A love of food and magic

I am so happy to share with you my new book The Kitchen Witch Companion: Recipes, Rituals and Reflections. It is hands-down the book I have most enjoyed writing, which is in large part down to the fact that I didn’t have to do it alone but co-created it with the fabulous Sarah Robinson as a companion book to her best-selling Kitchen Witch. I also created over 200 illustrations for it! 

The drive to create The Kitchen Witch Companion came about when I was editing Sarah’s third book, Kitchen Witch. The idea for it has been 

brewing since I worked on her very first book, Yoga for Witches. There was a whole section of recipes in the first draft that were gorgeous…but didn’t quite fit, as well as a chapter called Kitchen Witch! “That needs to be a book in 

its own right,” I told her. And so it is – as a joint effort – nearly five years later!

I have loved working with Sarah on her books as her editor and publisher over the past few years. Books which have turned out to be the biggest sellers in Womancraft’s herstory. So what 

a treat to work on one shoulder-to-shoulder together as authors. As Sarah’s editor, however, my work goes unseen, but what we do together behind the scenes to bring a manuscript from draft to finished book is a little like cooking together…we chop and stir, season and taste, and finally serve together.

Sarah is loved for her witch books and magical writing. Me for archetypes and creativity. Both of us have a passion for the seasons, foraging and food.

Not many people know that my first writing dream was actually to be a cookery writer. Age seven 

I used to present my own cookery radio shows in the playground. At nine I wrote my fi rst cookery 

book as a gift for my stepmother. At eighteen I wrote to my favourite cookery authors asking how to get started in cookery book writing. I was so grateful to get a handwritten reply from the domestic goddess, Nigella, herself! At twenty when studying History of Ideas and English Literature I, of course, chose to study the course on food in literature.

However, I soon realised that whilst I love cooking and sharing food, and I love writing, our local 

area did not need another cookery writer (I live in a village of around a thousand inhabitants of which six are cookery book authors!) The world does not need another version of cottage pie in a glossy magazine. I had the privilege of working alongside esteemed Irish cookery author Darina Allen, proofreading the recipes for one of her books, and for many years working on her blog as well as copywriting for her cookery school website. I was the cookery contributor at Juno magazine for about eighteen months. I love writing about what food means to us… “food as a connective force, a source of strength and joy” (Nina Mingya Powles, Small Bodies of Water). 

My favourite writing about food happened 

on two of my blogs – Dreaming Aloud and The Queen of Puddings – and in published pieces in The Guardian and the BlogHer food anthology at the very beginning of my writing career.

I love the magic of food, the alchemy of ingredients, occasion, season and people…and evoking that with words. I love incorporating meaning and symbolism into my food. I use food and cooking to help me feel calm, to feel safe, to celebrate and nourish those I love. I am a feeder. I love the way food and cooking help me feel connected to places I have been, people I love who are far away or no longer here: the way that cooking their food conjures them up through flavour and memory. Food – gathering, making, eating and writing about it – holds great magic for me.

This project has been a way for me to celebrate kitchen magic in so many ways: through conjuring words, creating images of beloved plants, thinking and reading about food magic, connecting with other women who feel the same, asking them to share their skills and secrets…and most of all cooking: remembering old recipes, trying new foraged wonders like magnolia, honeysuckle and flowering currant.

Over time, the food side of my work has fallen by the wayside in my writing, though you will occasionally see my kitchen magic appear on my Instagram feed. It has been such a delight to work on this book with Sarah, to write consciously and explicitly about the aspects of food that excite me most, the unseen energetics that I have previously only reflected on privately. A tsunami of words and images has emerged from me. I did not know that I was this hungry to write this book. To do so with Sarah has been a joy, an honour and a privilege. We have complimentary skills and the power of a thousand books pumping through our veins. I hope The Kitchen Witch Companion brings you as much joy as it has us.

Pre-order now exclusively at Womancraft Publishing.

Out everywhere November 3

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