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From counterculture to pop culture, how pot brownies came to reign as 'OG edibles'

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Drinks at Chicago’s Wake-N-Bakery can be prepared in four styles: “Keep It Basic,” “Fuck It,” “Hell Yeah,” and “Double Fuck It.” Each selection represents a hemp-derived THC dosage ranging from 30 to 120 milligrams.

From pink crushed kush lattes to scoops of edible cookie dough, this cannabis café offers customers a variety of ways to make baked goods. , a deceptively simple dessert stands out in a pastry display case. It’s not a basic brownie, it’s an “edible OG”.

As the legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use continues to spread across the country, a market for unique foods has grown with it. and gourmet options such as single-varietal dark chocolate bars made with cabernet sea salt and premium full-spectrum cannabis.

But even in the non-stoner segment of mainstream American culture, pot brownies are considered idiosyncratic. It is also a symbol of the covert activism that has sparked the proliferation of various edible foods in the United States.

In 1954, Alice B. Toklas’ eponymous cookbook was published in the United States, with all but one recipe. Nearly a decade later, in an interview with Pacifica on his radio, Toklas recounted how Harpers ruled out instructions for making Moroccan hashish his fudge. “The recipe was naively included without realizing that hash was an accent part of the recipe,” she said. I did.”

In reality, Toklas’ Hashish Fudge was a DIY version of Spice Candy and not so much fudge. The recipe given to Toklas by avant-garde artist Brion Geysin did not include chocolate. Instead, it started with a punchy mix of black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander.

All these should be ground in a mortar. Chop and mix a handful each of crushed dates, dried figs, shelled almonds, and peanuts. A bunch of Cannabis Sativa can be crushed. This should be sprinkled over the mixed fruit and nuts, along with the spices, and kneaded together. About 1 cup of sugar dissolved in a large pat of butter. ball.

“You should eat with caution,” warned Toklas. “Two works are enough…a storm of euphoria and brilliant laughter; expect ecstatic fantasies and extensions of personality on multiple fronts at the same time.”

When Toklas’ cookbook was re-released in the early 1960s, the recipe was back on the page. Moroccan fudge was quickly lauded by members of the burgeoning counterculture movement, who began experimenting with the recipe until it was Americanized into the fudge brownie.

The Pot Brownie made its big picture debut in the 1968 madcap film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. Peter Sellers plays Harold Fine. His secretary-turned-her-fiancée is due to marry a young hippie named Nancy, played by Lee Taylor-Young.

After a wild night together, Nancy made Harold a batch of pot brownies, but she neglected to tell him about the “secret ingredient”. It offers them to those who want it, inspiring nights of laughter, light paranoia, and a journey that takes Harold’s life in a whole new direction. Movie trailers tease audiences with recipes.

“Hey Swing Housewives, this is your master of the kitchen,” a voice announces. “Loop your love beads. I’ll give you some tips from the grooviest cookbook ever. First, scour the shelves there until you find the one with the picture on it .”

The camera pans to reveal a box emblazoned with the words “Fudge Brownie.”

“Now pour it into the pot,” says the narrator, emphasizing the word “pot.” “Any old pot will do. A moment of magic is about to come. Stop and think, “Have I got the secret ingredient?” Have I got the secret ingredient. ”

Taylor Young as Nancy then sprinkles the contents of the spice container onto the batter much like a cook would add oregano to a pot of pasta sauce.

The dessert, promised by the narrator, can add “a psychedelic side to any occasion.”

Desserts, the narrator promises, can add “a psychedelic side to any occasion.” This inevitably changes their lives. At least in some way, even if it’s just about how others see you.

‘Bernie Miller’, ‘Degrassi’, ‘Eurotrip’, ‘Frasier’, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, ‘Shameless’, ‘That 70’s Show’, ‘This Is 40’, ‘Yerba’ Buena’, to name just a few, all of which contain official variations of the story.

Pot Brownie (and this trope) hit the small screen in a particularly memorable way when home viewers were introduced to Christopher Lloyd as Jim Ignatowski in “Taxi.” As Mark Freeman wrote in The Hollywood Reporter, “TV had never seen a relic of the ’60s like Jim.”

Viewers will eventually learn that Ignatowski was a genius early in life. When his life changed forever from that fateful first bite. I went from writing reports to finger painting. “The typewriter looked very impersonal,” he explained.

The two-part episode, called “The Road Not Taken,” was critically acclaimed. It aired in 1982, just a few months before Pot Brownies hit the headlines again, but for a very different reason: That December, Brownie Mary Jane Russ, better known as Her Mary Ban was her second arrest in years.


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According to the New York Times bestseller In Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide, Rathbun had already been arrested once after San Francisco police overheard her selling food in her sideline kitchen. When she was 57, she said, “She already had a sweet, elderly look, and reporters were thrilled with the idea of ​​a weeding granny…her arrest made national headlines.” I did.”

Instead of sending Rathbun to prison, a judge sentenced her to community service at San Francisco General Hospital, where she saw for herself the early toll of the AIDS epidemic. Before her new arrest in 1982, Rathbun ate hundreds of pots a day for AIDS patients, whom she called “children,” to help maintain her appetite and manage pain. I was starting to bake brownies.

Rathbun helped pass Proposition 215, which made California the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, but never revealed the brownie recipe. “When they legalize it, I’m going to sell the brownie recipe to Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines,” she once told reporters. Please buy an old Victorian clock for us.”

Rathbun’s own recipe died with her in 1999, but pot brownies have managed to maintain tremendous cultural staying power. Christina Wong, founder of culinary cannabis brand Fruit + Flower, believes there are several reasons for this phenomenon.

“You have to remember, for a long time there were no real ‘instructions,'” Wong told Salon Food in a phone interview. It’s easy to get, even if it’s messed up, it’s delicious.It’s hard to find fault with it.”

“The brownie has become part of oral history and has been passed down.”

For that reason, the popularity of pot brownies may be due, at least in part, to chocolate’s ability to mask the strong cannabis flavor.

“In the past, some people have taken higher doses for medical reasons, which can result in strong, strong flavors.” Chocolate masks a weedy taste. very good for

Portrayed in both “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas” and “Taxi”, the idea that cannabis can be completely hidden in a brownie is not the work of any activist, but a film and television show. It continued to prove to be a popular vehicle among directors. Like Rathbun, it explains more openly and demystically the potential health benefits of cannabis.

But there is a growing movement within the cannabis edible community to find more creative ways to cook with cannabis that don’t involve masking the cannabis flavor entirely, Wong said. “I love good pot brownies,” Wong said with a laugh. “But sometimes we can do better.”

Wong started with cannabis-infused chocolate chip cookies a few years ago. spreading.

“Why would you want to cover the taste of something so beautiful, wonderful and delicious?”

“Funny enough, someone else recently asked me what the best way to mask the weed flavor, or some tips and tricks,” Wong said. Do you want to cover the flavor of something delicious?”

Edible manufacturers are increasingly looking for ways to highlight the different flavors of different types of cannabis. This is a process Wong calls “pairing stocks.” Evidence of this can be seen in unscripted cooking contests such as “Bong Appétit” and “Chopped 420,” as well as cannabis supper clubs in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Portland.

It’s also evident in places like Wake-N-Bakery, where customers can order “Double Dream Mocha, f**k it-strength, with oat milk” or THC-infused raspberry white chocolate scones. It seems like it is, and it’s all (at least in part) thanks to the humble Pot Brownie.

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