You Are What You Eat
When you hear the word "Witch", what comes to mind? Do you think of an old, withered woman with long and spindly fingers? A Goth figure that wears all the black in the world and quotes Nancy from the movie "The Craft" just a little too much? This is definitely what used to come to mind immediately for me. I'd never given much thought into esoteric or occultist tradition and practice until I read a fascinating article on green witchery one day. Being very interested in growing my own herbs and having my own garden one day (it will happen, I gotta believe), I did my due diligence and took to Google to find ways to have an urban herb garden in my apartment. At the time I had some decent sun light that beat down through my front windows during most of the day, so all I needed was the knowledge on what plants to get and where to put them. I dug around in Amazon for a bit, looking for books and possible starter pots, plant kits and hanging gardens, since my space was small. My Google searches turned up all kinds of stuff that kept me sidetracked for a good amount of time, until I came across an article on the Green Craft and Kitchen Witchery. I wasn't immediately put off by the word "Craft", but I did already have my reservations, as I wasn't interested in learning spells or creating love potions. Still, I kept an open mind and read on. What caught my interest most, was the introduction. Just a simple paragraph that goes into exactly what I needed to hear, but was unaware of it at the time.
You see, to me, being in the kitchen brings me joy and is very much my therapy. I like the idea of honoring nature and cooking with honest ingredients, especially herbs and vegetables that I can grow on my own. Being in my kitchen and making new dishes with awesome flavors, experimenting with different spices, adding ingredients that I feel will enhance my dish naturally, all while listening to some great music and dancing around the stove and cutting board is my kind of Friday night. Yes, I am aware. I am a huge dork and have come to terms with this.
This introduction basically described just that: adding and enhancing dishes to your liking, using good juju or good energy (aka dancing and listening to music to cultivate good vibes), and just being original and experimental is what being a kitchen witch really is. You don't HAVE to worship the God and Goddess (although that may come later for you), and you don't have to renounce your religions or change everything that you do/don't believe or the path you follow. It's about being true to yourself, creating things with natural ingredients, feeling good about those creations and relishing in the joy of your cooking and gardening.
I was intrigued, so I kept reading.
I did pick and choose what I wanted to learn from the article, discovering that kitchen and herbal magics are very versatile and can be incorporated into any tradition or path. This idea of kitchen witchery (dare I use that word?) is not only finding sacredness in cooking, but also tasks around the home and garden such as:
Cleaning your home with positivity and good vibes
Storing your cooking supplies mindfully and allowing them to breathe
Keeping spices preserved and drying herbs accordingly
Steps for blessing herbs before use (Put that good juju in there, baby!)
Keeping a tidy and fruitful garden (something I am still working on)
Following the cycles of nature such as moon cycles and seasons
You see, with being a kitchen witch, there's not a formal structure. There is no coven. It's a self taught path, only learned by experimenting and practice. Dare I compare it to yoga, but it is similar. You focus your energy, and practice, practice, practice. Using mindfulness and spreading the love and compassion all around. No bad vibes allowed!
Food itself is sacred as a life-giving force and so the saying goes "You are what you eat". A meal prepared lovingly with good energy, smiles and laughs with fresh ingredients will provide more nourishment and enjoyment that something rushed or ready-made. By nurturing our bodies with good food we can honor the life given to us and be grateful for what we have. Think of what happens when you create a great dish from scratch and feed your family. Even if they don't come right out and say it, you can see it. The gratitude. The love you put into the ingredients. The smiles and laughs that you had during the making of that dish, can usually be seen on the faces of those who enjoyed that dish.
To me, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Food that sustains me, my family and friends is prepared and cooked there. I read up on spices and incorporate them into my dishes according to what I want to make and cultivate. For example, if I'm feeling sick or have lower energy, I know from my own research and reading that adding cayenne pepper to my dish will give me a boost of energy, and pinching in some rosemary will provide me with immune system-boosting elements. If you want to go the mystical route, cayenne pepper is said to provide fidelity and love. Rosemary is used for purification and better sleep. Somewhat similar to the science-backed properties, right?
This is what the basis of kitchen witchery is to me. Cooking mindfully.
Disclaimer: As of right now, I do bless my herbs, make moon water, light candles on the sabbats and read tarot, but all of that IS NOT REQUIRED to enjoy this blog or the basics of cooking mindfully. That is where my path led me, but it doesn't have to be yours.
That brings me to this next recipe. Which I feel like you will all LOVE, regardless of what you want to call it. I've named this my Green Goddess Goodness.
You'll need the ingredients below, as well as either a blender or food processor. 80% of this dish is raw and 100% of it is vegan. As I said before, I bless my own herbs for this recipe, but if you don't wish to do so, just make sure to add the ingredients in with love. Ensure that amazing flavor with your good vibes. You don't have to have a family or friends to enjoy this with either…it can be a solo experience all for you. Remember, that self love is most important, so infuse your dishes with loving thoughts of what you want out of life and the joys you currently have now.
There are a lot of ingredients for this magical madness, but they are all common and useful in a lot of other recipes so you'll definitely use them again!
For the pasta:
1 Package of Pad Thai Brown Rice noodles - in Ethnic Foods section of grocery
One head of broccoli, chopped
For the sauce:
3 cloves garlic
2 handfuls spinach
2 handfuls kale
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 handful fresh basil, torn (or 1 tbsp. dried basil)
1 tsp Italian seasonings (your choice - thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary etc.)
A good, healthy drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash sea salt
1/2 cup of the pasta water
2 handfuls of mixed greens (I used mixed arugula and baby spinach)
Mixed seeds/nuts, chopped (I used pumpkin, sunflower seeds, walnuts)
Optional: Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Turn on your music, pour something bubbly in a glass and move your hips around your kitchen for 5 minutes (most important step)
Combine all ingredients for the sauce except the pasta water in a food processor and mix until pesto-like
Move your hips some more
Boil some water and add sea salt
Turn up your music and take a sip of your bubbles
Add chopped broccoli and cook 5 minutes
Turn off heat and add noodles
I like to use brown rice thai noodles but feel free to use soba noodles if you like
Let the broccoli and noodles sit in water for 6-7 minutes (noodles will be smooth and slippery)
Dance some more. Twirl if you have the space
Drain noodles and broccoli, saving 1/2 cup of water for the sauce
Cover the pot and set aside
Add the pasta water to the food processor and pulse for another 15 seconds
Bring it home, baby:
Slice up some tomatoes and add them to the pasta (optional)
Add a couple handfuls of the Extra Love (mixed greens and blended nut mix)
Add the sauce to the pasta and fold it in
Cover the pot and hold your hands over it. Infuse it with that whole-hearted love!
The Kitchen Witch Decadence Finale: Add a topping of the mixed seeds/nuts and vegan Parmesan (see my Instagram post on how to make this here) Serve with a twirl...you better twirl…because you are what you eat, my sweet little Goddess/God. Much love and happy cooking!