When you’re named Starshine, people expect you to be a pothead — and it’s not an unfair assumption. I was, indeed, raised in a cloud of skunk smoke, and cannabis is the national flower of my people. Many was the Sunday I spent rolling my eyes as my parents and their pals hissed on spliffs and cackled at things that weren’t funny as Pink Floyd warbled through our house. I would open a window, go back to playing Barbie, and think, “One of these goons had better have a plan to make me dinner.”
Even as a teen and adult, weed never lit my fire. The cotton-mouthed high that drags you down a rabbit hole of ungainly pondering with scheduled detours for jagged paranoia, slack-jawed lethargy, and wanton Triscuit-hoovering just isn’t my rapture of choice.
Which is why I was surprised to find myself plucking jiggly dollops of drug-infused gelatin from silicon ice-cube trays on a recent Sunday afternoon, rolling them in powdered sugar and plopping them into tubes labeled Fruity Pebbles.
But a friend’s husband is starting a business teaching folks to make their own ganja gummies. He needed some friendly test-students, and I clearly needed to learn how to cook down a tincture of Everclear and oven-roasted herb from the Magical Butter Machine into a Jell-O brew whose chewy final products promise to “ease you into a calm euphoria.”
I mean why the hash not? You’re really no one these days if you’re not dabbling in dubage. Ours is a new wake-and-bake world in which my middle-aged girlfriends pop in for medical marijuana cards while out on a lunch date together. A world in which a gal can bitch about cramps at a family wedding, and the next minute a relative is offering her a puff on their (damned delicious) blueberry vape pen.
It’s a world in which a guy who’s teaching a wacky-tobacky cooking class winds up taking his wife to the ER after she uses one of his not-quite-clean kitchen pans to make a stir-fry and gets accidentally blazed out of her gourd — and the nurses tell him he ought to make his edibles the way they make theirs, as it will be much easier on his marriage.
With the state of our nation (when they go low, we get high?) and the wave of legalization in state after state, the blunt biz is burning mighty bright. It’s like the California gold rush (but more like the “Acapulco Gold” rush), with everybody looking for a way to profit from today’s potent-and-popular pine. A lawyer in Denver started a Bud and Breakfast hotel, there are now florists who tuck fatties into bouquets, and reefer recipes abound — from Viceland’s Bong Appétit show to the 420 Gourmet cookbook’s Potzo Ball Soup to doobie hot wings on Pinterest.
Unlike the puny joints of yesteryear, though, modern Mary Jane is much stronger — and sort of made to order. Aficionados (I’ve heard them called cannabisseurs) know whether they’re looking for the relaxing high of an indica strain or the cerebrally inspiring sativa strain, and whether they’re in it for the psychoactive THC, the non-stoney and more medically applicable CBD compound, or a head-to-toe fix-it-up mix.
As you see, I learned a lot in the kitchen that fragrant Sunday, watching clouds form in a molasses-like mixture (“ … whoa … ”) and waiting for our strawberry-mango gelatin infusion to “bloom.” Blazing still isn’t my bag, but I may or may not peck at a Fruity Pebble from time to time in the interest of culinary science, cultural enlightenment, and commercial understanding.
Do me a favor, though. If anyone hears Pink Floyd oozing from my house, will you make sure my kids get dinner?