American Wholefoods Cuisine contains more than 1300 recipes and has been hailed as “the new Joy of Cooking.” Admired by M.F.K Fisher and nominated for the prestigious Tastemaker Award, this book is a culinary triumph of vegetarian cuisine and foreshadowed today’s emphasis on wholesome foods.

And the Goldbecks have given some of the delicious, practical and healthy recipes you’ll find in the book to our website.

Check out the simple goodness of such dishes as White Bean Paté, Potatoes Nicoise, Stuffed Clam Shells Areganata, Hot Open-Face Tempeh Sandwiches and African Bean Soup in our recipe collection.

We think this book belongs on every cook’s shelf. And Nikki and David want to give a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine to a lucky fan on their Facebook page! Their page is a handy resource for recipes, tips and articles about a natural vegan diet.

Just visit their page, click “Like” and leave a comment telling them why you’d like a copy of the book, between now and March 6. 

 They’ll choose a winner at random after March 6 and send that lucky fan a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine. 

REMEMBER — don’t leave your comment to win the book here, please leave it on the Goldbeck’s Facebook page – link above.

2012: The International Year of the Co-op Contest

2012 has been recognized as the International Year of Co-operatives by the United Nations.

This is an acknowledgement that co-operatives drive the economy, respond to social change and are resilient to the global economic crisis. They’re vital and successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

We’d like to give you a chance to support and contribute to the growth of the co-op movement. Simply post a photo on Frontier Facebook page between February 5 and February 18 that best represents the strength and vitality of your co-op. (The co-op needs to be an actual bricks and mortar storefront, so buying clubs and websites are not eligible.)

Here’s an example:

Moscow Food Co-op, Moscow, Idaho - Fair Trade Event

Then launch your own campaign to get your friends to vote for your photo on our page!

The owner of the photo with the most votes between February 19 and 25 will be rewarded with a prize of a $150 shopping spree at your favorite co-op.

And for every vote received, we’ll donate 25¢ to the Cooperative Development Foundation.

The CDF is instrumental in assisting start-up co-ops as well as providing support and training for existing co-ops. CDF has been around for over 65 years, supporting cooperative enterprise worldwide.  From tsunami recovery efforts to cooperative home care, CDF is making a difference in people’s lives.

Here are the details and official rules.

Don’t forget to snap that photo next time you go shopping!

Herbal Summer Teas

Hey, Frontier Facebook fans: we really, really like you. Every time we ask you for suggestions and ideas, you come through with excellent combinations and uses for our products that we love to learn about.

Recently we asked our fans for summer tea ideas. As usual, they made us crave a refreshing iced tea, preferably from a Mason jar. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Just plain old sweet tea with a lemon, from a Mason jar, of course!
  • Peppermint! Very refreshing.
  • Black with raspberry herbal. Green with citrus. Double Bergamot Earl Grey.
  • Just good cold well water!
  • Grandma’s sweet sun tea!
  • Frontier Raspberry green tea makes a WONDERFUL sun tea!
  • Frontier Spiced Chai steeped, cooled, iced with a little half and half. Yummy!
  • I make all sorts of sun tea…anything from a mixture of my herbs to tea bags…I love it all.
  • I go thru a gallon every 2 days!
  • I make sun tea about every other day, 2 half gallons: one, black or a mix of black & green, for sweet tea; and the other, either just peppermint or a mix of green tea, roses, cinnamon and peppercorns.
  • Peppermint tea, with leaves fresh from my yard.
  • Raspberry and just plain old green tea. I sweeten w/stevia or honey.
  • Orange and blueberry are a lovely combination.  I’m diabetic, so I sweeten with Splenda or Truvia.
  • Mint tea!

Speaking of mint tea, it’s hard to beat as a drink to help cool you down on a sizzling summer day.

Try this easy recipe for making your own, combined with juicy strawberries and lemon, for added sweetness.



















8 lemons, juice only

1 quart of your favorite sun tea

¾ cup sugar

4 strawberries, chopped, per glass


sprigs of mint

slice of lemon


Mix the lemon, water, and sugar to create lemonade to taste.

Mix with your sun tea.

Pour into 16 oz glass.

Add strawberries.

Add ice cubes.

Add mint sprigs.

Finish with slice of lemon and straw.

Let us know your favorite summer teas!

More on herbal summer teas on our website.

ReUse Connection

Since one of our missions on this blog is to keep unraveling the puzzle of sustainability, we appreciate it when we come across recycling tips that make sense and as a bonus are fun, too. If you ever wonder what you can do with that mountain of Starburst wrappers on the floor of your car, this is your kind of site.

Since 2009, ReUse Connection has been using social media to promote the re-use of materials and items by providing a platform for people to share and discuss re-use examples. . . and by supporting eco-entrepreneurship.  It’s an inspiring use of Facebook in particular, with over 70,000 followers engaging in discussions and sharing tips for re-using materials in endlessly creative ways.

In the site’s own words:

“ReUse Connection sees ReUse as a much broader umbrella, including recycling, upcycling, some repurposing, etc. Our knowledge sharing purpose is to aid people in thinking outside the box. . .

At times, we focus on the “use” part of ReUse, seeing utility in items or materials otherwise destined for the landfill: for example, repurposing an item or material that has never been used or will never be used because it is expired or blemished.

