What is Pagan Cooking?
I seem to have a bit of a reputation for cake…and I must admit I do love baking. I find it quite therapeutic. Recently I was asked to write a book proposal for ‘pagan cooking’ and of course I was excited about the prospect but then it got me to thinking, what exactly is ‘pagan cooking’?
Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of writing a Kitchen Witchcraft column for the Pagan Dawn magazine and in it I have covered food for sabbats, different intents (such as prosperity, love, etc) and food to honour particular deities.
Is this perhaps what I would call ‘pagan cooking’?
If it is, then is that a bit restrictive?
What does it cover?
In my ponderings I have come to the conclusion that it covers quite a lot…
- Cooking specific foods and dishes for the sabbats.
- Using magical ingredients that correspond to particular intents, such as love and prosperity.
- Creating food dishes to honour deity.
- Baking bread and cookies to consume within ritual.
- Food prepared to serve at workshops and gatherings.
- Dishes created in harmony with the moon phase.
- Working with seasonal ingredients.
- Being mindful of where your ingredients are sourced from.
I could probably go on to include pretty much everything including cooking food for your family. Which I do on a daily basis and it always involves using seasonal ingredients and being mindful of where the ingredients are sourced from.
Whenever I cook, I add a dash of magic, whether it is cakes for an open ritual or dinner for my family. I recognise and acknowledge the energy of each ingredient. I stir clockwise to bring positive energy in. When I wash the vegetables, I visualise negative energy draining away, and I try not to cook if I am in a grumpy mood. (Your energy will affect the success of the meal and transfer to the ingredients).
For me, the key point is probably seasonal. I believe we have gotten incredibly lost in the world of food supplies. Being able to purchase strawberries in December is convenient but they never taste of anything because they are grown out of season, often in a polytunnel somewhere around the globe. Not to mention the cost of airfare to ship them here and the eco damage incurred as a result.
When I was a child my father always had an allotment for growing fruit and vegetables in fact, he still does grow a lot of his own produce. In my past I owned my own allotment, but I sadly don’t have the time to give it the attention it would need these days. I do have a small garden where I grow lots of herbs and plants and last year acquired a greenhouse too, so I will do my bit in a small way.
I have for many years, subscribed to local vegetable and fruit box deliveries. Fresh locally grown and sourced produce delivered without any plastic bags or unrecyclable packaging. It is a little bit more expensive than supermarket produce but the quality is far superior, as is the taste. Not only do I get delicious items but there is no waste packaging and I am supporting local growers. Of course, it is all seasonal as well.
I do eat meat, although much less than I used to and not every day. However, I am very mindful of where the meat is sourced from. In an ideal world I would also purchase my meat from a local organic supplier, but the price is a bit outside of my budget as I have to feed a family of five, all with healthy appetites. I do make sure the meat I purchase is farm assured and I always buy free range eggs. At least I know that the animals have been well cared for. Having worked on a farm in my younger days I am well aware of the ‘other side’ of the fence from a farming point of view.
Supermarkets are very convenient, and they do sell cheaper items, but there is a knock-on affect. If the supermarket want to sell meat or produce at a cheap price then they will force the suppliers and farmers down in price, which puts a lot of strain on them to produce in quantity at stupidly cheap prices.
Farmers markets are excellent if you have one near you and do support your local shops if you can. Sadly there are no local greengrocers in my area but the lovely veggie box people delivery which makes life much easier.
I have waffled on and probably gone a little astray, but I think this is all part of what ‘pagan cooking’ means to me. I am a Pagan Witch, I cook every day – so I always work with pagan cooking!
I have written several posts here on Patheos about working with magical food and Kitchen Witchcraft