Tag: cookbooks

Panama Rose and The Hashish Cookbook

Dear Friends,

IRA COHEN, who sadly passed away earlier this year, did many wondrous things in his life. (I am borrowing the word ‘wondrous’ from William Levy; he used it with reference to Ira’s works in an essay entitled “The Art of Hate,” which appeared in his book Natural Jewboy, Ins & Outs Press, 1981.) But one of the things Ira definitely did not do was write The Hashish Cookbook. Hence, contrary to popular but terribly misinformed belief, Ira was also not the pseudonymous author Panama Rose. That was instead Ira’s then-girlfriend Rosalind. We’re talking Tangier, Morocco, mid-1960s. Rosalind invented the recipes, Rosalind wrote and designed the book. At Brion Gysin’s suggestion. Meaning that it wasn’t even Ira’s idea. What Ira did do, in New York 1966, was publish the book under his Gnaoua Press imprint and sell it. 10, 000 copies in six weeks. Oh yes, and then over the years usurp authorship credit, by allowing everyone who wasn’t there at the time (and thus knew better) to believe that he was Panama Rose. This ruse, this historical lie, became such a cornerstone of Ira’s personal mythology that practically all the obituaries led with it: in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Independent, as well as a touch more coyly in the Guardian.