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Pot and pans at 8 Rivers

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The first time I cooked pot food was my freshman year in high school. Two friends and I pooled our money, bought a quarter bag of Texas dirt weed and some instant brownie mix, and headed to an adult-free house with an open kitchen. After putting aside enough pot for a joint to smoke while the brownies baked, we dumped the rest of the hand-ground shwag (along with a few stems and seeds, I'm sure) into the batter and threw it in the oven. The result -- in addition to stinking up my friend's parent's house with a chocolate-skunky aroma for the next day or so -- was the most gritty, nasty brownie I have ever seen.

Brownies were not on the menu when William Breathes stopped by 8 Rivers to sample the jerked chicken and pork, specialities of executive chef/owner Scott Durrah. Nor were they on the menu the next day, when Durrah hosted the inaugural Creative Cooking With Cannabis class at his modern Caribbean restaurant.

"People coming in here aren't learning how to cook, but they want to learn how to take what they know about cooking and medicate," Durrah told Breathes, one of Westword's medical marijuana reviewers. "So we thought, 'Let's look in the refrigerators of your average person and see how many things we can help them replace with butters, preservatives, sweeteners and ways to introduce the THC.' But for those who want to have a little more fun, I'll be like Emeril and kick it up a notch."

And kick it up he does in this week's Cafe section, where Breathes writes about his 8 Rivers meal, the class, and how pot and politics go together like coconut and curry.

Also coming tomorrow: Lori Midson's remarkable Chef and Tell interview with Jeff Osaka, who opened twelve on Election Day 2008. Our vote's in.

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