''Well," says Carole Greenwood, "we're not making hashish spread, I can tell you that.'' She's cracking wise about the dinner she's preparing based on the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The partner of writer Gertrude Stein, Toklas did in fact include a recipe for making hashish spread -- to be used in pot brownies -- in her cookbook. ''She even tells you how to obtain hashish and how to store it,'' Greenwood marvels.
Greenwood is still deciding which among Toklas's legal recipes she'll make for her pop-up dinner at Arlington's Artisphere next Friday, Jan. 13. Greenwood says she got the idea before she knew or had even seen either Woody Allen's film Midnight In Paris or the National Portrait Gallery's current Gertrude Stein exhibit. Both document the 1920s-era Paris, when Stein and Toklas would throw extravagant dinner parties with famous guests, including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
Getrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
''I've always been interested in that time in Paris,'' Greenwood says. ''I went to cooking school in Paris. Alice Toklas's cookbook has always been something I've been interested in.'' Greenwood describes Toklas's recipes as ''classical French food done in an American way.''
Best known for her eponymous restaurants in D.C. in the 1990s and more recently as co-owner and chef at Buck's Fishing & Camping and Comet Ping Pong, Greenwood admires the merger of food and art exemplified by Toklas's era. ''I'm a chef, but I'm also an artist and musician,'' she says. ''Food is just one of my mediums.'' Since leaving her established restaurants in 2009, Greenwood has started an ''anti-restaurant or non-restaurant'' business. Orange Arrow presents one-time-only dinners at non-traditional venues, from a recording studio to an organic farm to now an art gallery, part of Artisphere's ''Notasphere'' off-beat art and culture event programming.
''It's like the dinner party you wish you could have because there are a lot of interesting people there,'' she says, explaining that she has invited a few extroverted artist friends to help provoke conversation.
''Food Meets Art: Recipes Inspired by Alice B. Toklas'' is Friday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. 'Artisphere Terrace Gallery, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Tickets are $150. Call 703-875-1100 or purchase tickets here.