2003: The HempNut Cookbook Foreword By Christina Pirello

The year was 1994. I was in my office, agonizing over the outline for my first cookbook (four books later, I still agonize…), when the phone rang. I answered distractedly.

“Hey, Christina,” said the warm voice on the line. I relaxed as I recognized the throaty greeting of my dear friend Richard Rose. “Will I see you at Expo?” He was referring to the Natural Products Expo (an annual showcase for natural foods) held in Baltimore.

“Of course! What’s up?” I knew Richard to be ahead of his time, a truly innovative thinker with a penchant for the creative and slightly offbeat. I also knew that Richard had to be excited about something to be calling. We’ve been friends since the early 1980s, both of us pioneers in the tofu industry, always looking to the next horizon.

“Come by the booth. You’ll see…,” he laughed. Of course, my curiosity piqued, I tried to coax information from him, but in the typical style of my friend, he wouldn’t reveal a thing, except that I’d be surprised.

Fast-forward to the Natural Products Expo. Walking the show floor, I looked for Richard in the soy products section. Not there…hmmm. Looking through the program guide, I found nothing to give me a clue, so I walked the show looking for his signature luxurious, long blonde hair. I soon found him, in the midst of a crowd at his booth. I had to work my way to the counter to see what was so intriguing to the delighted mob.

I braced myself for the big surprise, only to see containers of tiny little seeds…hempseed, as it turned out. Hempseed? That was it? Surely, he was kidding.

I stood back and waited for the crowd to disperse enough for me to get Richard’s attention. After our usual warm embracing greeting, I drew back and shook my head. I will readily admit that I thought my dear friend had lost his mind. Aware of hemp and hempseed, I didn’t think much about them, except from an environmental standpoint. I wished that our farmers could still cultivate this valuable crop, yielding fiber for cloth and paper, nourishing the soil and requiring little or no pesticides. I loved the fabric that came from hemp, loved its durability and soft texture. But food? Surely, even Richard Rose couldn’t pull this one off!

Over the next few years, Richard educated me about using hempseed and hemp oil as food, and I came to be a true believer that hempseed is, indeed, the hope of the future. The health of my family and me has improved even more, thanks to the use of hempseed in our daily diet. Why? More than thirty-percent complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids necessary for digestion, rich in the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, (occurring in optimal ratios for long-term health), respectable amounts of omega-9, trace minerals, vitamins, fiber and other essential nutrients, hempseed is a powerhouse of nutrition. Nutrients essential to the health of humanity…and the planet…exist in these tiny seeds and the oil pressed from them.

Of course using hempseed for food is not a new idea. They have been enjoyed throughout the world for thousands of years, staving off hunger, used in traditional medicine, eaten by hardworking peasants for strength and endurance. Still widely used in Asia and Europe, hempseed has been pretty much off the radar screen in the United States, thanks to misunderstanding, politics and special interests.

That is, until now. Richard Rose, always inventive, honest and ahead of his time, has seen to that. His decades of trials, tribulations and experience in pioneering soyfoods have served him well as he created the finest and most creative hempseed foods the market has seen…or ever will see, in my opinion.

Although considered the father of the modern hemp food industry, Richard never rests on his laurels. Working with hempseed and oil, Richard marketed the finest, cleanest shelled hempseed, even inventing the terminology in use today, and breakthrough technology for better shelling and quality. Virgin hempseed oil of the highest quality, corn chips, veggie burgers, nut butter and cookies (all stunningly yummy and always THC-free, by the way)…even vegan lip balm that leaves your lips feeling like you’ve just been kissed…not just softly kissable…like you’ve been kissed.

And it hasn’t stopped there. For the last year, Richard and I have been working together to develop the most revolutionary and innovative hempseed foods and products that the world has seen. Our combined experience, wisdom, willingness to take risks and the complete mutual trust that comes with long friendship is forming the foundation for this latest adventure.

It has been my honor, delight and privilege to call Richard my friend…and business associate. When he asked me to edit the recipes in this important, informative book…and add a few of my own, I was thrilled to be involved. This book is the cornerstone of accurate information on hempseed, their rich history and their past and present value to humanity. Richard’s years of meticulous research and hard-won experience fill these pages.

Reading this book will lead you to the inevitable conclusion that humanity’s future health rests squarely on these ancient seeds. To work with Richard, to share his excitement about hempseed and to work with this incredible food source is continually challenging and inspiring. My experience with hempseed and oil has been one of delight and amazement, as I discover recipe after recipe, use after use, for this remarkable plant’s seeds and oil.

I may have laughed at my friend when he told me that hempseed was “the soybean of the new millennium” and the best hope for the future of our food supply, but I’m not laughing anymore…unless you count my giggles of delight in working with hempseed and the genius behind the modern innovation of its uses, Richard Rose.

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy the recipes in this book as much as I have enjoyed editing them. Richard was right: Hemp is hope. How delicious for us!

Christina Pirello
Host of Christina Cooks
Author of “Cooking the Whole Foods Way,” “Cook Your Way to the Life You Want,” “Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty” and “Christina Cooks All Things Good and Healthy

January, 2003