The Celluloid Pantry: Groovy Brownies and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)
“They’re Alice B. Toklas. It’s her recipe. She wrote a freaky cookbook.”
In I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968), worlds collide over coffee and cake. Returning home after a long day at the office, strait-laced lawyer, Harold Fine (Peter Sellers), gets a surprise visit from his fiancé and parents. Afraid his overnight guest (Leigh Taylor-Young) might still be in the apartment, Harold is relieved to find a note on the kitchen counter: “I decided to split—made you some groovy brownies.”
But this is only the beginning. As Harold, his fiancé, and parents discuss wedding plans that include twin cantors who sing in stereo, they dig into the plate of brownies with growing gusto. Life is about to change.
Although the infamous recipe first appeared in her own cookbook (as Hashish Fudge), Alice B. Toklas was probably unaware of the dessert’s trippy effects. The story goes that in 1952, a few years after her partner, Gertrude Stein’s death, Toklas was offered a contract for a celebrity-style cookbook/memoir. Deadline looming, she quickly collected recipes from her wide circle of bohemian friends, and the painter Brion Gysin supplied this gem. The editors for the U.S. edition were quick to censor it, but, for some reason, it survived in the U.K. edition (via The Straight Dope):
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 cannibus 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 cannibus 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.