Monday, February 2, 2009

The Hash Brownie Love Story

Written by Brandon Johnson

When you think of hash brownies you would never image a love story between a lesbian couple who used to hang out with Picasso in France. But that's how it started, with Alice B. Toklas, a free-spirited Californian who moved to Paris to pursue an art career at the age of 30. Upon her arrival in France, Alice found her soon to be partner of 39 years, Gertrude Stein. Stein was a famous author who embraced Alice as soon as they meet. Their friendship exposed Alice to a life of art and intellect. Together Alice and Gertrude hosted soirĂ©es that attracted the likes of famed writers, Paul Bowles, Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, and modern artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Henri Matisse. As Gertrude and Alice’s friendship grew over the years, they became romantic. Alice had more influence in Gertrude’s work. In addition to being Gertrude’s lover, Alice was also her editor, confidant, cook and muse for 39 years. And in 1946, after a long and loving partnership, Gertrude passed. As an act of remembrance, Alice decided to write a memoir of her love affair with Gertrude in a cookbook.

With an approaching deadline and not enough recipes to complete her book, Alice solicited her artsy friends to send ideas and one Brion Gysin, a painter and humorist, gave Alice a brownie recipe, which would be the introduction to the hash brownie, as we know it. Along with the recipe Brion wrote this preface:

"This is the food of Paradise... It might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR... Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better."

This “Haschich Fudge” recipe included peppercorns, cinnamon, mixed nuts, fruits, and the ingredient, “cannabis sativa”. Alice with no time to test the recipes, overlooked the hallucinogen and the cookbook titled, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, was sent for publishing with the ingredients cannabis sativa included. Though the Haschich Fudge recipe was removed from the American edition, it was printed in the British version. Once the press got whiff of this, the recipe’s recognition skyrocketed. The "Haschich Fudge" became the main plot element in the 1968 film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas with Peter Sellers, and is currently a favorite menu item in Amsterdam cafes.

Needless to say, we strongly advise you not to buy, make, or eat this product, but what a love story.


Anonymous said...

I can vividly remember how offend I felt in the 90's when "non-black" people cavalierly ranted about how well Colin Powell spoke.
Do "they" rant about your wonderfully blossoming writing technique too? : )
Great blog...!!!

Anonymous said...

I can vividly remember how offend I felt in the 90's when "non-black" people cavalierly ranted about how well Colin Powell spoke.
Do "they" rant about your wonderfully burgeoning writing technique too? : )
Great blog...!!!

Jane said...

It’s not the 90’s or the 60’s. The world is evolving into a very diverse, all encompassing place. So instead of saying” they”, “them”, and “those people” be apart of the solution and say "we". Nice Love Story by the way!

Dazy said...

Hey I too tried baking cup cakes and brownies just after my exams got over. I go weak in the knees with a mention of muffins and brownies.