The 1999 film Simply Irresistible is by all standards a terrible movie, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar inherits her mother’s restaurant, but almost runs it into the ground until a man sells her a magic crab. A MAGIC CRAB. “This special crab is magical and it casts spells, with a wave of its claw,” says Wikipedia. Who let this movie get made? Okay but the point is that somehow through the magic crab every time Gellar cooks whatever emotion she is feeling gets transferred into the food, so her customers feel whatever she is feeling.
Crabs aside, the premise of this movie makes twisted intuitive sense. Kitchen Witchery is indeed a thing. The act of cooking and preparing food is ritualistic, and all it takes is to put some meaning or energy into your actions to possibly transform it into something magical. That is, if you believe in that, which I’m not sure I do. However, I very much believe in the power of suggestion, and good food, so I was incredibly excited when my good friend Jess Zimmerman bought me A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook.
When I first got the book I imagined it was filled with elixirs and tonics, whether natural remedies for illnesses or potions to make all your wishes come true. When I opened it, I saw a recipe with instructions to “garnish with cheese for change, parsley for protection and health, or tomatoes for love.”
This was even better.
For my first foray into witchy cooking, I was looking for a suitable meal or drink for the winter solstice or New Year’s, ideally something bringing luck and protection in the face of change. I had a lot of options. There were “Bountiful Bagel Chips,” whose roundness represents the solar. I could make “Turkey Toccata” with eight leeks for fortitude. I could eat apples for wise choices and health. But I was drawn to one elixir called the “Psychic Physic,” probably because it called for a can of pina colada mix. I’ve adapted it here
“Each of the fruits and spices of this drink have been chosen for their psychic enhancement attributes. Additionally, peaches are for wisdom.”
1 (10 oz.) can frozen, non-alcoholic pina colada mix
4 ½ cups cold water
2 whole peaches, chopped (or one can chopped peaches, drained)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon anise extract
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Rose petals and bay leaves for garnish
- Gather your ingredients and contemplate how the hell peppermint extract plays into this.
- Place the pina colada mix and water into your food processor because you don’t have a blender. Look at how gross it is. Look at it.
- Realize that it’s too much water and it’s leaking all over your counter, so pour it out and lose a little pina colada mix. Contemplate getting a blender but really it’s just one more piece of equipment and you’re trying to downsize anyway.
- If you have a blender, throw everything but the rose petals and bay leaves into it, and blend. If using a food processor, throw everything but the rose petals, bay leaves and water in, and blend while slowly adding water so it doesn’t overflow.
- Pour the perfumey mixture into a glass and garnish with rose petals and bay leaves.
Despite the food processor fiasco, I did my best to focus my intentions while making the drink. Stripped of ritual, holidays, and beliefs in gods, that’s what religion, spirituality, meditation, or any similar practice lets us do–we think, we focus, and maybe we hear something our mind wasn’t clear enough to hear before. I took deep breaths and thought about why I wanted wisdom and what I would use it for. I thought about what psychic enhancement means to me, whether it’s appealing to read someone else’s mind or just feel more in tune with what’s going on around me. I started repeating the explanations I came up with to myself, and if anyone could have looked into my mind, they would have thought it was a spell.
Okay but the drink was disgusting.
I was right to question the peppermint. Peaches and pineapple and cinnamon all make for a good tiki concoction, but it tasted like it was blended with toothpaste. But I didn’t realize it at first. I thought maybe it was just an entirely new flavor, and that my main feeling was surprise. I texted Jess that “It might be good, I’m halfway through and I still can’t tell.” She responded “It cannot.”
According to the book, this is bring awareness, psychic energy, mystical insight, and a whole bunch of other wisdoms to the person drinking it. After about half the glass, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I believe that it’s because I gained the mystical insight to realize just how gross it is. So it works. Happy new year.