It’s no secret that a big part of my craft practice centers around food. It’s an easy connection to make. Cookery is like alchemy, changing raw materials into something wholly new and yet still the same. There’s a paradox to food magic. It’s simultaneously easy and approachable and yet profound and mysterious.
I’ll be gathering with 5 other witches in October, at a week long retreat. We’ll be cooking for about 80 people, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. We’re an embodiment of the food magic paradox. We’re there to cook and support the magic of this retreat. The food we make is the magic and it sustains the magic. It’s as much a part of the magical work of the week as the nightly rituals and it is ritual all unto itself.
I spoke with my dear friend and fellow cook Tere (prounounced like “tare”) about their connection to food, magic, community, and service. We also talked a little about the healing magic of cooking for our ancestors. Here’s a snippet of our chat.
What’s The Connection Between Food & Magic?
“Magic is concerned with relationships and everything about food invokes relationships for me. Complex webs of connection bring food to our tables. Many hands, many beings are responsible for my food. If I am to work magic, I need to be aware of these connections and feed them as I am fed by them. Gratitude and reciprocity help me stay in good relationship. The food that sustains my body tells a story of lineage. This is connected to magic too. I know myself and my people through the food passed down through my ancestors. This connection anchors me and feeds my soul. As a witch, I believe all acts of love and pleasure are rituals that serve life. Food is complete sensual pleasure. Food is life force. Food is power. If magic is the cultivation of: Interconnectedness, Reciprocity, Self knowledge, Pleasure, and Power, then food is magic.”
The Connection Between Working In A Kitchen & Serving Community
People need to eat. Sustaining people sustains the magic. It is as simple and as challenging as that. It is an honor and pleasure to provide physical and spiritual sustenance for people doing deep magic together. Kitchen witches stir in love and magic. They anchor the vital container supporting community. Feeding a group of people with complex needs requires daring and devotion. I go to my growing edge every time. Service has always been my greatest teacher. To do it well, I need intention, self-awareness, and good boundaries. These qualities support community and magic. These are the qualities I hope to stir into the pot. “
A Profoundly Magical & Surprising Food Ritual
“One of the covens I belonged to would craft rituals for each person in the group to help them grow into their magic and power. Each of us would ask for something. One person wanted help to free themselves. So, the rest of the coven planned a beautiful, sacred feast in their honor. We made sure the food was tasty as well as beautiful. The table was lit with candles, we sang to our beloved in anticipation of eating this terrific food, and then we began smearing the food all over each other. In our hair, on our clothes, all over the floor, this feast broke the rules. Our coven mate was at first shocked but then we laughed and laughed. We were all free.”
Feeding The Connection Between Our Ancestors & Today
I am very interested in this question as I think feeding our ancestors is important magic for the times we are in. To heal and make the changes we need to make in the world, I think we need to reach back to our ancestors. I’m very aware that my lineages have been severed by colonization and white supremacy. I carry these wounds into my relationships. I’ve been wondering how to repair connections and begin to live in balance and justice. If feeding the living is a great way to support our magic, then perhaps feeding our dead is too. I want to set the table for those who came before, whether they are healed and whole or wounded and confused.
For that reason, I pick a sun-ripened tomato from my garden. Sprinkle a little sea salt on it. I simmer a pot of black-eyed peas with a simple strip of bacon. Stew some okra with more tomatoes and onions. I make a pan of cornbread cooked in my cast iron skillet. Slather it with butter. Slice a fresh onion and a jalapeño pepper as condiments. To my ancestors who ate simply and with such divine flavors fresh from the garden, I offer this food. May you be healed and whole. May our ties be rejoined.”
A Quick Cast Iron Cornbread Recipe
I’m a BIG fan of cast iron cornbread. Here’s a super simple recipe for you to try. There’s a note about using a whole stick of butter, and that being too much. Ignore that. There’s rarely ever too much butter!
If you love kitchen witchery and cooking, My book “The Magick Of Food: Rituals, Offerings, & Why We Eat Together” is now available for pre-order.