Review: The Wicca Cookbook

The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and LoreThe Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and Lore
by Jamie Martinez Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wicca Cookbook / 0-89087-995-8

Unlike other Wiccan cookbooks which often organize recipes around types of cooking (starters, main dish, side dish, dessert, etc.), "The Wicca Cookbook" organizes its recipes around the yearly Sabbats. Each chapter explains the history of the Sabbat, the magical significance of the Sabbat, the associated seasonal produce, and suggested dishes. This organization is perfect for urban-raised wiccans (like me) who haven't memorized the yearly produce growing cycle. Are berries picked in the spring or the summer? Is corn harvested in the summer or the fall? "The Wicca Cookbook" can answer these questions, as well as how to prepare the seasonal bounty both for food and for magical decorations.

This cookbook is perfect for helping to plan Sabbat meals and celebrations, but I'm not sure how useful it would be as an everyday cookbook. The recipes are sometimes very complex (each recipe includes multiple spices to add magical intent to each dish) and picky eaters and shoe-string budget families will have to do a bit of trimming and rewriting to make the recipes more feasible. I also continue to be startled by how many wiccan recipes (both in this book and others) demand to have rose petals included in the meal. I'd estimate that a good dozen or more recipes in this book center around rose petals, and I'm baffled at where I'm supposed to get these petals. Roses do not grow easily in the American southwest where I live, and a commercial bouquet costs a minimum of $40 here, with no way of knowing what pesticides were used in the growing of these flowers. Consequently, a good dozen or more of the recipes in this book I cannot try. I chalk this up to one more difficulty between being an American wiccan in a European wiccan's world - it's up there with being told to harvest your own staves from fallen tree branches. Will dried cactus branches do? No? Oh well.

As an added note, this cookbook is neither vegetarian nor vegan, as several recipes include meat, cream, and dairy products. I know that some people prefer vegan or vegetarian cookbooks for their money, so I thought I'd mention it here. Several of the recipes also call for various kinds of wine and alcohol, but the recipe will sometimes include non-alcoholic substitutions for people with alcohol intolerance. If you eat meat and dairy products regularly and would like a good guide for planning Sabbat meals, this is a very good resource and I definitely recommend it.

~ Ana Mardoll

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