Alice B. Toklas: Inspiration to an Edibles Chef

Alice B. Toklas was the loyal companion of the famous author and avant guard art collector Gertrude Stein. They lived a fascinating life together in early 20th century Paris surrounded by the literary and artistic geniuses of their time. Both Stein and Toklas were American expats who adored Paris, traveling and each other.

The future luminaries who were entertained in Stein and Toklas’ Left Bank salon now line the walls of museums and the classic literature section of libraries worldwide. The likes of Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Brach, Matisse, Rousseau, Derain, Apollinaire and many other notables were frequent visitors to their Parisian Left Bank atelier.

 

Plaque at 27 Rue de Fleurus, Paris. Photo credit: Molly Poiset.

Plaque at 27 Rue de Fleurus, Paris. Photo credit: Molly Poiset.

 

While Stein was busy buying works of art and dispensing literary advice in the salon, it was Toklas’ job to entertain the wives and oversee food preparations for their notable guests. Later in her life she wrote “The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook,” which included her infamous recipe for “Haschich Fudge” (sic) referring to it as ”the food of Paradise.”

In her cookbook, Toklas wittily explained that upon eating her marijuana confections, one would experience, “Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected.”

She sarcastically recommended serving her cannabis-infused nut and fruit delights at a chapter meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution, also suggesting that her edibles were more “effective” if consumed with large quantities of hot mint tea.

 

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book 2014. Photo credit: Molly Poiset.

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook 2014. Photo credit: Molly Poiset.

 

Toklas died in her beloved Paris at the age of 89. If she were alive today I would ask her if Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, Fitzgerald or Brach ever consumed her Haschich Fudge. I would like to know if modern day geniuses like Steve Jobs and Carl Sagan were in good company with their affection for and inspiration from cannabis.

Many culinary trades have their own patron saints, even Parisian bakers have St. Honoré with a special holiday feast and dessert named in his honor. Perhaps cannabis patissiers, like myself, could claim Alice B.Toklas as our inspiration and patron. Wouldn’t that be a perverse twist on sainthood? Alice B. Toklas the patron saint of edibles chefs, cannabis cookbook authors and Parisian expats!

Although Toklas has been wrongly credited with inventing the ubiquitous marijuana brownie, it is still great fun to watch Peters Sellers in his classic 1960s movie “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas.”

Alice B. Toklas was born on April 30, 1877. Happy Birthday, Alice!

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