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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in sacred food

 Whole Brown Lentils (per 50 pound bag) | Red Ginger Spices

February on the wane. Snow lies deep, but underneath, the rich earth waits.

It's a month yet until Equinox and calendar Spring: still plenty of time to stoke up the oven and savor the dark, warming foods of Winter.

Think of it as sympathetic magic. The lentils' pebbly texture and loamy, over-seasoned umami pair beautifully with the mashed potatoes' creamy blandness.

Beneath the snow, the rich, dark earth awaits.


Boss Warlock's 'Spring's a-Comin', But She Ain't Here Yet' Lentil Shepherd's Pie

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Cranberries?

Child of the Bog


Sacred to the Moon, wearing her colors, named for her totemic bird—reputedly, the stamens of the cranberry flower resemble a crane's bill—the cranberry is a perennial seasonal favorite.

Oh, but its signature tartness partners best with sweetness, for balance.

Bright with orange, dark with date, crunchy with toasted almond, this fruit-sweetened preparation makes a fine natural alternative to the old-style cranberry-orange relish that you grew up with, minus the truly toxic amounts of refined sugar.

Thank Goddess.


Boss Warlock's Fruit-Sweetened Cranberry-Orange Relish

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 Roasted Cabbage Wedges Recipe - Food Fanatic


Hey, I live in the frozen North. We eat lots of cabbage up here. You could even call it a way of life.

I like cabbage; in some form or other, I eat it almost every day. Like most vegetables, it can be good—even quite good—if you know how to prepare it properly.

But if you'd told me that cabbage could be delicious, one of the best things that you've ever eaten, well...quite frankly, I'm not sure that I would have believed you.

O ye doubters and cabbage-deniers: prepare ye to believe.


Roasted Cabbage Wedges

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 cabbagehead of white cabbage isolated on white photo by vvoennyy on Envato  Elements

Maybe I'm reverting to ancestral type.

Lately it seems as if I must be on the Cabbage Diet. Cabbage soup, cabbage strudel. Cabbage pancakes, cabbage rolls. Sauerkraut and peas in brown onion gravy. Last week I made a batch of cabbage with noodles and poppy seeds, which I hadn't tasted since I was a kid. Delicious.

Here in the frozen North, we eat lots of cabbage. Cabbage dependably grows when other vegetables have mostly given up the ghost. There's nothing showy about it, nothing pretentious. It's just good, dependable, affordable, staff-of-life food. All hail the humble cabbage!

Rightly prepared—but of course this is true of any vegetable—cabbage is delicious. (Badly prepared, it's not worth eating, but the same can likewise be said for any vegetable.) And when it comes to versatility, few can compare with it: my litany cited above only begins to scratch the surface.

And, of course, it's Yule, today being the third day thereof. Where I come from, Midwinter's Eve means cabbage rolls and poppy seed cake. Anyone that comes from Pittsburgh, regardless of ethnic derivation, knows that if you don't eat cabbage rolls at Yule, the Sun will literally not rise in the morning.

Of how many vegetables can you say that?

(And yes, that actually is a blown-glass cabbage ornament, hanging on the tree. Hey, I'm from Pittsburgh. There's a purple cabbage on there too, if you look.)

Jane Smiley's 1988 The Greenlanders is a remarkable novel. It reads like a family saga, telling the grim tale of the last generations of Greenland Norse, as the climate gets worse and the ships from Europe stop coming. Their ingrained Christianity makes it impossible for them to learn anything from the heathen skraelings who actually know how to survive in the worsening climate (but how can one remain Christian when you can't grow wheat and grapes for the eucharist?), and eventually it becomes clear to everyone that—just as the old myths said—the end is in sight, and there's no escape.

As things begin to fall apart, one old priest who, as a young man, was sent from Ghent to minister to the Greenlanders, and has lived for years, like everyone else, on milk, cheese, seaweed, and seal and reindeer meat—says to a colleague, the only other person on the island who has ever been anywhere but Greenland:

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 Still life with vegetables | Татьяна Скороход | Flickr


The science is undeniable: people that regularly eat large quantities of vegetables live longer and healthier lives. Like pretty much everyone else in the US, witches need to eat more vegetables.

Well, you can't hang over their shoulders at every meal. Feasts are another matter, though.

