Grateful Dead, pot marijuana, under the influence

NYTimes Dining Gets High

Photo illustration by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

It’s my after work cocktail, my sometimes social lubricant and my best friend to fight off insomnia. Now, the NY Times is focusing on marijuana’s influence on some of the best chefs in the US and the reality of it’s casual use in culinary circles (Thanks Kate for the heads up).

Roy Choi, who owns the fleet of Kogi Korean taco trucks in Los Angeles, likens the culinary culture that has grown up around marijuana to the one that rose up around the Grateful Dead years ago. Then, people who attended the band’s shows got high and shared live music. Now, people get high and share delicious, inventive and accessible food.

This is where I am, raised on the notes of Jerry Garcia and the world of Phatty burrito’s. As I’m packing up my apartment to move soon, I’ve come across printed pages of hippie cookbooks, with special ‘baked’ recipes, and over 9 boxes of Grateful Dead related bootlegs. It’s the community atmosphere that being a deadhead instilled in me that has completely carried over to my love and sharing of food. And, as it happens, the smoking of marijuana followed along with me.

But, honestly, this is a simple story that can be traced all the way back to 1954 and Alice B. Tolkas and her cookbook that included “Haschich Fudge”, though it’s purported that Ms. Tolkas didn’t realize that it had cannabis in it until well after and the recipe was nixed from American publication of the book.

But be it brownies, rice krispie treats, caramels or cookies, marijuana can be incorporated into any where that butter may show itself. One of my favorite examples, was a few years ago during the Forage! Grow! Kill! Deathmatch when someone served mussels with a pot butter sauce. I thought it was a brilliant use and wished I was there to have tried them.

Thanks to Johnny D for his pics and report!!

But, will we be pairing our Lemon Freeze or Chem Dog in the way that we do our Malbec’s or Pinot Noirs any day soon? Not likely. Marijuana use will stay in the background, like it always has but I think some will be more likely to ask “What are they smoking?” when they see some mind boggling fusion combination or decadent dessert on our dining menus.

**ed. note: This post was written under the influence of Matt’s Sock Saunders coffee**