Hello, wonderful witches!
Welcome to all you new subscribers. I’m so happy you’re here!
My deepest apologies for the long lapse in newsletters. If you saw my Note, I got married! And then immediately got the flu for our whole honeymoon. And… now I have Covid. So it’s been a wild couple months over here!
But now I’m back (though still sick) to send more fun kitchen witch stories your way. And as both a thank-you and an apology that you had to wait so long for more Kitchen Witch, I’m giving away three free food-themed readings to subscribers.
Comment on this post over the next two days, and I’ll pick three of you at random to get a free tea leaf reading, cheese reading, or oracle card reading over Zoom. You choose the type of reading!
In honor of, you know, spending most of the last two months horribly ill, today’s story is about how to adapt spells for fatigue and disability. I think we’re all pretty tired of *waves hands around* right now, so hopefully this will be a help!
Witching Your Way Through Fatigue
By Chloe Johnson
I’ve always loved cooking. There feels to be a magical property to the rhythmic stirring, adding, and, yes, tasting. But it’s not always possible for me to fully engage with the process in the way that I like. Chronic pain means that things like chopping vegetables and standing up for long periods of time can feel like too much, executive dysfunction can mean I have trouble starting the tasks, and fatigue can make all of this combined extraordinarily more difficult.
The thing I’ve learned about incorporating witchy elements into the kitchen is that it’s meant to feel empowering. For the spiritually-minded cooks who try to incorporate wellness and mystique into their cooking, adding witchy elements to your recipes can help you feel like you have better control over what is going on with your life. Who doesn’t need that right now?
However, there’s a catch 22 here. What may bring you a better feeling of control and influence in your life may also cost you more energy. Often, energy, happiness, or wellness are even what we’re seeking, meaning we need to engage in these activities most when we struggle to.
Many people with a chronic illness subscribe to the spoon theory. This means that activities, from physical to social, emotional, magical, or anything at all really, will cost a certain amount of spoons. Once those spoons are gone, you’re out. For some, getting out of bed will take up all of their spoons for that day, and on another day they may manage to go to work and seem “normal.” Different activities will cost a different amount of spoons, which can vary, but everything costs.
Now, no matter if you’re skeptical of the actual magic involved, everyone can appreciate how a home-cooked meal can feel so much better when you’ve really thought about what ingredients you’re putting in and what properties they bring to the meal. In essence, this is what cooking spiritually is. Although certain ingredients can be used for certain spells, there’s a freedom to allow yourself to see what ingredients will appeal to you.
With that reasoning, then, I figured there must also be a place for those who want to practice spiritual cooking but also, frankly, may not have the spoons. Or may not have the spoons always, and want to prepare to keep up with this witchy practice. Because there is no magic fix for chronic illness, there is just getting by.
So how can you, if you’re a spoonie or just someone with less time or energy, continue to practice spiritual cooking?
The best thing I’ve found is to give yourself the space to step back. The space to say that today isn’t the time to force yourself to make that three-course meal you’ve been dying to for weeks, because it will push you beyond your limits. The space to buy the prepared vegetables instead, because you just will never find the motivation or energy to chop them. And the space to adapt recipes and spells to fit what you can do right now.
My favorite example of this style of witchy cooking comes from Lisanna Wallance. She uses imagery of a witch to create recipes grounded in homeopathic solutions to pain and health issues. I like this best because it doesn’t seem to be pigeonholed into saying that if I just try hard enough, I can fix all my problems. Instead, it’s recipes that I can try for specific symptom relief; almost like medicine.
It’s a beautiful (and useful) perspective — that I can adjust and take the space I need, and still consider myself successful in the kitchen. That I still reap the benefits of using witchy practices in my cooking, but without burning myself out or giving myself extra work when I already feel snowed under with the full-time job of a chronic illness.
Now this doesn’t just apply to those with a chronic illness. Everyone, regardless of if they have a disability, mental health condition, or otherwise, may find themselves unable to keep up. Some days you may need to cut out a certain step to the recipe that’s there for aesthetics or to complete a spell. Or you may need to ask for help, or do something different entirely.
We can get so focused on what we’re doing that we can push ourselves beyond our limits. But we all need to give ourself the space to step back and let some things go, so we can get back on them tomorrow, next week, or maybe next month. With both witchcraft and cooking, our best results will come when we let ourselves rest.
5 Tips for Kitchen Witching While Fatigued
Use a slow cooker or another set-it-and-forget-it tool
Bring in a chair or stool so you can sit and prep or cook
Plan out your cooking process and spell in advance so you know how many mental spoons it will take
Use pre-chopped vegetables or other pre-prepped ingredients
Spend time creating a spice blend to use in the future without all the prep
Chloe Johnson is a disabled freelance writer, journalist, and editor working on her first novel.
In the next issue…
The next newsletter will have… well, I’m not sure yet. We’ll find out together!
See you then!
Love this - as someone who's been through 3 rounds of chronic illness. Soups have saved my life in more ways than one.
Reading this as I am also currently sick so it felt very fortuitous! It's nice to have a reminder that it doesn't always have to be full speed ahead. Also, congratulations 🎊🎉