All you need to know are three magic words.

For years at family holidays like Thanksgiving, I would dutifully set out a tray of crudités with some recondite dip of my own devising (North Indian dry dip, classic tahina cream...). I would eat a few pieces of broccoli. A few hours later, I'd pack up the untouched veggies and put them back in the refrigerator.

Finally one year my sister said: “I'll show you how to get people to eat vegetables.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The single most important thing that anyone can do to reduce her carbon footprint is to become vegetarian. Just because it's a tru
  • John Zelasko
    John Zelasko says #
    My 3 magic words are, "go vegan now". It's a moral imperative to me. After all, how could I claim to honour the earth, the animal

Dinosaur Kale Information and Facts 


“Oh, I just love kale!”

So insists my friend. Frankly, I don't believe him.

Let's be honest here: kale is not a lovable vegetable. Bearable, yes. Lovable? Well, let's be generous and credit my friend with magical (i. e. wistful) thinking. Call it the “little lie.” You really, really want it to be so, you keep saying that it is, and eventually you may even start believing it yourself.

Well, half-believing.

As a vegetable, kale has a lot going for it. It's cold-hardy: there's kale to be had when nothing else will grow. It doesn't get much more nutritious than kale.

On the other hand, there's the flavor and the texture.

If any vegetable besides onions and garlic has a claim to be the ancestral pagan vegetable, it's probably Brassica oleracea. We've been cultivating it for the last 4000 years; every bite of kale that you eat is a taste of the Bronze Age.

Here's something that I can tell you for certain: the ancestors had more sense than to make kale chips.

Unlike contemporary food-faddists, the fore-mothers understood that kale plays best in a supporting role, not as a star. So, on the principle that any vegetable can be palatable if you know how to cook it, I set about looking at the peasant cuisines of Europe. If anyone knew how to make the most of kale's nasty rubbery texture and unappealing sulfurous flavor, I figured, it would those who had to eat it because that's what there was.

My favorites so far in the search for edible kale are incavolata, an Italian bean-kale soup thickened with corn meal, and trinxát (treen-SHUT), a scrumptious savory cake of potato, kale, and onion from the Catalan Pyrenees, Iberian kin to the Irish Samhain staple, colcannon.

The major secret to enjoyable kale seems to be to blanch it first to take off the sulfur, and then to wring it dry and mince it fine, thus getting rid of the rubber.

Oh, and another thing: if you want to enjoy your kale, don't bother with that curly shite that they overcharge shamefully for at the stores: that's a decorative, not fit to be eaten. Go instead for the black or Italian variety, known mostly here in the US by the delightful name of “dinosaur kale.”

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Kroger used to have a super foods salad made of chopped kale, blueberries and cashews. I think they had something else in there a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Culture Culture, or: Ambrosia in a Glass

I love buttermilk, or rather, the probiotic cultured dairy product that, these days, we call buttermilk.

(Historic buttermilk was the liquid residue left behind after the milk solids had been churned out into butter, but nowadays only butter-makers have access to this.)

I grew up drinking buttermilk in mid-century Pittsburgh—the Posches are an old Viennese family who, like most Central Europeans, relish sour flavors—and I still drink two or three glasses of it every day.

One of the things that I especially love about buttermilk is that it's easy. Other cultured dairy products—yogurt, kefir—require that you heat the milk to near-boiling, then let it cool until it's reached the right temperature to inoculate it with the appropriate culture. This is a big pain. It makes a mess of the cooking pot. If the temperature of your milk is too hot, it kills the culture. If it's not hot enough, it doesn't activate the culture, and you have to start the whole, laborious process over again.

Not buttermilk. Dump half a cup of buttermilk into a large, clean bowl. Add a quart of milk, and cover. Come back 24 hours later, and voilà: buttermilk. (You'll want to whisk it first before decanting, of course, to homogenize the texture.)

For years, I've just bought commercial buttermilk from the store and used that as my culture. One strain I managed to keep going for almost two years.

But cultures mutate over time, and eventually it's time for a new one. When this happened most recently, I tried four different local buttermilks, one after another, all without acceptable results. One had a nasty, ropey texture; one culture wouldn't take; one had a foul flavor; one was completely flavorless.

So I did what all early 21st-century people in despair do: I turned to the internet.

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