In Search Of 'True Cannabis Cuisine,' Vogue Critic Gets 'Incomprehensibly High'

Writing about marijuana-infused foods is a dubious proposition, to say the least. Consider the unfortunate case of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, whose recent ill-advised over-consumption of THC-laden candy resulted in a nasty bout of propaganda-film-worthy paranoia and, worse, a horrendous article that likely cost her whatever little shred of cool cred she had left.

The latest seasoned media vet to enter this brave new world of psychoactive culinary exploration is none other than acclaimed James Beard Award-winning food critic Jeffrey Steingarten, who travels to stoner-friendly Colorado on assignment for Vogue. His mission: "to experience, or reexperience, the joy of cooking with cannabis." His accomplishment: coming away from a weed-filled weekend in the Rockies looking like less of a fuddy-duddy than Dowd, albeit just as much of a lightweight. The guy takes two puffs of a joint, becomes "incomprehensibly high" and quickly develops a new appreciation for French fries. Not exactly breaking new ground here.

Despite devoting an extensive 4,179 words to the subject, Steingarten offers scarcely any insights into ganja-enhanced gastronomy at all, save for a breezy overview of what he gleaned from reading a few cannabis-themed cookbooks.

The most intelligent tidbit comes from Jessica Catalano's The Ganja Kitchen Revolution — "that marijuana is an herb, that each strain has its own aroma and taste, and that in cooking it should play its part in creating the flavor of the dish, just like sage or tarragon." But, it's an idea that Steingarten doesn't even bother to test-out because: (a) his modest high-end-fashion-magazine budget doesn't afford him a smorgasbord of strains to choose from, and (b) he doesn't really like the smell of weed, anyway.

In fact, Steingarten doesn't do much cooking to speak of, apart from adding a few drops of THC oil to his wife's yogurt, baking some bad cookies and later whipping up a batch of the sacred Hindu beverage called bhang, which actually turned out to be quite delicious.

Steingarten even takes a swipe at Alice B. Toklas' infamous 1954 recipe for "Haschich Fudge," which he says "tastes unpleasant and won't do anything for you." As someone who's actually tested the Toklas recipe, this writer can confirm Steingarten's assessment of the flavor profile, anyway. But, rest assured, with a few minor tweaks, ol' Alice's formula works just fine.

Drawing little to no conclusion from his long, strange trip, Steingarten leaves us with merely a reference to one of Colorado's state songs: John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High."

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