Have you noticed that anytime you invite a few people over, within ten minutes, every guest is inexplicably standing in the kitchen? Why is that? What’s the secret power an oven, a cutting board, and a double stainless steel sink project, that renders a perfectly plush sofa and accompanying comfy chairs, completely useless? I think there are two reasons. One is totally practical, the other leans to biology, and both can be cultivated by magick.
Kitchens Are Weirdly Comfortable
The last time you visited someone else’s house and wound up in their kitchen, I bet you leaned against the cupboards or drawers. It’s quite possible that you put your elbows on the counter while you were drinking your tea or coffee. Kitchens are great places to stand and lean. You can put your wine glass down on practically any surface, and if it spills, you haven’t permanently damaged anything. Compare the relatively welcoming and easy-to-clean confines of the kitchen with the living room, fraught with peril. There’s fabric everywhere. Bite into your sandwich and risk yellow mustard hitting the carpet? Not likely.
Kitchens and Biology
Being in a kitchen is a feast for the senses. Sizzling onions, roasting proteins, and bubbling pots of winter soup. Can you smell them? Generally speaking, humans can’t resist food and for good reason. Our bodies instinctively know that food means survival. When we eat or anticipate eating, thousands upon thousands of chemical reactions go into overdrive and tell our brains that all will be well if we just have a quick bite to eat. When we sense there’s food about, our human curiosity takes over and we have to investigate. What’s on that plate? That pot looks inviting, maybe I’ll lift the lid and see what’s in it. What’s Elysia eating? It looks delicious. Where did she get that?
You’re hardwired to go where the food is, so naturally, when you show up at a housewarming party, backyard barbecue, or weekly get together, you head straight for the kitchen.
Kitchen MagickAs a kitchen witch, I do certain magick to make my kitchen really inviting. I want people in my kitchen, hangin’ out, chatting with me, tipping back a cocktail, or munching on something I’ve just pulled out of the oven. Here are a few of my secrets…Just a few though—after all, I can’t tell you everything I do.
Have something cooking before your guests arrive. There’s nothing like being greeted at the door with a huge whiff of already cooking food. Immediately, my guests know we’re going to eat. They relax (see, here’s biology taking over), they start getting comfortable and come into the kitchen. Then we chat about whatever tasty concoction I’m working on.
Eat with your eyes as well as your mouth. Food tastes better when it’s colourful, and I’m not just talking about the ingredients. Make the whole affair a visual feast.There’s a red tagine in my kitchen. A rack of red and brown and yellow spices is in clear sight. Fresh, green herbs sit in mason jars along the windowsill. There’s nearly always bright yellow lemons, and deep ruby beets, and a favourite red and purple bowl that I love to serve meals in.
Invite your guests to stir in a little magick. My favourite piece of kitchen witchery is to have my guests do a little magick with me. I’ll ask, “What’s one thing you wish for from this gathering?” (or holiday, coven meeting, whatever). I ask them to stir the pot, mix the salad, or swizzle their cocktails with that intention.
The Kitchen Is The Hearth & Heart
People will always gravitate to the kitchen because it’s the hearth and heart of the house. Kitchen magick happens all the time, whenever we chop and saute. Adding a pinch of magick here and a dash of magick there is as easy tossing in a handful of carefully herbs at just the right moment. And anyone in your kitchen can help with that!
If you want to learn more about Kitchen Witchery, I’ve written a whole book about it. It’s available at your favourite local bookstore or online.
*this piece also appears with permission at https://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2020/1/the-magick-of-gathering-in-the-kitchen/