We can attribute the whole edible craze to a refugee from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Alice B. Toklas, who fled her native city for Paris six months later and wound up there in the warm, welcoming embrace of another refugee, Gertrude Stein. Together, they invented the Twentieth Century, leisure class version!
The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, published in 1954, seven years after Stein’s death, although full of recipes, is really an autobiography, but since Ms. Stein had already published the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1933, Ms. Toklas called it a cook book!
Brion Gysin’s recipe for Haschich Fudge
(which anyone can whip up on a rainy day)
This is the food of Paradise – of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies Bridge Club, or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco, it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather, and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. 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 if you can bear to be ravished by ‘un evanouissement reveille.’”
Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverised in a mortar. About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of cannabis sativa can be pulverised. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.
Obtaining the cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognized, everywhere in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope. In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called cannabis indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.
The laborious and painstaking research required by this project is rewarded from time to time by the unlikeliest nuggets of wisdom found, such as this passage from the chapter called Servants in France:
“Helene was without humor and was always practical. When the Titanic sank, she said she thought the Anglo-Saxon gallantry of saving women and children first was unintelligent and unnatural. She believed families should be saved first, then single people.”
I suppose that each side of proposition will always have champions, but I like the emphasis it gives the family, which I believe is the best idea in human history. History must be on my side, too, because it travels through families, not people.