Who was Alice B. Toklas?
Alice Babette Toklas (1877-1967) was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde movement of the early 20th century, and the life partner of American writer Gertrude Stein. Alice B. Toklas was born in San Francisco to a middle-class Jewish family. Her paternal grandfather was a rabbi.
Five months after the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Toklas left the city and moved to Paris by the following year. The day after she arrived in Paris, she met Gertrude Stein. This marked the beginning of a relationship that lasted for nearly four decades, ending in 1946 with Stein's death.
Together they hosted a salon in the home they shared that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson; and avant-garde painters including Picasso, Matisse, and Braque.
Acting as Stein's confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, & critic, Toklas remained a background figure until the publication by Stein of Toklas' autobiography. It became Stein's best-selling book.
In 1954 Toklas published 'The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook'. Perhaps the most famous recipe is for "Haschich Fudge", a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and "canibus sativa" or marijuana. Her name was later lent to the range of cannabis concoctions called "Alice B. Toklas brownies". Her story inspired a Broadway play and the 1968 film comedy film, 'I Love You, Alice B. Toklas', starring Peter Sellers.