This year marks 50 years for the best band ever.
So many of my friends from near and far, from different chapters and far flung corners of the Earth, converged this weekend at Soldier Field in Chicago for the Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” shows. It pains me more than I can describe not to be there! Through the wonders of YouTube, I can watch the performances–Friday night’s rendition of Ripple (amazing!) left me choked up–but there is nothing that can compare to the transcendence of actually being at a show. Seeing old friends, and making new. Reveling in that energy. Spinning circles to notes floating through night air.
Photo courtesy of Jodi Zipkoff
It’s been 20 years since Jerry died, but the band’s music has lost none of its power. Instead, it continues to grow. To reach an ever-expanding audience. It’s extraordinary, really, how this group of musicians permeated a culture. Created a culture. A culture that still persists, though perhaps a bit more diffuse since the tour caravans stopped gathering in parking lot cities: joyous, technicolor worlds of drummers, dancers, vendors, three-legged dogs, hackey sacks, tarot cards, Birkenstocks, and VW buses. Babies draped across mothers’ chests in tie-dyed slings; toddlers wandering around carefree. My friend Amber and I used to do hair wraps in the parking lots (the best hair wraps this side of the Mississippi!) to make money for a veggie burrito and enough gas to get to the next show. And those veggie burritos were the best veggie burritos ever, let me tell you! They even inspired a cookbook that has an honored place on my cookbook-shelf:
I was planning on going back to see if I had any photos of the parking lots, of the shows. But then I stopped to think–and I don’t think I do. Those were the days before cell phones, before YouTube, before the need to document everything you did. Those were the days when an experience could be experienced, just for the experience. Those were the days when simple signs saying “I need a miracle” sometimes brought the holder the good fortune of a ticket to the show. And that was enough.
I wish I could have been in Chicago this weekend. Since that wasn’t in the cards, I did the next best thing: I smiled at the photos shared by my friends (many thanks to Jodi Zipkoff for all the #GD50 show photos in this post!), put on a pair of Birkenstocks, cranked some Dead tunes … and made a veggie burrito.
Parking Lot Veggie Burrito (A Grateful Dead Tribute)
(Makes 2-4 burritos)
2 T coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded & sliced into thin strips
8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, halved and sliced into thin matchsticks
2-4 tortillas/wraps (I used this gluten-free variety; this Paleo option looks great as well)
grated cheese (optional)
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skilled or cast iron pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and just beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).
- Add pepper strips and mushrooms, and saute 3 minutes more.
- Add zucchini and saute until everything is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes more.
- Remove pan from heat.
- If you’re using gluten free brown rice tortillas (or other wraps that easily break when cold), wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels, place on a microwave-safe plate, and heat in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, until warm and pliable.
- Place slices from 1/4 avocado down the center of the tortilla; smash down with a fork.
- Sprinkle cheese, if using, on top of the avocado.
- Spoon some vegetables onto the tortilla, leaving about an inch or so at each end.
- Fold the ends toward the center of the tortilla, and roll the wrap around the vegetables.
- Switch on some Dead Air and enjoy!