Hello, wonderful witches!
Did you celebrate Mardi Gras this year? Here in the Midwest—particularly in Great Lakes communities—we have a different name for it: Paczki Day. Paczki are sweet yeast dough snacks that look an awful lot like jelly donuts but aren’t donuts at all. The cooked pastry is breadier, and the filling tends more toward eastern European specialties, like poppyseeds and apricots. The tradition of eating paczki on Mardi Gras came to the U.S. with Polish immigrants in the 1800s. (Though interestingly enough, in Poland they eat paczki on a Thursday, not a Tuesday.) And like we tend to do here, we embraced the tradition and made it our own—by turning Paczki Day into a huge party.
Every bakery sells thousands of them, each with their own flavors and styles. When you go to the bakery to pick them up, it’s a full-on party. Everyone mingles and says hello to their neighbors (while politely waiting in line, of course), and some bakeries hire musicians to play the accordion or other live music throughout the day. The biggest question of the day isn’t “What are you doing tonight,” but instead it’s “What flavor paczki are you getting?” There’s a superstition about it, too—if you don’t eat a pazcki on Pazcki Day, you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the year. For the record, mine were filled with custard and topped with powdered sugar.
Paczki fall into a category that I like to call fortune-telling food. We eat it for luck. In New Orleans, whoever gets the baby in their king cake slice will also have good luck. In Bulgaria, there’s a dish called banitsa that tells all sorts of fortunes, like whether you’re going to start a relationship or go back to school or travel. For today’s article, I wanted to let the fortune itself guide the food, instead of the other way around. One of Kitchen Witch’s writers bravely volunteered to let the tarot tell her what to eat, and she shares her story below.
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I Let Tarot Dictate What I Should Eat Today
By Elizabeth Berry
Leaning into tarot cards for guidance is a relief from daily decision making about meals. In times of turmoil, who wants to spend energy choosing a recipe?
Reading tarot is a centuries-old tradition that aims to guide you towards inner wisdom and help you better understand a particular situation. For an entire day, I let tarot guide my food-related decisions. While I used the app Tarot Sampler, this 78-card food-specific deck is perfect for indecisive mystical foodies. The images below are from the Dragon Tarot.
I chose a Past, Present & Future spread in response to my question: How should I nourish my body? This particular spread selects three cards and analyzes a situation over time—thus applicable for making the same decision three times over.
The Hermit Slurps a Smoothie
I drew the Hermit for breakfast which told me my “well” was empty. After spending time on my yoga mat, I decided to focus on refilling through a replenishing banana and blueberry protein smoothie. The Hermit is also associated with the natural world, so I tossed in some fresh spinach leaves from my backyard garden.
The Empress Enjoys a Royal Salad
For the Present, I drew the Empress card which embraces beauty and creativity, as well as eating well to nourish your body (how appropriate). I decided to enjoy the simple pleasures, like a chef’s salad with (more) fresh spinach, roasted turkey breast, avocado, tomato, crushed walnuts, and Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing (obviously).
The (Roman) Emperor Makes Pizza
Apparently, my future involves the Emperor, known for using common sense to address the chaos raging outside your home. I chose to link the chaos to when you have a bunch of vegetables in your fridge and decide to make a spontaneous loaded pizza. Connecting this older male figure to my father, I added some of his favorite vegetables to the mix (namely red peppers and black olives). Since the card was upside down, that brought into the picture excessive control and inflexibility—which relates to the political conversations we had around the dinner table.
Leaving my food fate up to tarot for a day was a relief—especially for someone who goes to bed planning what I will eat for each meal the next day. Sometimes you need to give up control and be present for the meal rather than the decision making.
Elizabeth Berry is an English and Italian Studies double major at Connecticut College planning to pursue a career in journalism after graduation. She enjoys writing about food culture, entertainment, wellness, and news. To see more of her work check out her website here, and follow her food orientated Instagram @healthy_eclair.
Coming Up Next Week…
When Kitchen Witch returns to your inboxes, we’ll be visiting the world of the Spellmans to see what Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda can teach us.
See you then!