Author: Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt
Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Celestial Arts
Publication date: October 2000
Price & More Info: Click Here
What happens when you combine Wicca and good food? If you are lucky, you get an unusual cookbook full of recipes for each of the Wiccan holidays with each accompanied by a bit of historical information, folklore, or a ritual. There are now a number of Wiccan cookbooks on the market, but The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and Lore by Jamie Wood and Tara Seldfeldt carries out the theme better than any of the ones I've seen.
Many cookbooks start out with informational material before getting to the recipes. In most cookbooks, that is information on how to measure flour, what wine goes best with ham, or the like. In The Wicca Cookbook this introductory matter covers creating sacred space, casting spells, cooking in the middle ages, and growing herbs. The authors assume that their readers will more likely be familiar with cooking than with magick.
The main part of the book is the recipes. There are over 100 recipes. They are a mix of the modern and the medieval. One of the authors teaches cooking classes while completing her Ph.D. in medieval history, so the medieval recipes are authentic in feel without being offensive to the modern palate. There are no weird ingredients that you'd need a time machine to easily acquire and probably wouldn't want to eat anyway. Several recipes, however, do make use of fairly expensive spices -- for example, saffron. Speaking of ingredients, measurements are given in both the English and the metric system -- which makes the book useful to many more people. Here are a few or the recipes included: Frumenty, Stuffed Nasturtiums, Beltane Oatcake, Ale Bread, Potato-Corn Chowder, Vegetable Lamb Shanks, Apple Scones, Stuffed Pumpkin, and Ginger Tea. There are a wide variety of recipes and many of them look good even to a picky eater like me.
What makes this cookbook unique, however, is that each recipe is introduced with a short discussion of history or folklore related to the recipe or even a spell or ritual related (sometimes very loosely) to the recipe. The discussions are enjoyable and the rituals are presented in a brief but clear manner.
If you enjoy cooking and like to try new foods, The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and Lore is excellent even if you ignore everything but the recipes. If you are interested in food-related folklore, Wicca, or magick, you'll enjoy the recipe introductions almost as much as you enjoy eating the results of the recipes in this book. This is simply the best Pagan-themed cookbook I've seen.
Reviewed by Randall