Scrolling my social media today, I saw a photo of absolutely delicious looking meatballs in a saucy gravy. Someone had already asked for the recipe share.
“Sorry, It’s a secret recipe.”
When it comes to simple witchery, there is probably no more magic than occurs daily in the kitchen. Literally, cooking is alchemy—a seemingly magical process of transformation, combination or creation.
If you want an example, try combining milk, butter and sugar over heat. Depending on the temperature reached and briefly maintained, you’ll be rewarded with smooth caramel sauce, soft chewy caramels, melt in your mouth toffee, or (if you let it get too hot for too long), hard as a rock, burnt mess and a pan you may as well recycle into a planter.
But there is something else that goes into the preparation of food, the final element of magic if you will, and that is the intention and energy of the cook. As with all magic, the more thought and mindfulness you give it, the better the results.
If you’ve made chicken soup for a sick friend or family member, you are practicing kitchen magic. And why? Because even if all you do is open a can, add water and heat it up, you approach it with the intent to make somebody feel better. If you have a secret recipe, add things like garlic, extra pepper and a dash of lemon juice—oh baby, there is no denying you are a kitchen witch!
That magic in cooking is especially present in traditional recipes handed down through generations, secret recipes or not.
My grandmother’s peanut butter cookie recipe turns out delicious cookies every time, firm and short as opposed to soft and chewy—just the way I like them. Recently I wanted to make a batch and didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. I decided to practice a little kitchen magic of my own.
I was short on flour, but I had some finely ground almonds I’d processed for a paleo pancake I’d tried out, so I added that to get me up to snuff. I was also short on butter, so I added some coconut oil. The batter seemed a bit loose, so I pulverized a cup of potato chips in the food processor and tossed that into the mix.
The potato chip magic is one I learned from my best friend’s mother as a young girl. They add a bit of bulk, a hint of salt, extra fat, and starch. Yeah, I know—but cookies aren’t exactly health food to begin with.
Talk about magical, those cookies disappeared!
Honestly, I have to say the little bit of tweaking, the personal energy I put into those cookies, elevated them beyond good to exceptional. I can’t give you the recipe because I didn’t accurately measure anything. If you have a peanut butter cookie recipe you like, and you consider yourself a kitchen witch, you’ll figure it out.
Chicken soup, pot roast, spaghetti sauce, bundt cake, and even Jello salad with tiny marshmallows; the meals you bring to your table, that once graced the tables of your ancestors, are magical. The act of preparing and partaking of them unite you through time and place.
Near the end of October and early November we have special days to honor our deceased loved ones—Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, All Souls Day and Día de los Muertos. Try cooking up some of your traditional family favorites, and set an extra place at your table in remembrance of the generations that came before you and their love that created you. Honor, and the nurturing and nourishing that has sustained you thus far.
~ Blessed Be Your Journey
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