John Cage on
The Proper Diet
August 3, 1980
101 W. 18 St
New York

Mrs. Patti Arthur
The Village Resort Hotel and Restaurant
Caroline Islands

Good to hear from you. Do hope I see you again sometime. The diet is basically (at the center) brown rice and beans (any dried beans, soaked and then cooked). That makes a complete protein.

Then going towards fruit, you can have nuts, seeds, and vegetables, avoiding raw vegetables (too liquid), potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Don't eat fruit unless you can't resist it. (This is true too for alcohol, though I still don't resist it. I was drinking beer in Ponape, but that is too liquid; now I'm drinking whisky straight, preferably single-malt Scotch.)

Going in the opposite direction towards meat, you can have chicken and fish. Eggs are all right, I don't take many of them; no omelettes. But mayonaise now and then. Seaweeds are excellent: hijiki cooked with the rice. Wakame in a miso soup. And kombu in a tempura sauce (the water from boiled kombu is good as a general stock). No cayenne unfortunately. But ponape pepper is good. Salt should be sea salt.

My breakfast is gen mai cha (brown rice tea, a mixture of popped brown rice with a green tea without caffeine) or bancha tea (also Japanese). Then a granola made by baking together

  • 6 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of wheat flakes
  • cup of wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seed
  • 1 cup of cashew nuts raw
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of corn oil
  • 1 cup of sesame oil
  • 1 cup of Water
  • one tablespoon of vanilla.
Mix well and bake for an hour at 350° mixing every 15 minutes.

For lunch a piece of unleavened bread with or without peanut butter. The bread is made with all vegetable leftovers that are going bad, raw or cooked made into a gruel and then kneaded with whole wheat flour, left overnight covered with damp cloth, then baked for 1-1/2 hrs. at 375°

For dinner last night chick peas with dill and fresh coriander, oil, lime, salt and pepper, radishes and olives; brown rice fried with scallions and celery with a little turmeric. Roast.

- - - John Cage
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