Merry meet once again everyone!
This week I have a book review for your consideration, Soraya's "The Kitchen Witch", subtitled "A Year-Round Witch's Brew of Seasonal Recipes, Lotions and Potions for Every Pagan Festival".
Now I'm not saying my family know me well, but my husband bought this for me as a gift because it came up in his Amazon recommendations and he knew I'd love it, and when I told my mum she confessed she'd bought it for me for Christmas but had forgotten about it and sent me something else, so she kept it for herself. That's her story and she's sticking to it! Anyway, on to the review.
As a domestic witch I really like this book; in fact I wasn't sure if I should add it to my collection of occult books or my collection of cookbooks! Firstly the recipes in here are so simple yet so mouth-wateringly good you are bound to find something you can work into your sabbats. The book is broken down into sections which makes it really easy to find what you are looking for, and there is a full contents list at the beginning.
What I like is Soraya takes it right back to basics. This is a Wiccan book, so she explains a bit about the path and the sabbats, then goes on to discuss the simple ritual of cooking a meal for yourself, regardless of your spiritual path. She then goes into the basics of cooking and herbology, everything from making a bouquet garni to making stocks, pastry sauces, bread, and how to cook rice. There then follows a list of herbs, spices and edible flowers and their magickal uses, both in cooking and around the home. All of these are easy to get hold of in supermarkets or grow in your garden, so there's no sense of being overwhelmed by a list of unfamiliar or hard to find items that might make you feel you couldn't give these recipes a go.
So now you know some basic recipes and have a good list of the magickal properties of your spice rack, we start moving through the wheel of the year, from Samhain to Mabon. Each chapter starts with an incantation and a description of the festival. We are then given the colours and crystals associated with the sabbat, ideas for making incense for sprinkling over charcoal discs, and a brief outline of the purpose of the festival, which is important because so many of us are disconnected from our natural world. There then follows a ritual. This is the bit I skipped over personally; though they did look beautiful, however I'm not Wiccan and a four-page ritual is not my cup of tea. I'm more of a rough-and-ready kind of witch who keeps her rituals fairly short and sweet, but they are well written and easy to follow should you want to use them or adapt them to your own personal way of doing things.
The end of each chapter is all about the recipes, and boy does Soraya deliver. All the recipes are based around what is available seasonally and they reflect the spirit of the sabbat. So for Lammas, which is coming up in a couple of weeks, we have warming but light soups such as minestrone and recipes for those warm evenings using the last of the summer fruits, but we also start to see the first comfort foods for when we find that unexpected chill in the air, such as roasted roots or a biriyani. Of course this being Lammas we also have plenty of bread recipes as well, from ciabatta to fruit breads, so there is plenty of scope for you not just on the festival itself but also throughout the period from Lammas to Mabon.
I really like this book, and I will definitely be using it on a regular basis myself. It is great for those of a witchy persuasion, but also for someone who wants to learn a good set of seasonal recipes and bring back some of the most basic magick into our lives - that of cooking a proper meal for yourself and loved ones.
"The Kitchen Witch" by Soraya is published by Geddes and Grosset and is out now.
Blessed Be )0(