For Alice’s Sake Get Some Chocolate in your 4/20 Brownies

BrowniesThe brownies of Alice B. Toklas, literature’s most famous, have no chocolate. Not to harsh your mellow, but scandale!

The iconic figure‘s bakery results in a melange a bit fruitier than brownish: the reason why is somewhat complicated. However, if those are the treats you plan to ingest as part of today’s faux-celebration (and by that we mean the annual 4/20, marijuana smoke-out, silliness masquerading as political protest, we recommend you at least reconsider the recipe and double boil up a few ounces of fine chocolate to blend and enliven the brownies.

Given how many states are moving to and then through medical marijuana to eventual legalization, we are sure there will be great recipes in the very near future mashing up chocolate and cannabis. As the annual 4/20 celebration (serving both as shorthand for both “tea” time and April 20) lights up, someone in the back’s thoughts — and we’re looking at you, Hans — did turn to where such a store might get some inspiration.

Logic suggests the perfect way to deal with post-smoke munchies would be to imbibe chocolate at the same time you are ingesting marijuana. It probably doesn’t work out so smoothly, but hypothetically it seems like a very good idea, as in this MarijuanaDoctors411 adaptation of a basic Kraft fudge recipe to create their Canna Fantasy Fudge. As far as tangents and trivia go: 1) there can be a fuller infusion of weed in cuisine, as highlighted in a Mary Jane’s nine-course meal described by LA Times foodist Jonathan Gold; 2) there is a particular strain of buds known as chocolate chunk; 3) while there is a certain chemical relationship between cacao and cannabis it is estimated you might have to smoke about 25 pounds of cacao nibs to equal a relatively few puffs off a joint; and 4) hot pot chocolate doesn’t seem like the worst idea

Some argue that dope and booze are equivalencies. However, even today, as people around the country light up and then sate other desires  with some chocolate (which we doubt they will be treating with deserved respect) we’re not sold on the idea. Even as we respect the work that went into the Baked collection (with its scattering of chocolate fudge, brownies, cookies and cake recipes) and other recipes and collections, we’re not sold on the idea of randomly throwing pot into pots of chocolate — although it seems possible one could toss in a couple tablespoons to half a cup of marijuana to a mole recipe without changing the flavor for the worse.

Anyway, despite the joy we expect for those who will celebrate the day, this is very much a back burner issue here, although we do wish the Toklas had taken the time to take advantage of the chocolate in the Paris around her to improve her recipe. Truth be told, right now we’re kind of high (if you’ll forgive us) on the imaginings of New York Times chef Melissa Clark and her Chocolate-Crusted Banana Blondies

Colombian Coca/Cocoa Conundrum

It’s not the usual policy choice that rises to national political discourse, but where do the presidential candidates stand on the subject of sub-par cocoa versus cocaine? Do they see a third way?

Colombian farmers are being encouraged to convert from coca to cocoa production. Unfortunately, the move from starting the cocaine chain to initiating chocolate is foundering over a slump in cocoa prices worldwide unmatched by the price of raw coca. One solution is to plant the CCN-51 cocoa as the CIA is encouraging Peruvian farmers to take on — a controversial policy as the particular strain is easier to grow, but a “bulk cocoa” far down far down the taste ladder from the native fine white (yes, “fine” and “white”) chocolate.

So —and accepting that one government should be mixing into the agricultural policy of another nation — the problem is whether the United States should be encouraging a non-native, cheaper chocolate species that could eventually drive out a finer tasting domestic? What to do, what to do? (And, no, we are not suggesting solving the problem by smuggling the cocaine in chocolate candy as did one enterprising NYC airport baggage handler.

Mr. Obama? Mr. Romney? Care to comment?

Mainstream vs. Manna

Cocaine vs. Chocolate! Pretty obviously, we come down on the side of the latter.
However, …
we also come down on the side of not promoting cheap chocolate to the detriment of manna for the cherubim. And there we, apparently, run into conflict with United States government policy. Canadian news sources report Peruvian cacao farmers upset with USAID support for chalky tasting chocolate, because it is easier to grow and can be pulped into dime-store grade cash register chocolate bars.

Drug policy — cutting off cocaine at the source — is running up against quality food and farming policies — promoting unique, flavorful and healthful cacao pods that may not be found anywhere else on earth.

We do hate to say it, but maybe the policy could be tweaked — so to speak.