As the autumn equinox approaches, new cooking and cocktail books draw inspiration from witchcraft, tarot, astrology, and other practices. The trend makes sense to Melinda Lee Holm, tarot priestess and coauthor, with chef Courtney McBroom, of Divine Your Dinner (Clarkson Potter, Oct.). “There’s a much broader awareness of and respect for spiritual traditions and practices that are outside of any particular religion,” Holm says, “than there was even just a few years ago.”
The skeptical need look no further than TikTok, where videos hashtagged #WitchTok have amassed more than 17 billion views. Such broad appeal supports McBroom’s contention that cooking meaningful, magickal meals at home is for everyone. Cookbooks like the ones rounded up here offer, she says, “a new way of understanding and trusting oneself and noticing energies that can’t necessarily be seen but that we all know are there.”
Holm (2020’s Elemental Power Tarot) and Milk Bar alum McBroom devised a magickal ingredient matrix that links each of the four suits of tarot’s minor arcana with poultry, meats, seafood, or vegetables; each major arcana card corresponds to a specific ingredient. An eight of swords, for instance, suggests Ode to Chicken Tagine, whose ingredients aid creativity and encourage the formation of a worldview. The Fool, one of the major arcana, leads to Bergamot Baked Rice with Citrus and Honey—bergamot is a mood lifter and tension reliever that, the authors write, helps partakers enjoy the moment. “Even if readers aren’t converted,” PW said, “there’s lots to appreciate in this entertaining collection.”
The Kitchen Witch
Recipes in this guide to Wiccan home cooking are organized by eight pagan festivals—spicy butternut squash soup or cinnamon bread for Samhain, a Gaelic observance marking the end of the harvest season; roast goose or wassail for Yule, the winter solstice. Soraya, a numerologist, astrologer, and witch, includes instructions for natural remedies, such as decongestants and cough syrup, and potions for headaches and indigestion.
Moon, Magic, Mixology
This book reinvigorates the centuries-old practice of celebrating the moon’s phases with alcohol by suggesting 70 cocktails, including the Corpse Reviver (for the October moon), Death in the Afternoon (Scorpio moon), and a gimlet (February moon). In addition to being a bartender, Hadas is a crystal healer and a shamanic and reiki practitioner, and accompanies each recipe with a crystal, candle, herb, aromatherapy, or meditation practice.
Engel, who offers spiritual mentorship under her Witchy Wisdoms brand, partnered with bartender Nichols for this collection of 40 recipes imbued with magickal ingredients, such as Money Magick, a mint-infused drink that invites prosperity, or Keep it Hexy, with sage to ward off the evil eye. Nonalcoholic adaptations are included.
The Witch’s Feast
An herbalist, witch, chef, and co-owner of Brooklyn occult bookshop Catland Books, Madara delves into five aspects of occult tradition: traditional pagan dishes, cooking in tune with the zodiac, meals as offerings to the planets, seasonal feasts, and spellwork using food and potions. Their recipes, such as curried apple soup for the autumn equinox or herb and allium quiche in a potato crust for the spring, emphasize sustainability and seasonality.