While some of our content may not directly achieve the goal of reducing waste, our broader goal is to demonstrate what is possible and hopefully stimulate people to act on that imagination.

ReUse Connection aims to reduce waste and improve environmental health by:

1. providing knowledge sharing about ReUse, and

2. creating economic opportunity (with individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporations) by seeing value at the back end of the material stream.”

This is sustainability in action. They’re in the process of developing a website, and in the meantime have created a Facebook page that’s become a clearinghouse for ideas of all kinds.

A few of our recent favorites:

Beach bag made from mesh produce bags, courtesy the journals of giddy giddy

Striped cotton wrap around skirt size 6Y made of a man shirt, courtesy French Garderobe on Etsy

Tie bag from ReUse Picasa page

Ski rack idea/photo courtesy Orvis

Granted, some of the ideas may not appeal to everyone, but one of the things we most enjoy about the Facebook page is the give-and-take in the comments following the postings. Fans on this site aren’t shy about expressing their opinions on whether new ideas make the grade or not.

For more info on the genesis of ReUse Connection and its founder, Ian Moise, here’s an informative interview with him from the website Blue Planet, Green Living.

You may want to become a follower on this page; there’s certainly something new every day. Let us know if you try any of these ideas, or post your own!

May 14 is World Fair Trade Day: Wake Up the World!

Been wondering what the term Fair Trade Certified means when it comes to food? If you have a general idea that it may be a “good thing” but aren’t sure where to find these foods, or how to use them, your day is coming.

You can join Fair Trade supporters from around the world to celebrate World Fair Trade Day with a Fair Trade Breakfast on Saturday, May 14.  It’s easy to get involved and take action in support of social, economic and environmental sustainability for farmers and workers around the world.

The Fair Trade USA website is full of creative ideas if you’d like to raise awareness about Fair Trade while having fun and enjoying good food in the process. You can also join the Facebook page for Fair Trade Certified and exchange ideas there.

One suggestion is to prepare a Fair Trade Breakfast for your family and friends. Take a moment to educate guests about Fair Trade by identifying the Fair Trade Certified ingredients used for each dish. Or enjoy a Fair Trade breakfast on your own. It can be as simple as making a cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee or tea and eating a Fair Trade Certified banana.

When you see the Fair Trade Certified mark on food and other goods, you can be assured that the producers in developing countries have received a fair price for their products that allows them to make investments into improving their local community and infrastructure.

With Fair Trade Certified ingredients ranging from pasta and spices to cocoa and tea, you now have many options for making a positive contribution to the lives of producers, sustaining the earth and the global ecomomy. And of course you can use Fair Trade Certified spices to enhance your dishes.

You can prepare entire Fair Trade meals for any time of day. As you plan a meal, simply check through your list of ingredients to see which ones may be offered in a Fair Trade version.

Here are some suggestions for easy ways to integrate Fair Trade ingredients into your cooking:

  • For main dishes, you might go with Fair Trade pastas, vegetables and spices.
  • Use Fair Trade avocadoes, tomatoes, or other veggies for salads or side dishes.
  • You can find many hot drinks and beverages in the Fair Trade range.
  • Enhance your meal with home-baked breads, cookies and desserts using Fair Trade fruits. Those Fair Trade bananas mentioned above can now be found at almost any food store these days. They were one of the original fruits to become widely certified; now the products available are much broader. You can discover your own creative fruit combinations.

Your support of Fair Trade doesn’t have to end with food items. More and more Fair Trade kitchen and table items are becoming available: place mats, tableware, napkins, serving dishes, etc. Explore the possibilities — many stores will be offering suggestions and specials for World Fair Trade Day, so check with your local natural and organic retailer.

Please let us know if you have any plans for this day, or if you have any favorite Fair Trade Certified foods or products.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Trip Through the Frontier Recipe Files

If you’re a fan of Frontier on Facebook, you’ve seen the recipe links we post there often. If you’re not a fan on Facebook, you can become one here.

Sometimes when we post a recipe, one of our customers will comment, “Where can I find more recipes like this?” On our website, that’s where!

We’ve spent many hours gathering and editing our collection of recipes. A lot of them were developed in our test kitchen or were contributed by talented friends and employees, but we also have gotten permission to share over a thousand natural food recipes we’ve chosen from wide range of cookbooks.

You’ll find a nice variety of recipes — from appetizers to vegetarian — in 14 categories with subcategories for ethnic cuisines and ingredients. There’s also an ingredient and recipe title search box. There’s a print version of every recipe, too, so you can save your favorites. We hope you think of our website the next time you need a new idea for a natural dish.

We’ve got quite a file of cooking articles and tips too, and that’s a story for another day.

Some of our Facebook fans are starting to let us know how recipes turn out when they try them. We love this!

On that note, here’s a quickie you can make and use tonight. It’s a lemony butter you can put on your favorite noodles, on bread, or on a baked potato.

Lemony Pasta Butter

Place a big dab of this flavorful butter on hot pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and coarsely ground pepper, and you’ve created a delightful main dish! It’s also terrific on baked potatoes.


1/2 cup softened butter or soy margarine
1 teaspoon chervil leaf
1 teaspoon marjoram leaf
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, or freeze for use as needed.

Let us know if you try it. Or, give us your own tip for adding spices to butter to turn up the flavor.

Thanks for stopping by.