Tracey Medeiros had started to see articles popping up that shared wellness properties associated with cannabis.
Already the author of several cookbooks, Medeiros knew where to take her sudden attention to the plant.
“I thought, why not write a cookbook that would showcase cannabis and all the wonders of it and I thought it was important also to support and write about the food community throughout our country,” Medeiros said in a phone interview. “I began seeking out folks who looked at cannabis as an artform and folks that wanted to elevate this plant as a serious culinary ingredient.”
That process has led to the creation of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” a cookbook replete with 125 recipes divided into three categories, CBD, Hemp, and THC, some of which were created by Massachusetts chefs. The book will hit local bookshops next month, and will also be available from big retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Medeiros includes a recipe or two of her own in her books, but primarily looks to highlight the work of farmers, chefs and food producers. She created her first cookbook after moving to Vermont 17 years ago, and her previous works include “The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook,” “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook,” “The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook” and “Dishing Up Vermont.”
“I’m a big advocate for farmers and obviously you can’t have recipes and ingredients and food without farmers so I think it’s really important to showcase and put a face on these hardworking folks who are just so passionate and just do their job out of love with very little money,” Medeiros said.
That mindset carried into “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” showcasing the work of cannabis and hemp farmers.
Inside the cookbook’s pages, readers can get a taste of cannabis recipes created by chefs located from Central Massachusetts to the Cape and Islands.
Jared Forman, the chef and co-owner of Worcester’s deadhorse hill, said the increasing legalization of cannabis in the U.S. is helping to make the plant less taboo, a good thing from his perspective.
“I just like to have more ingredients at our disposal. I think having things available to us is always a good thing and being able to introduce different flavors, just new stuff. It’s a lot of fun,” Forman said.
Though Forman doesn’t use cannabis personally, he said there is no shortage of people who are willing to taste-test.
Being able to use cannabis in the restaurant would be welcome, Forman said.
“Obviously we’re allowed to serve alcohol at the restaurant but you’re not allowed to serve alcohol and marijuana at the same time,” Forman noted. “If you’re not allowed to overserve people alcohol, which is, I think, appropriate, then in moderation why shouldn’t we be able to serve another ingredient and just do it in moderation and do it responsibly?”
Forman’s recipes in the book include a mixed greens salad with a beet vinaigrette, a wild Maine blueberry sorbet and Mass. maple ice cream, all using either hemp oil or extract and included the book’s hemp chapter.
Nicole and Rupert Campbell, owners of The Green Lady Dispensary in Nantucket, are featured in the chapter on THC, with recipes from dispensary chef Eric Anderson.
Anderson produced recipes for Nantucket Protein Logs, classic chocolate chip cookies and a simple cannabis-infused butter.
“He took all of his knowledge and experience and applied it to cannabis,” Nicole Campbell said of Anderson. “I can’t say enough about how flexible he is, how many things he can do, he just doesn’t let anything hold himself back.”
Campbell, like Medeiros, said she feels cannabis lends itself to the creative process. She also appreciated the messages among the recipes. Page 5 reads, “This book is dedicated to the civil rights and cannabis advocates who are tirelessly working to effect social justice reform and equity into the fabric of the industry.”
“That also just lines up very much with what we’re trying to do about educating the consumer,” Campbell said. “We believe that an educated consumer would make wise decisions when consuming cannabis and if people make wise decisions then everybody is safe. They’re safe and all the people around them are safe, so we’re big proponents of that.”
The book also features Cloud Creamery, a newly-approved cannabis company that incorporates the plant into ice cream. Medeiros said she was drawn to that company because the chef uses local milk from grass-fed cows and organic sugarcane.
“These recipes represent something that deeply energizes them and gives them a purpose. Food and cannabis is their love and I just hope that when folks look through this book and read this book and see these recipes that they just feel that. They feel the passion and it inspires them to cook,” said Medeiros.