No Farm No Food

When I wrote the Wicca Cookbook, I discovered that cooking could be an art – not simply a delegation relegated to women as a “subspecies.”

The art deepens with intention and food that is harvested at its peak season. So I began the habit of growing herbs and shopping at farmer’s market. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrition and flavor when picked ripe and to me, “perform” like an Olympic athlete in her prime. I also spent many meals exploring the idea that your intention when cooking is like an invisible ingredient with tangible results (inspired by Like Water for Chocolate).

The evolving faces of The Wicca Cookbook

In October 2000, at my first book signing, a fierce-looking woman I’d never met showed up at Barnes & Noble, ready to defend me in case I was assaulted for bringing magic to the mainstream. I wasn’t attacked, but it brought to my attention the fine line I was walking.

My powerful protector also suggested there was more awakening for us all, as in the  realm of humane animal husbandry. She suggested that kosher meat tasted sweeter because animals that are slaughtered with care do not feel the stress that produces bitter tasting adrenalin. Most of us are inclined to pay little heed to the care of animals we consume (as well as their bi-products like yummy cheeses and ice cream). It’s not a pretty thought, so we prefer to see the animals packaged and not think of their lifestyle or demise.

I wonder what exactly happened that caused us to shed some arrogance and regain a bit of our humanity.  How did hormone free, free range, mobile slaughter houses and the like grow in popularity? How did chains like Chipotle realize they need to buy meat raised by a caring farmer, not a factory? How did the 700 farmers who banded under Niman Ranch gain the momentum to sell to Chipotle and Whole Foods Market? Good stuff. And yet, we have a ways to go.

Our arrogance , my arrogance, at being green or sustainability or caring needs to continually shed, like so many mythos, until we are once again of the Earth and relinquish the idea of “stewardship” over the Earth and her creatures. We are one species in the land and sea community.

Ever notice how we return to themes in our lives but at different levels? Sometimes it’s like we’re diving deeper and other times it’s like we are reaching higher. The value of food and our relationship with nourishment is like that for me.

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