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Stop Smoking Pot! Consider Baking With It

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Stop Smoking Pot! Consider Baking With It

As we all know by now, smoking is a dirty habit. No matter what you are smoking, it discolors your teeth and fingers, leaves you smelling acrid and pungent, and provides you with a distinguished phlegmatic cough for years to come. As the smoking of cigarettes has dipped in both popularity and general acceptance over the last few decades, the use and smoking of marijuana (still relatively illegal in most places) is on somewhat of a high (forgive the pun). Marijuana, as a recreational drug, has experienced somewhat of a renaissance of recent, with the mainstreaming of the substance for medical use and the ardent political action put forth to legalize the plant for limited use (struck down in California in this past election, but sure to be an issue again in future elections). Pot is kinda hot right now, but smoking the stuff is still a bit problematic.

While the burning and inhaling of marijuana has been the dominant, and most conspicuous, mode of ingesting the drug, there has been a long and storied history of using the herb as…well, as an herb. Cooking and/or baking with marijuana has quite a pre-history before it became popularized in the 60s and 70s with “hash brownies” and “space cakes.”

As contemporary history of cooking with marijuana, or cannabis-based ingredients goes, the most infamous example is with the Alice B. Tolkas Cookbook published in 1954. Ms. Tolkas was commissioned by Harper’s to cobble together a cookbook that also provided a window into her lifelong companionship with writer Gertrude Stein (who had died a few years prior). Tolkas, while a competent home chef, found herself a bit short on recipes and began soliciting friends for trusted recipes and suggestions. Artist friend, and cultural innovator, Brion Gysin was happy to provide his recipe for “Haschich Fudge, which anyone could whip up on a rainy day,” with marijuana as the key, and active, ingredient. Unwittingly, Tolkas, who knew nothing of marijuana and didn’t have time to do any extensive recipe testing, decided to include the recipe in her book. The rest is countercultural history. For those of you that are curious, here is the recipe as printed (note: nothing in this post is, or should be read as, an endorsement of using any controlled substance in cooking – it can be dangerous and for Pete’s sake, it is illegal):

“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 stone 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…. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.”

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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3:39PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012


3:34PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

I don't smoke it but might try baking with it once to see how it is. I have a cousin who smokes it and maybe she could get a little for me. Do you use the same form of it that is smoked? Anyone know? Send an answer via introduction message & let me know.
Has anyone out there ever baked with it?

12:18PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Don't forget about vaporizing.
For god sakes,
if they just ended prohibition
they could finally promote these things for cigarettes as well without the stigma and maybe millions of people could prevent themselves from getting cancer.

3:40PM PDT on May 11, 2011

tee hee :)

10:50PM PDT on May 3, 2011

The high is much better,last longer too. Charles W you should try it it will mellow you out!!!!

10:59AM PDT on Apr 3, 2011

Support Herman Cain for US president!

5:03AM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

Vaporizing is the best intake method on several levels if not all of them. There is ample research backing this up.

In no way am I shoving out value/application of processing the chemicals through the digestive process, however, on average the variances compared to smoking/vaporizing are enough to have this method as a secondary or alternative option.

I am finding myself too lazy at the moment to hunt down a point by point comparative analysis; easy enough to locate though.

The delivery system of vaporizing negates every single valid science derived negative attribute the retched DEA and delusional naysayers against legal cannabis use put forth as reason.

Research e-cigarettes as a related subject - Wonderful harm reduction use for those who want their nicotine and oral fixation met (the latter seems to actually be far more potent in terms of addictive potential and utilization as an anxiolytic source).

5:10AM PST on Mar 11, 2011


2:58AM PST on Mar 11, 2011

That is really really cool!

11:37AM PST on Feb 28, 2011

A brownie a day keeps all your troubles away.

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