Some friends and I were chatting about the different ways we do magic. We came to the conclusion that although we may have a primary magical style, we’re all witchery generalists. For instance, storytelling is a big part of magic for me. So is music, singing, drumming, and energy raising. I’m partial to ancestor veneration and dream work. And what encapsulates virtually all of those things into one tidy magical system for me, is Kitchen Witchery.
There’s a lot that goes into kitchen witchery as a practice. Cooking, growing, mindfulness, hospitality, and food spells are some aspects to be sure. As I’ve built my kitchen witchery practice over the years, I’ve come to realize it rests on five distinct pillars.
Kitchen Witchery Starts With Gratitude
I know, I know. Gratitude blah, blah, blah. But it’s true. The work I do in my kitchen, or any kitchens I find myself in, begins and ends with gratitude. I’m grateful for the ingredients I’m cooking with and for those that grew it, picked it, bought it, raised it, and brought it to the kitchen. One might begin with an empty pot, but kitchen witchery does sort of require food and someone, even if that’s me, has to provide it.
Gratitude goes far beyond the procurement of provisions though. I express gratitude to my teachers and my teacher’s teachers frequently. Some of those teachers taught me to cook, shared recipes with me, and imparted crucial kitchen knowledge along the way.
My family has endured all sorts of concoctions over the years, occasionally finding a family favourite is lovely, but I’ve put up some terrible meals in my time as well. (note: Ask me about the pork loin & marmalade debacle one of these days). I’m grateful they give me feedback, tell me what works, and trust me to create foods that nourish their bodies, minds, and souls.
I’m grateful that I have food and ingredients and a little skill. There have been times in my life when there wasn’t much in the fridge or cupboards and payday was many days off. Being hungry, truly hungry is no joke. Having regular access to food is something I’m grateful for.
Kitchen Witchery Includes Intention
Why am I making this meal? What purpose does it serve? Who will eat this meal and when? What do I know about their dietary needs? What magic are they looking to cultivate? How will this meal serve the magic? The questions could go on and on, but you probably get the point. The more I know before I start cooking, the stronger the magic will be.
Intention is important. If I want to make apple pie but only have the ingredients for Yorkshire pudding, all the intention in the world ain’t gonna make an apple pie magically appear. And that’s where attention comes into play.
Attention Beats Intention Every Time
In my upcoming book, The Magick of Food: Rituals, Offerings, & Why We Eat Together, I share part of a conversation I had with an amazing chef and kitchen witch. We talk about the differences between intention and attention, especially when it comes to the kitchen. Intention is “I’d like to make you some cookies”. Attention is making sure those cookies aren’t burnt or made with salt instead of sugar. You know the expression “it’s the thought that counts”? In kitchen witchery, the thought is important but the execution of the dish is crucial. If I’m making you a healing meal, I should
probably definitely avoid ingredients you’re allergic too.
Nourishment Is Key
Nourishment can mean different things. Of course, food should have nutrients and minerals and vitamins that quite actually feed your body, allowing you to heal up, repair, and sustain yourself. In kitchen witchery, nourishment takes on other facets too.
When I’m missing my family in England, I make traditional English dishes. My grandmother’s shepherd’s pie recipe is to live for! When I make it, I’m instantly back in her kitchen gleefully awaiting the moment she’d pull the shepherd’s pie out from under the grill and I’d see bubbling, melted cheese and crusty, brown ridges of mashed potatoes. Eating “her” food nourishes my heart and soul far beyond the caloric and nutritional value of the ingredients.
Kitchen Witchery Is About Service
On any given day, in any given form of media, I can find article after article about becoming a more powerful practitioner of the magical arts (note: also insert famous, influential, revolutionary, etc). I rarely see Instagram posts connecting magic with service.
Kitchen witchery, at least for me, is all about service. If I cook for you, I’m literally serving you food, but I’m also serving something deeper. My hope is that I’m feeding your joy or your healing or providing you with sustenance, so you can continue fighting the good fight, whatever that may be for you.
Wherever you do your kitchen witchery, I wish you an abundance of spices and ingredients, and an endless fascination with making magic in the kitchen.