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Home Baked

Cover: 'Home Baked'

Staff Review: "Home Baked" by Alia Volz

★★★★

In the years following the Summer of Love in 1967, San Francisco saw a steady influx of hippies, outcasts and other free sprits flock to its streets, eager to call the city home. One of those transplants was Milwaukee native Meridy Volz, who left behind her studies at UW-Madison in the name of pursuing spiritual enlightenment and adventure. Not long after the move, Meridy agreed to take over a friend’s small part-time bakery business, with one small caveat: she only wanted to sell pot brownies.

Dubbed Sticky Fingers Brownies, Meridy began running the underground business with close friends, and later with her husband, Doug (a then-recent graduate of the city’s Berkeley Psychic Institute). Known city-wide as “the Brownie Lady,” Meridy would make weekly in-person deliveries to customers, with a duffel bag full of product (and sometimes, her daughter, Alia) in tow. At its zenith, Sticky Fingers sold upwards of 10,000 brownies a month.

Through their weekly sales and delivery routes, the Volz family witnessed firsthand as revolution and social changes unfolded in the city over the course of decades, including marches for LGBTQ+ rights, the election and assassination of Harvey Milk, the devastation of the AIDS crisis, and the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in California. Through it all, the family always managed to evade arrest, a feat Meridy credits to closely following the signs of the I Ching, an ancient form of Chinese divination.

Home Baked is written by Alia Volz, who chronicles her parents’ endeavors and Sticky Fingers’ history in rich detail. The book is part memoir, part biography of Meridy, and captures an iconic period in San Francisco’s history that shaped the city into what it is today.  

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, biography & memoir

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