John Lennon Eats

By on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Everyone over the age of 35 remembers this week vividly from the year 1980. December 8, 1980. John Lennon would have been 70 now and it is interesting to think about where he would be and what he would be doing right now. My guess is he would be an unflagging antiwar activist, perhaps living in NYC still and enjoying the city’s proliferation of farmer’s markets and vegan/vegetarian cuisine.

But in 1964, Lennon was eating pretty much what the rest of the Beatles were eating. In an interview with Gene Love, Ringo Starr summed up their standard fare: “We eat steak usually if we go out. Steak and chips. Eggs and chips. Beans. Bacon. Chicken.” For an undisclosed period of time, the Beatles’ breakfast of choice was marijuana, although Lennon also enjoyed corn flakes.

Later on, Lennon’s proclivity for “health food” (that’s what they called it in the 60s and 70s) perhaps proves that once again he was ahead of his time. When his son Sean was a baby, Lennon became a stay-at-home dad, trying his hand at homemade bread and dabbling in art.

Bloomberg’s Mark Beech, in a humorous “what if” post on Lennon at 70, surmises he would have adopted a macrobiotic diet by now (with occasional splurges on fish and chips and Brandy Alexanders). He also would have admonished his “chum” President Obama for not passing a bill requiring free organic food for the homeless.

Organic Strawberries?

Lennon considered his 1966 song, “Strawberry Fields Forever” as one of his best works. And yet it has nothing to do with his taste for the fruit. In fact, Strawberry Fields was the name of a boy’s orphanage near his boyhood home. Lennon says he spent many happy hours hanging out in the woodlands behind it. In a 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon tried to explain why he felt so alienated from the world.

“I thought I was crazy or an egomaniac for claiming to see things other people didn’t see…It caused me to always be a rebel. This thing gave me a chip on the shoulder; but, on the other hand, I wanted to be loved and accepted. Part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic musician. But I cannot be what I am not.”

As someone who hated to look backwards or live in the past, Lennon might have been uncomfortable with all the retrospectives on his life. His musical genius and outspokenness on the ills of society means he cannot be forgotten. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but all I want to know is, how did his homemade bread taste? I think I’m missing the point. Whether creating a piece of music or perfecting a recipe for fresh bread, Lennon no doubt feasted more figuratively–on making a change, on positive disruption–than literally on food.

Written by Erika Kotite

Erika Kotite is an editor, writer and owner of Toque.


  1. Donna Pizzi says:

    Thanks, Erika, for memorializing John Lennon and his breadmaking! One facto, I didn’t know about a man I idolized as a kid, and once spent an afternoon with in the Sheridan Square Bookstore. Of course, Yoko was there, too, and I was just gawking at my hero, but hey… just being in his presence was thrilling enough for a kid who came to NY to act on Broadway and did… for one night!

  2. Amy Zavatto says:

    RT @ToqueMag: John Lennon Eats — and he baked bread, too.

  3. Scott says:

    I remember a few days after John Lennon’s death, my Mom, Dad, one of their frneids and myself went to Bartlett Square in downtown Tulsa Oklahoma. They had a big memorial there where I read recently that more than a thousand fans gathered for it. I remember people crying, and people singing along to Beatles songs that were being played. I was 6 at the time. I was raised on the Beatles by my parents. I remember seeing some other little kids playing by some downtown art sculptures, and running over to play with them. We were laughing and running around and climbing around the art work. I remember it got really quiet, which must have been when people were observing 10 minutes of silence. I went back over to my parents. I saw more people crying and suddenly felt remorse for playing, laughing and making new frneids. Someone important had died. I started crying and told my mom that I felt bad for playing.My Mother lifted my spirits and told me that John Lennon would be happy to know that children were playing together at his memorial.

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