05
Feb
10

Fun with food

I’m on an extended self-education tour of sorts with respect to the alt culture that’s grown like a weed in California, and since so much of my “knowledge” about this culture has been produced in Hollywood I’m always interested in seeing how those images have evolved over time.   Or devolved, as the case may be.  I just got around to watching a really interesting MJ/Hippie Culture film from 1968 that I’d never heard of before – forgive me if my age is showing – called, “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!”

For those of you who, like me, didn’t know this film, be warned – it has almost nothing to do with Gertrude Stein or Alice.   The film, starring Peter Sellers, traces the “education” of a 35-year old (square, Jewish) lawyer in L.A., initiated into full-blown Hippie culture through his accidental ingestion of marijuana-laced brownies.  The brownies, by the way, are the real star of the film, hence the title.  Here’s the straight dope on the brownies and the title (thanks Cecil):  In 1952, Harper’s convinced Gertrude Stein’s partner (and sometimes literary character), Alice B. Toklas to write a cookbook.  In her haste to fill the required number of pages, she solicited recipes from friends, one of which became famous: “Haschich Fudge”.

But here’s the most amusing part – the recipe couldn’t possibly produce anything but gritty, unpleasant-tasting fudge.  In the film, one box of Betty Crocker brownie mix + one dime-bag = instant hilarity.  And I mean INSTANT, Reefer Madness-style wackiness.   I’ll give the filmmaker credit – he didn’t demonize the weed or the hippies.   In fact, both are credited with setting Sellers on a more thoughtful path in life.  Pretty benevolent, all things considered.  I guess things looked more hopeful pre-Altamont.

Back to the brownies – the recipe puts me in mind of a disappointing episode in my own past, with some British friends, all gathered around a pot of steaming, hashish-laced, nasty-tasting hot chocolate that produced…nothing.  Well, not nothing exactly.  It did manage to produce the distinct impression that Brits knew even less about getting stoned than I did (at the time, back in the late 80s; I’m sure they’re much wiser now, as we all are).   Obviously, though, unless those brownies bake for something like five hours, there’s going to be very little hilarity to go with all of those calories.  And why the fuck didn’t we just smoke that hash?  I may be more stoned now, but I was clearly stupider back then.

And speaking of stoned stupid, one of New York’s finest just proved that people have a much better understanding of proper cooking techniques with weed today than they did back in 1968.  After getting fired for partaking a little too much, a NY Detective threw his wife under the bus at his appeal, blaming his THC-laced urine on his wife’s “Alice B. Toklas” spaghetti and meatballs – read here.   The judges weren’t having any, though, rejecting the argument that his wife would have secretly fed him the drug in order to get him fired and keep him alive (and poor).  Showing a greater understanding of both cooking techniques and drug testing, the panel of judges in his case concluded:

the high levels of marijuana found in Chiofalo’s hair samples could not have come from accidentally ingesting the drug in food or from second-hand smoke.

Or maybe not.  I mean, the guy’s Italian and from New York – he might eat A LOT of spaghetti.  Regardless, that has to put the nail in the coffin for the  Marion Jones/Barry Bonds “accidentally-drugged” excuse.   Don’t try this one at home, stoners.

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