Alice B. Toklas - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about Alice B. Toklas

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Picture of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
Photograph: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tolkas
Alice B. Toklas   (1877 - 1967)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  April 30, 1877
San Francisco, California, United States
Died:  March 7, 1967
Paris, France
Related authors:
Gertrude Stein
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Alice B. Toklas - LIFE STORIES
3/7/1967     Toklas After Stein
On this day in 1967 Alice B. Toklas died, at the age of eighty-nine. Toklas spent her last twenty-one years without Gertrude Stein, but with the same idiosyncratic devotion to Stein's genius as she had throughout their thirty-three years together. This did not protect her from those managing Stein's estate, and at eighty-seven she was evicted from the flat which the two had shared for decades.
9/1/1933     Stein by Stein-as-Toklas
On this day in 1933, Gertrude Stein published The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, her account of her salon life as seen through the devoted eyes of her companion. This ventriloquism allowed her to be Boswell to her own Johnson, and enshrine such Steinisms as "It was then that Gertrude Stein said, Hemingway, remarks are not literature."
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Baby Precious Always Shines: Selected Love Notes Between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
by Kaye Turner (Editor), Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas
Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Toklas
by Alice B. Toklas, Edward Burns (Editor)
The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook
memoirs, cooking
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The Biography of Alice B. Toklas
by Linda Simon
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Alice and Those Cookies
A newspaper article examines the relationship of Toklas and Stein, with particular attention to their love of food and famous "haschich fudge" which appeared in her 1953 cookbook. The cookie recipe, it turned out, had been passed to Alice by painter and film-maker Bryon Gysin:

"'This is the food of paradise - of Baudelaire's Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies' Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR [Daughters of the American Revolution, a notoriously conservative sorority]. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one's personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to be ravished by un evanouissement reveille [a sense of fainting while awake].' He cautioned at the recipe's conclusion: 'It should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.'"
An article examines Toklas and Stein's famous relationship, chronicling their first meeting, long "marriage," and eventual deaths. With commentary on how Toklas influenced Stein's writing, and the attitudes of friends including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Sherwood Anderson, and Paul ("Freddy") Bowles.

"Aside from their identity as a committed couple in the world of avante-garde art and literature, Gertrude and Alice were in many ways deeply conventional, even chauvinistic. Quite a few Parisian lesbians balked at various aspects of Gertrude and Alice's marriage. Natalie Barney, the writer who held one of the most famous lesbian salons in Paris, believed that her own promiscuity was preferable to their stodgy domestic existence. (Gertrude and Alice in turn, could be smug about their own commitment in the face of the musical-chair romances that governed the bedrooms of Barney, Picasso and Hemingway.)"
tenderbuttons: The Web Page of Alice B. Toklas
Find a page from Toklas's 1953 cookbook, featuring a recipe for poached carp, and an introductory essay titled "Murder in the Kitchen."

"Cookbooks have always intrigued and seduced me. When I was still a dilettante in the kitchen they held my attention, even the dull ones, from cover to cover, the way crime and murder stories did Gertrude Stein. When we first began reading Dashiell Hammett, Gertrude Stein remarked that it was his modern note to have disposed of his victims before the story commenced. Goodness knows how many were required to follow as the result of the first crime. And so it is in the kitchen. Murder and sudden death seem as unnatural there as they should be anywhere else. They can't, they can never become acceptable facts. Food is far too pleasant to combine with horror. All the same, facts, even distasteful facts, must be accepted and we shall see how, before any story of cooking begins, crime is inevitable. That is why cooking is not an entirely agreeable past time. There is too much that must happen in advance of the actual cooking."
The Knitting Circle
Find biographical notes, a bibliography, and two recipes from the Toklas cookbook ("Giglot de la clinique" and "Lobster, Breast of Chicken, and Black Truffle Salad").

"A surgeon living in the provinces, as fond of good cheer as he was learned, invented this recipe which we acquired by bribing his cook. No leg of venison can compare with a simple leg of mutton prepared in the following manner. Eight days in advance you will cover the leg of mutton with the marinade called Baume Samaritain.... Twice a day you will turn the gigot. ... Each day you will fill the syringe with the marinade and inject the contents into the gigot."
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February 24, 2018
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