Here It Is! Alice B. Toklas’s Recipe for Hash Brownies


“Yesterday, I published a list of unusual literary cookbooks—and in doing so was reminded of perhaps the most notorious recipe ever included in such a volume: ‘Haschich Fudge,’ printed in The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book in 1954. Since this is Thanksgiving and you may be called upon to make dessert and/or come up with creative ways to tolerate your relatives, I thought I would share it again here. Of course this wasn’t Toklas’s recipe at all—it was sent to her by a friend, the artist Brion Gysin, who lived in Morocco. (You may not recognize the name, but he’s a literary celebrity in his own right, or should be: Gysin invented the cut-up method, which William S. Burroughs made famous.) Toklas signed a contract with Harper’s for the cookbook in 1952, but as the deadline approached, she decided she didn’t have enough recipes of her own and started asking her friends for help. This was Gysin’s contribution. … For those who’d rather hear it directly from the source, or who simply have their hands full, below you’ll find Toklas—dignified as can be—reading the recipe aloud on Pacifica Radio in 1963. She reads the above and then tells the interviewer: ‘The recipe was innocently included without my realizing that the hashish was the accented part of the recipe, and then I was shocked to find that America wouldn’t accept it, because it was too dangerous. Well this was an offense to the American eye and American thought because they were afraid they were up against the law. And so my publisher wired to Washington and asked the administration if it were possible to use such a recipe. Then it appeared, there’d been an outcry. The magazines took it up. … He said it was too late. Later, in conversation. So that was that. It never went into the American edition. The English are braver. We’re not courageous about that sort of thing.’ It did, in the end, get included in an American edition in the 1960s, and even inspired a plot point in the 1968 film I Love You Alice B. Toklas, in which the life of attorney Harold Fine (Peter Sellers) is forever changed when a beautiful hippie girl makes him a batch of fudge pot brownies. Which is as good an excuse as any to make these this weekend, or on the next rainy day.”
LitHub
W – Alice B. Toklas, W – The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
Open Culture: Alice B. Toklas Reads Her Famous Recipe for Hashish Fudge (1963) (Video)
The infamous Hashish Fudge recipe of Alice B. Toklas (Video)
Scientific American – Go Ask Alice: The History of Toklas’ Legendary Hashish Fudge (Video)
W – I Love You, Alice B. Toklas

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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