First published in 1954, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is one of America's great works of recollection, culinary and otherwise. Toklas lived, cooked, and kept house in Paris and rural France with her companion, Gertrude Stein, from 1908 until Stein's death in 1947. During that time she cooked for and shared food with friends, including Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Thornton Wilder, accumulating recipes for the simple and haute bourgeois dishes compiled in the book. She also saw and remembered all, from life in the high bohemian circle she and Stein occupied; to France during two world wars; to the United States, visited in the '30s; to summers passed in a paradisiacal country retreat at Biligin in France. These and more Toklas depicts vividly and acerbically, all viewed through the prism of food and good eating...And here's the recipe for "haschigh fudge":
It all started when Alice signed a contract with Harper's to write a cookbook in 1952. She was a pretty fair cook, but what Harper really hoped to get (and what by and large it got) was not so much recipes but tales of her life with Gertrude Stein, who had died in 1946.
With the deadline only a few months away, Toklas, then in her mid-70s, found herself half a book shy. So she began soliciting recipes from her artsy friends. This recipe was contributed by wiseacre painter friend named Brion Gysin.
Alice, unfamiliar with "canibus" (at least as spelled by Gysin) and lacking the time to test the recipes, stuck her friend's contribution into her manuscript and sent it off to the publisher. The American editors at Harper's spotted the suspicious ingredient and held the recipe out, but the publisher of the British edition didn't. The press promptly went nuts. The rest is history.
This is the food of Paradise – of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: It might provide entertaining refreshment for a Ladies Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). 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 an ‘un évanouissment reveillé’.
Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of de-stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of cannabis sativa can be pulverized. 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, everyone 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.