Bohemian Rhapsody

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“From the little old lady who gave you hashish fudge” read the headline in the February 1974 issue of Vogue. The profile of the late Alice B. Toklas turned out to be more tease than delivery, since none of the recipes attached to the article actually contained weed. Still, Toklas — who’d passed away seven years earlier, at age 89 — was, as the writer described her, “a counter-culture byword.” Miss Toklas, in her prim clothing and stern expression in black-and-white photographs, seems an unlikely advocate for getting high. But, thanks to a recipe for hashish fudge, published in 1954 in the British version of “The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book,” Toklas’s intelligent, brittle-looking and mustached face became an icon of the pot brownie, America’s first-gen edibles. Perhaps the pinnacle of her cannabis notoriety came with the 1968 Hollywood rom-com “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!” in which Peter Sellers plays an uptight attorney who unwittingly gorges on brownies laced with weed (shaken like dried oregano into a bowl of batter whipped up from a Pillsbury boxed mix), thereby precipitating a rethink of his life’s priorities. Toklas’s journey to cannabis fame started in 1952, at a time when Toklas was desperate. Gertrude Stein, her de facto wife (the women had declared themselves married in 1910, though France, where they lived, did not legalize same-sex marriage until 2013), was dead. Although Stein was arguably the most famous American writer of her generation, and stacks of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Matisse filled their Paris apartment, Toklas needed money. Now, as a 73-year-old widow­ surrounded by a great art collection she refused to dismantle out of love for Stein’s memory, her situation had become dire. But Toklas had another collection she hoped would prove almost as valuable as the Picassos: her…

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Source : Bohemian Rhapsody

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