Coming up from the roots…

root veggies

Two nights ago I did some cooking, though I was not feeling particularly inspired to do so.  It was a week night and I’d worked a full day but we had some root veggies in the crisper that weren’t going to make it much longer.  They’d been patient and stored well (as they do, bless them) but I had waited to the point of no return and they seemed to sigh and say to me “now or never darlin”.

So I went about making roasted root vegetables – as well as a big batch of potato soup.  As I peeled and/or cut the golden beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes (for roasting) and white potatoes (for soup) I took the time to breathe and to give thanks to and for those lovely gifts of the land. 

I also began to think about fall and winter, about those fallow times where things become more still; times when we store what we need to get through.  I have been living a time like that – not only this past winter, but for all of last year.  Much like the food in my hands – I have felt bright, rich and sweet on the inside – but quite dull, drab and wrinkled on the outside.

I know though that I needed that time, needed that storage and quiet.  As I prepared a delicious meal of roots, I gave thanks for the deep times, the fallow times – the resting periods.  I gave thanks to Anna, Arddu and the allies who help to teach me about culling (as someone with 5 planets in Taurus…culling is not always easy for me).   I gave thanks to Freya, Herne and the Peacock, who encourage me to push past stillness and quiet, even when it scares the crap out of me. 

I found myself crafting transformation while I worked, distilling the flavor from this past year so that I could take it in again.  I set an intention of letting that flavor and that lovely food truly feed me (on many levels) in my preparation for spring, for rebirth.  I want to do more than move on from this time…I want to appreciate and learn from it.

The food was delicious, despite my having done very little to make it so (I love when simple meals remind me of the beauty of whole foods and their divine allure).   The magic was delicious as well. 

I am well fed; by life, by magic and by my own will.  Storing my sweet lessons, I am ready for spring and beginnings.

I will not rot in life’s crisper… ;>)

Honey, please?

Honey sweet
Honey sweet

Hello magical ones…

I have been inspired by the honey magic that took place at Wintercamp this year and have been continuing it at home.  I found some delicious local honey from the Chicago Honey Co-op, which I recommend highly for those in my area (check out their website, they have an interesting blog on beekeeping).  I also found a web site that will help you find local honey wherever you are!

I would like to gather some good honey recipes.  I see many on line but it is hard to determine the culinary quality on the page.  Do you have any “tried” recipes that feature honey which you’d like to share?  If so, please post them here.

I will share any mellifluous delights that I discover.

Much love to you and gratitude to the bees.

Introduction

This is my first post on the Magical Eating blog, so I want to introduce myself: I’m Matt. I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, with my partner and two cats.

I also wanted to introduce my three chickens. After some deliberation and much planning, my partner and I acquired three Silkie hens last summer. We had two motivations for the chicken project: One, we wanted fresh eggs. Two, we wanted to have a sense of where our food comes from, and what is required to raise chickens for eggs. We were feeling that we didn’t have a sense of where our food comes from, or what it takes to get it to the table.

So we joined the growing “urban hen” movement. My father and I built a small coop and run for the ladies, and we purchased three pullets. (Chicken term for the lay person: a “pullet” is a female chicken older than a chick but still in her first year.) We chose pullets because we wanted to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were getting female birds. It can be difficult to determine the sex of a chick, since they mostly are identical balls of fluff. Roosters are lovely, but they crow–and not just in the morning, either. Roosters are also not necessary: If you didn’t already know, hens will lay eggs whether a rooster is present or not.

I found that raising chickens is, for the most part, pretty easy. I check on their food and water at least once a day–usually when I gather whatever eggs they have laid. I usually pick them up a couple of times a week and give them a quick once-over, just to see if they are healthy.

Keeping chickens in the country is no big deal, I recognize. But we live in an urban area and my backyard is very small–about 25 feet square. And my neighbors have a clear view of the entire yard from their house, so they can see the ladies. And still, the chickens are no problem at all. There is no smell and they aren’t loud. If I can keep chickens in the space that I have, I really believe that almost any space is sufficient for a couple of hens.

Even though our girls are from a breed that isn’t know for being proficient layers, a good week means between 8 and 12 eggs, which is plenty for the two of us. And the eggs are fantastic. The chickens have also made interesting pets, which is something that I did not predict. One of them in particularly (“Thelma”) has become pretty tame, and will sit on my shoulder.

So, what does that have to do with magical eating? I believe that magic works through the building and tending of relationships–with Mysterious Ones, with the multiverse Herself, with my own soul. Magical eating, for me, is the tending of relationships through the food that I select and prepare. When I choose organic, or free-trade, or local food options, I am making a choice and tending my relationship with the Mysterious Ones of the Earth in a conscious way.

Each day when I go outside and check on the birds, I know that I am tending a relationship with the chickens–but also with myself and my partner because we are eating the eggs, and with my garden and the earth because chicken manure makes amazing fertilizer, and with the Earth because I am not requiring a refrigerated truck to bring me fresh eggs. This action builds a web of connection, and is part of a larger magic to build a sustainable life on this Earth. I remember once, during the creation of sacred space, being asked to call my allies, and I called my chickens. They feed me, and in return, I feed and care for them–they are my allies.

Keeping these animals solidifies my understanding of what magical eating is, and what “food activism” is. That is why I consider chicken keeping part of my magical life.

Blessings to you on this sunny Detroit morning.


All three chickens, eating.


This is Iola, right before she pecked at the camera. I believe that she thought it was some new kind of food.


Here is a bowl of eggs from the girls.

Midwestern locavores take note!

Baba goodness
Baba goodness

We have limited local foods here in Chicago unless we grow our own and/or the Farmer’s markets are in season.  Therefore when I find a local food product I get really excited.

I have been very pleased with Chef Earl’s products (which are made in Illinois), most especially their Baba Ghannouj.   I like that they are local and that they don’t use chemical preservatives.  Imagine how excited I was when I read that their containers are also compostable!  They are made from a plastic derived from corn starch.

For me…that’s some great food magic!

If you live in the Midwest and are looking for ethical eggplant (hummus, salsa and other things) you might want to give them a try.

YUM!