The Magical World of Wiccan Cookery: 9 Recipe Collections

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According to Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen, pretzels offer protection, basil is for lovers, and spinach will make you wealthy—season it with sesame seeds or nutmeg "for added power." These are all useful tips if you happen to be preparing a Sabbat feast to celebrate Samhain (that's Halloween for those of use who aren't modern-day witches and warlocks), but even if you aren't familiar with Wiccan cooking, a visit to the wonderful and wacky Wiccan cookbook shelf is in order.

Why? In part because Halloween is near—but more importantly, because pagan cookbooks (and yes, there are a lot of them) are at once enlightened and silly, fascinating and full of bizarre-sounding recipes and alliterative chapter titles. ("Mystical Meats"?) Underlying it all, though, are some powerful ideas about food's importance—sacredness, even—that aren't so different from those held by fans of farmers' markets and Slow Food. "Cook with purpose and care," Cunningham says; "Cook with love." And don't forget to serve some Amuletic Appetizers.

So, without further delay, here's a brief introduction to Wiccan recipe collections:

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Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

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