Recipes for Magical Living

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So how’s your pleasure magic practice going? Have you been feeling what you need to feel, then releasing it, celebrating what brings you joy, and treating simple pleasures as sacred? Good. Now it’s time to add a little spice to your magical practice. Or perhaps more accurately, tequila.

I got to thinking about the power of what we consume—literally and metaphorically—this past Cinco de Mayo. You wouldn’t think I’d find this kind of profound wisdom in what is probably the fakest holiday around. Still, I won’t say no to a day that is more or less devoted to relaxation and tequila-based drinks. Real talk? As far as I’m concerned, Cinco de Mayo is just an excuse to make midnight margaritas and watch Practical Magic

I know most fans wait to watch that iconic witchy movie in October. But for me, it’s a tradition to watch it every May 5th, after one year when it was a dark and stormy night…and this movie happened to be on TV. And maybe there was already a batch of margaritas in the blender. Synchronicity at work! Thus, my Cinco de Mayo Midnight Margarita Night was born. It seemed divinely conjured. Who am I to ignore signs from the Universe? And while liking this feel-good movie might make me a basic witch, I’m okay with that. Like I said in my last post, there’s no such thing as guilty pleasures, so I plan to continue thoroughly enjoying this movie and my midnight margarita parties, even if the only ones in attendance are me and my familiar. 

But back to my revelations on kitchen magic. There I was, making myself a midnight margarita (minus the eye of newt) and thinking about the spells and potions we make every time we go into the kitchen. Margaritas can be a kind of liquid courage—they certainly helped the women in the movie remember their love for one another and confront some dark secrets. It takes a certain amount of courage to both face the darkness and let the light in.

I thought about the pleasure of kitchen magic again a week later when I made my childhood comfort dinner of fresh tortillas and green chile stew. What is comfort food if not an edible spell to soothe the soul and remind us of the love in our life even when we have to social distance? The same feeling of quiet joy welled up inside of me as I unpacked my CSA delivery of fresh local produce, herbs, and other earthly delights. I was immediately inspired to try new recipes that celebrated the spring harvest. The energy inside the box was bright and hopeful. Even my grocery list became a written spell of nourishment, enjoyment, and healing.

Clearly, life was sending me messages about the importance of cooking and enjoying time in the kitchen as a way to practice self-care and whip up some proverbial medicinal spells. When the world feels topsy-turvy, it can be easy to stop taking care of ourselves. We worry and fret, we give out too much, we forget about the importance of savoring a nice meal. 

All this nourishing magic brings to mind the Star card in the tarot. She’s all about replenishment. See her drawing from the deep spring and using it to water the dry land around her? She’s asking you to seek out what feels neglected or parched and nourish those parts of yourself. Seeds begin to sprout where she’s watered the earth, so with a little love and attention, tired parts of yourself will spring back to life. Think of the Star as your guiding light—like the North Star—asking you to recenter and examine what is truly important to you. Trust your intuition on this. It will chart your new direction. Let the food you eat and the recipes you make be a reflection of the care you give yourself and those you love. The Star is all about healing and replenishment during difficult times.  

So this week, I’m asking you to channel your inner kitchen witch and follow your proverbial North Star. Think about the spells and recipes your conjure every time you make a meal, put on a pot of hot water for tea, or poke around your pantry in search of a snack. Take a second look at the stories and media you consume. Then be intentional about what you allow into your mind, body, and spirit. Here’s how to get started:

Try a new recipe. It doesn’t have to be complicated! In fact, the simpler the better. Check out my compendium of kitchen conjurings for inspiration. What matters is that you are intentional about making it. Think about how you want it to make you feel. Is there new energy you want to welcome into your life? More hope or love? Fill that recipe up with your desire and enjoy the way it fills your body. I’m reminded of Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for ChocolateTita, the heroine, imbues each meal she cooks with whatever she is feeling. No dish is more sensuous than the quail in rose petal sauce made from the rose gifted to her by her secret lover, Pedro. Their passions come through in the dish, filling the night with longing and desire. 

Make cooking a ritual. Set aside time, particularly at night, to enjoy the process of cooking.  Consciously think about the love and energy you imbue into your dishes. Tune into the five senses as you cook, relishing the scent of fresh herbs and the rugged feel of root vegetables as you prepare them for roasting. Be like Nesto in Adrianna Herrera’s American Dreamer. He cooks to show his love for those he feeds. He cooks to relax, and he cooks to think things through. Most of all, he cooks to bring joy into people’s lives. Food is a way to connect with himself and others and is always made with deliberate, tender attention and care. It’s an expression of self and a celebration of his culture. Want more food romance inspiration to ignite some kitchen witchery? Check out  these foodie romances on Frolic.

Throw yourself a dinner party.  When I was younger, I used to spend summer mornings cooking for elaborate afternoon tea parties. As I got older, I would plan menus around unusual ingredients I found at the farmers’ market. Now, I sometimes learn how to make dishes I’ve read about in books (I’m looking at you chicken marsala from Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me). There is something powerful about setting aside time to relish the simple pleasure of preparing a meal for no other reason than to have fun and enjoy good food and good company. It doesn’t matter how big or elaborate it is. What matters is that you are pressing pause on daily demands and conjuring pleasure and peace in each dish you create. So go ahead and have that indoor picnic, fancy brunch, or four-course meal. You might even want to go full kitchen-witch and have your own Midnight Margarita Night! Just make sure that the tequila you use isn’t gifted to you by a vengeful spirit. Your local distillery would be a safer, and no doubt, tastier bet. 

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