The Swinger

JackLalanneI published a recipe for The Aware Inn’s famed sandwich “The Swinger” some time back. But now I have a new improved version, thanks to Isis Aquarian, one of the members of Jim Baker’s commune when he was a spiritual leader named Father Yod. She was one of his 14 wives, as well as the commune’s historian and archivist. (A 2012 documentary film and book about the Source family commune is available.)

This recipe, which is superior to the one I found earlier, was published in the late fitness teacher Jack LaLanne’s 1962 book Abundant Health and Vitality after 40. Isis was hunting for an authentic recipe for the sandwich and was steered in the right direction by Jack’s son Dan (shown below in a recent photo with Isis). I can see that the proportions make more sense and that the eggs, missing previously, would be needed to hold it all together.

isisANDdanAccording to Isis, Jack LaLanne was not much of a restaurant goer until Jim Baker and his wife opened up The Aware Inn. He became a frequent visitor, along with many other health-conscious Hollywood celebrities such as Ed “Kookie” Byrnes of the TV show Seventy-Seven Sunset Strip.

Jack and Jim had known each other even before Jim moved to California in 1951 and joined the Nature Boys, a group of young men including LaLanne who lived in Topanga Canyon where they slept outdoors, got good tans, and ate an organic diet.

Needless to say, to follow Jim’s recipe correctly the beef used in The Swinger should be from naturally raised cattle and free of hormones and other injected chemicals.

4 lb ground beef
2 whole eggs
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese
½ cup finely chopped green olives

Jack says in his book to mix and “caress” all the ingredients into large patties. Cook on a grill or broil. Do not use charcoal. He also advises, “Best served rare.”

© Jan Whitaker, 2014

4 Comments

Filed under alternative restaurants, food

4 responses to “The Swinger

  1. Kyle Eidson

    Very interesting. I remember the swinger from the Discovery Inn up in the Hollywood hills in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I still make them at home and still love’em.

    • isis aquarian

      Kyle…the Discovery Inn was in Topanga Canyon and Jim was the chef there for awhile or took it over or something…it was his first adventure in restaurant-ing. He was living and making sandals from a barn in his back yard up in Topanga then he had a very famous sandal shop on Fairfax, before opening the Aware Inn then The Old World and then The Source. would love to get some of your stories of those times re the Discovery Inn. I am on facebook if you could message me :)) isis aquarian

  2. Thanks Jan, I always love your posts and your archiving the food legacy of so much in L.A. –where the health food movement got its birth and toe hold. Jim Baker was for me the Ultimate Animal Man…then as Father Yod he went on his journey into a more of a morphing into his spiritual man.
    So to read how to make the swinger, especially rare, always brings a laugh for me..as Father Yod and the Source Restaurant he was one of the first to bring vegan/raw natural and vegetarian to the forefront in the 60 and 70’s…all of his Restaurants have left a legacy that many still today are influenced by either in their eating or opening new restaurants in the now. He was called a “Food Guru” :)) He actually knew and befriended Jack LaLanne after the war in one of the vet. rehab hospitals and they remained true friends since..they both were students and friends with Paul Braggs and many of the founding mentors of the natural and health food movements. soooo many stories.
    xo isis
    We do have a book out…a Film/documentary for further interest ….you can go to http://www.yahowha.org
    facebook: the Source Family Documentary
    website for film: thesourcedoc.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s