The idea of being a kitchen witch holds a lot of appeal for me. Indeed, the name of this blog comes from the ideal I hold of a magical lifestyle centered in a home (whether or not I’ve managed to combine the two is a question for another day). I admire practicality and efficiency, qualities kitchen witchery has in abundance. For instance, it’s a given that I’m going to be cooking and baking. Should I need to do a spell, rather than fit both cooking and spellcraft into the day, kitchen witchery allows me to do the two in tandem. Instead of devoting some of my precious storage space (and my budget!) to ingredients and some more to spell components that have little use outside of magic, I can use the contents of my kitchen in my practice.
Pragmatism isn’t the only reason I’m attracted to kitchen witchery. In all honesty, even though I love baking and can get along all right with cooking, food preparation is often more of a chore than a delight. (Decades of onion-chopping experience behind me, and dicing onions still doesn’t thrill me for some reason.) Kitchen witchery gives me an opportunity to make this necessary cooking special: it’s not just a casserole, it’s a spell (!). I enjoy reading through tables of magical correspondences, and food correspondences are just as interesting as the better-known herbal ones.
Still, I have trouble considering myself to be a kitchen witch. The practice itself could be something of a challenge. Ideally, as I baked something, I’d be thinking magical thoughts, infusing the food with my intent, considering the magical flavor of each ingredient as well as its mundane one. But I know that when I cook, the cooking itself grabs my attention. Much as I may dream of charging a pan of brownies with good wishes for the friends who will be eating them, in reality, my baking thoughts are more along the line of 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate…okay, where’s the unsweetened chocolate?…no, that’s the semi-sweet…there it is! My cooking rarely gets more magical than to hope that Fornax watches over my baking while it’s in the oven.
And, well, there’s a deeper issue here. Kitchen witchery doesn’t seem all that relevant to my life at the moment. For months now, I’ve been struggling to figure out what exactly my spirituality is, what I believe, how I can live in accordance with my beliefs, and how my life has shaped those beliefs. I’m not finding much use for the magical practices of kitchen witchery right now.
That said, I’m trying not to be too rigid about all this. Yes, it’s magic, which I’ve never done much of. I tend to make the same distinction Arin Murphy-Hiscock does in The Way of the Hedge Witch between hearthcraft (a spiritual practice encompassing the entirety of home life) and kitchen witchery (a magical practice centered on the kitchen, operating through cooking), and I’m more inclined towards hearthcraft. I often forget that kitchen witchery can be part of hearthcraft, not just an alternative practice, just like I often forget that magic can be small blessings and general good thoughts, not just Spells of Mighty Import.
Funny how writing a post on something fires up my interest in it. Now I’ve got this urge to curl up with Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen (magical food correspondences) and a cup of tea. Happy Friday!