There are pros and cons to shopping at Whole Foods. In terms of buying groceries, you’ll likely spend $100-$200 more than you would at a different grocery store, like Mothers, Sprouts or Ralph’s. But when it comes to finding niche health food items such as organic grass-fed Bison meat, local wildflower honey, an array of Reishi mushroom powders or South American vegan cuisine cookbooks– the “Whole” can be a great resource.
While waiting in the check out line last week, I scanned the magazine rack. The usual yoga, meditation, and veganism publications sat on the shelves. Just as I looked away, the cover-art of a magazine on the bottom row caught my eye. The title of the publication read Kitchen Toke.The magazine sat halfway behind a display basket of organic soap, making it easy to miss.
“Could it be?” I thought to myself, as I scrolled through my mental dictionary/thesaurus thinking of what else the word “toke” might mean. I picked up the 95-page mag, and was greeted by the rest of the title: Kitchen Toke: Cooking With Cannabis.
My eyes widened in sheer amazement, as I flipped through the thick-papered, beautifully designed publication– not because a cannabis cooking magazine exists, but because Whole Foods (a very corporate business) is on board with promoting a cannabis-friendly lifestyle. I impulsively purchased Kitchen Toke for a staggering $17 (I didn’t look at the price beforehand, or it may have derailed the moment.) But I’m thrilled I did because I feel like I have the best-kept cannabis cooking and culinary secrets. Also, supporting journalism in its many forms is critical to our intellectual wellbeing.
The best part about Kitchen Toke, however, is the fact the contributors are real food writers. The content reads with precision, command, and fluidity, similar to the style of Food and Wine or Bon Appétit. The writers flow through stories using the proper culinary and foodie lingo, adding to the professionalism of the new brand. The photos of fresh gourmet bread, bundt cakes and pasta with bolognese sauce are stylized and captivating. The biggest mistake I made was reading Kitchen Toke on an empty stomach, something I highly recommend not to do.
“Expect us to be the definitive source in [the cannabis food and culinary] arena, which is particularly important when credible and accurate information is not always in great supply,” reads the editors note. “When the facts change and the truth shifts, we’ll be here to help.”
Right now the cannabis industry couldn’t be filled with more instability. From ever-changing laws to lack of research to politics and lobbyists gone mad, it’s hard to know what information is truthful. That’s why cannabis journalists– regardless of what portion of the industry they specialize in– are of vital importance because they’re the ones who distribute facts and information to the people. Moreover, the food, beverage and culinary sector of the cannabis world is severely underreported, despite being a subculture that blends food and science to create fascinating and delicious medicated masterpieces.
Along with drool-worthy recipes, such as Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Lemon Pesto or Spinach and Feta Canna-Borekas, the inaugural issue of Kitchen Toke also incorporates stories with important themes, like seniors using low-dose cannabis foods for pain management. One feature is about Illiana Regan, a renowned Chicago-based chef who makes cannabis-infused vegan food for her mother, Sandie Regan, who suffers from neuropathy. “[Regan ] roasts a spaghetti squash long enough for its noodles to curl from the soft yellow flesh at the touch of a fork,” contributor Mike Sula writes, depicting the meal Regan made for her mom and him. “She sweats down some garlic and onions in a saucepan, chops a few of the seasons last great tomatoes, and then simmers it all with four ounces of melted butter steeped [with] Silver Lights flower.”
The senior population is often overlooked in the cannabis community even though they’re one of the demographics that benefit the most from cannabis. Sadly, Baby Boomers are a target for Big Pharma, and most are apprehensive to use cannabis because of the psychological trauma inflicted by the Reefer Madness-era. Thus, stories about creative ways of using cannabis–via spaghetti squash, for instance– normalize cannabis by way of pain management and lifestyle.
The quarterly mag also incorporates articles on how to utilize hemp to make foods, like bread, have more nutritional value. “A Polish study that appeared in LWT Food Science and Technology, an international journal on food and chemistry, found replacing some traditional flour with hemp flour weakened the structure of gluten-free bread dough, but the hemp protein improved it.” The study found that hemp flour also improved the color and flavor of the bread, too, while adding 27.4 percent more protein and almost 500 percent more fiber. Crazy, right?
Kitchen Toke is an outstanding highlight of an area of cannabis culture that is still standing in the dark. But for it to be sold in Whole Foods is a true sign of the times, and an indicator that the stigma is slowly melting. In celebration of the deteriorating stigma, here is a recipe featured in Kitchen Toke:
Sticky Maple Butter Cinnamon Weed Bread
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3⁄4 cup maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon cannabutter
- 1⁄3 cup toasted walnuts, crumbled
- 2 canisters prepared cinnamon roll dough
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or nonstick spray
In a small saucepan, heat maple syrup and stir in butter to melt and incorporate. Pour half of the mixture in a 9-inch bundt pan greased with butter or nonstick spray and sprinkle with half of the nuts. Layer with one roll of the cinnamon buns. Pour the remaining maple syrup mixture on top (reserving 2 tablespoons) plus the remaining nuts and layer with remaining roll of dough.
Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove, place on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plate and brush non-sticky areas with remaining maple syrup mixture. Makes 8 servings, each about 4 mg THC. Enjoy!