Getting Baked
Back when I was doing IT work on the side, I ended up becoming friends with some of the folks that worked for my main client. It turned out that one of the guys lived in my neighborhood, right around the corner, in fact. So when he and his wife were going on vacation one summer, it was no big deal for me to pop into his house to water the plants and generally keep an eye on his shit.

One afternoon, maybe three days into my week-long stint, it had been a hectic day, and I didn't make it over there till probably 7 or 7:30 p.m. I did my usual round of plant-watering, which took a good half-hour because they had a metric shit-ton of houseplants. Anyway by the end of it, I realized I was kind of hungry. It's quite possible I hadn't eaten yet that day -I know it's counterintuitive, but professional cooks often forget to eat. So, in search of a quick snack, I open the fridge, and it is empty, like about-to-move-out empty.

I remember there being an apple (don't really like apples) and a can of seltzer water or something, and thinking to myself, This is either excellent preparation or these people just never cook at home. I appeared to be SOL. But then, in the door-more specifically the butter compartment (the little cubbyhole that usually has a little door or hatch)-I noticed a Ziploc bag filled with these little chocolate chip cookies. I was like, That's an odd spot and container for cookies. I guess I generally visualize cookies as being on a plate, in the main compartment of the fridge. That's . . . normal, right?

I opened the bag and gave them a good whiff - sniff test passed. They smelled really good, actually. There were plenty of them, maybe 15, and they were small, and I was hungry, so I took two and ate them. Not unpleasant but not remarkable, fairly standard chocolate chip cookies. I know, I know, but hey, it was a long day and I didn't have the luxury of context, OK?

I head back home and notice that I am now fucking ravenous. And I really want fried chicken. Luckily there's a Popeyes close by, but I'm feeling too lazy to walk so I drive. So I'm in the drive-through and it's taking FOREVER, and I am so hungry that I'm like, Fuck it-I back up out of the drive-through and decide to go to KFC, because I must have chicken immediately. I make it to the KFC drive-through, and as I'm very carefully reading the menu, I now realize that I really do want Popeyes, and I've already invested all this time and effort, shouldn't I get exactly what I want? So I go back to the original Popeyes (even though there happens to be a Popeyes one block down from the KFC, which you pass on the way to the first Popeyes) and, remembering my earlier struggles, I park and go inside to order. I don't recall exactly what I got but I do remember being surprised when the total was like $19 and thinking, Damn, that has to be a personal record.

I get back and I'm surprised that the same show is still on, having thought that much more time had elapsed. I think I zoned out and went into feeding mode at that point, because the next thing I remember is feeling annoyed that all the food was gone. And that I was feeling weird, like with my body . . . well, not my body really, since I was able to stand up, walk around, pick things up, interact with my dog-I tested this all out, you see. No, it was more like my brain wasn't working correctly, and THAT is scary, man, like what could be causing that? Holy shit, is there a gas leak or something and I'm not getting enough oxygen? I should probably get outside and fill my lungs and brain with fresh air, rich in precious oxygen, which will fix me right up. So I take a brisk constitutional around my block, and if anything, whatever is wrong with me is getting worse. Back at home (on my stoop and not inside, just to be safe), I try to logic out what could possibly be happening to me. Obvious conclusion: I am having a stroke. This is what it's like to have your brain slowly die. I mean, your brain is like your mind's universe, right? So you don't know it's dying, you can't conceive of that as a concept, because you're IN it, man! And yes, that was my precise thought-process. Verging on panic, I call-who else-my ex-girlfriend, and I'm like, "Kat, I think I'm dying, and I think I need to call an ambulance." So now she's getting freaked out, because like most Korean people, I never consider going to the hospital for anything short of a missing limb. But she maintains her composure and calls my pal Cory, who agrees to come over and check on me. In his words:

"Your eyes were huge. Your pupils were huge. I could tell you were acting strange, right away, like, instantly. You were really weird, like you didn't know what to do with yourself, and like you were trying to figure out what was going on around you.

"At this point, you craving such and such and then deciding you wanted something else, and ACTUALLY TAKING THE STEPS to correct that, wasn't too out of the ordinary. I mean, come on, it's Henry. But the way you were telling the story, certain details, all made this really strange. All these odd details and your lengthy description of this Chicken Acquisition Adventure, made me think something was up.

"At this point, you tell me that you were starving when you were house-sitting for Some Dude, and had eaten a cookie from his fridge. Then-and I can see the gears starting to turn here-you say that Some Dude is a pretty big pothead, and we both start cracking up realizing that you ATE A FUCKING POT COOKIE, hence the chicken munchies, etc.

"I texted Kat to let her know all was good, and hung out for a bit to make sure you were OK. The paranoia seemed to leave once you knew what had happened, and it seemed to start wearing off while I was there anyway.

That was some seriously funny shit."

Folks, I was this close to going to the emergency room for being stoned. Bullet dodged, thank you, Cory and Kat. The rest of the buzz I remember to be quite enjoyable, I mean those two little cookies kicked my ass, man! Later I ended up having a cookie-for-pad thai barter agreement with "J" (that's how he prefers to be identified for this piece), who happened to have a white-collar job right across the street from my restaurant at the time.

J's Green Butter

I do an ounce of stuff to a pound of butter. Use a coffee grinder to pulverize the weed and put it in a slow-cooker with the butter for as long as you can stand the smell (24 hours is best). Stirring occasionally. I use ghee because my slow-cooker doesn't have a real temp control (just low and high). I don't clarify it myself, I just buy it at Whole Foods. Strain the butter and use it to cook your favorite cookie or brownie recipe.

I use this in a cookie recipe (below), FWIW. But it's also great if you just spread it on toast.

Note: Raw marijuana contains THCA (as opposed to THC), which does not produce a high. THCA must undergo a process called decarboxylation, wherein heat causes THCA to lose some carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen molecules and form THC. When you smoke it, it's either burned or vaporized, but in cooking you need to heat it some other way first. Also, THC is not very soluble in water (which is why drinking bong water is not a thing) but is highly soluble in fat and alcohol, which is why butter is an excellent vehicle. Also please note that when eating THC, it takes a while to kick in, and the buzz lasts much longer than when smoking.

INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups J's green butter, softened