High Times magazine has been a trusted source for information on growing, smoking and eating marijuana for nearly 40 years. And finally, they have published their first ever cookbook. With this book, they have managed to elevate cannabis cuisine above pot brownies and space cakes, to dishes such as potato gnocchi with wild mushroom ragu and financiers. You won't find recipes for dishes such as a galantine of black-skinned chicken with pink grapefruit segments, which Los Angeles Times food writer Jonathan Gold recently tasted at an underground 9-course cannabis-themed menu, but you will find enough recipes to assemble your own multi-course marijuana-laced meal.
Eating marijuana is an important alternative to smoking that many medical marijuana patients require. The base of all good cannabis cookery is cannabutter. In this cookbook, there are recipes for the pot-infused butter (both a quick version and a two-day method), as well as cannabis infused olive oil, coconut oil and mayonnaise. There are also recipes for infusing vodka or rum with weed, or making pot tinctures using glycerin. These base recipes stock your pot pantry with the base ingredients used in the various recipes throughout the book.
The introduction of the book gives information about the genetics of marijuana, cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are the chemicals found in plants that determine, among other things, smell and flavor. Marijuana can contain some of the same terpenes found in mangos, lemongrass, rosemary, and tea-tree oil. These various flavor profiles are still being discovered and exploited, and will likely result in even better cannabis cuisine in coming years.
Information about dosing is also discussed in the book's introduction. Ingesting cannabis can produce a much more intense high than smoking it will. They do admit however that there isn't an exact science in dosing and that you will need to do a little trial and error testing. Voracious columnist Steve Elliott recently received an email from a reader who "found herself crawling on the floor" after consuming all of one particularly strong product. Elliott recommends tasting a portion of a product and waiting 45 minutes. The same wisdom should be applied to medibles you make at home.
The Official High Times Cookbook doesn't entirely rise above typical stoner antics when it comes to naming their recipes. There's Tom Yum Ganja, Time Warp Tamales, Wake-And-Bake Eggnog French Toast, and Flaming Space Cupcakes. At least the recipes are written better than the ones in that other pot cookbook. Recipes headnotes include information on a dishes origin, or details about a specific ingredient. And there are contributions from chefs such as Eddie Huang (Cheeto Fried Chicken), and celebrities like Snoop Dogg (Lil' Snoop Hot Doggy Doggs), Willie Nelson (Texas Cannabis Chili), and Cheech and Chong (Nice Dream Ice Cream).
Finally, there is a recipe for pot brownies, and a page dedicated to Mary Jane Rathbun, aka Brownie Mary, who distributed pot brownies to California patients battling AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses, long before medical marijuana was legalized in that state. We're reminded that many states still criminalize this medicine which is important for many ailing patients around the country, and that the fight for decriminalization continues.