Let Tarot Cards Decide Your Next Meal Using This New Cookbook
Chef Courtney McBroom and priestess Melinda Lee Holm channel the universe through food.
With many home cooks propping up a phone on the kitchen counter to learn a new dish, recipe cards are mostly a thing of the past. But could tarot cards be in the cooking future?
Though the divination decks might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for our next meal, the new cookbook Divine Your Dinner chronicles 78 recipes that are inspired by the spirit of the tarot, each using ingredients with magical properties.
“Readers can use the book in a lot of different ways,” says co-author Courtney McBroom, former culinary director at Momofuku Milk Bar and founder of Ruined Table. “You can pull a card and make that corresponding recipe or just look at the ingredients in your pantry and decide what type of energy you want to call on.”
McBroom and tarot priestess Melinda Lee Holm came up with the idea over spicy margaritas after a dinner party. Holm said that the cayenne pepper in the drinks had magical properties, giving off emperor and leadership energy.
“She knew nothing about tarot and I knew nothing about cooking,” laughs Holm, who has been studying the practice for nearly 30 years. “But she would name an ingredient or things she would cook with and I would say if it happened to have certain energy. It became a game.”
The game quickly turned into a 50-page book proposal that the duo says practically poured out of them. Tarot cards like the Eight of Cups inspired a King Crab Texas Toast Roll in order to extend kindness and empathy to yourself, the Five of Swords turned into a duck confit with salt and juniper berries to ward off anxiety, and The Tower card called for a Lavender Celebration Spritz to encourage calmness and rebuilding.
“One I really love is the magical ingredient of lavender. We wanted to do the Tower card right, so we did a full-on champagne tower,” McBroom says. “If you draw the Tower card, shit is about to get crazy so you need to celebrate that.”
The book also contains an entire section of magical pantry items, where ingredients from artichokes (for personal development) to vanilla (for agreement and communion) are listed off with meanings and preparation tips.
“Herbs and spices have been used for generations to call on certain energetic properties,” Holm says. “Lemon has an association with the Sun card, which is truth and honesty. Olive oil, or the olive branch, is a symbol of peace and balance. We know that clove works well to cleanse and clear out things.”
All of the recipes and ingredients culminate by the end of the book, encouraging readers to host dinner parties, or spells, depending on various themes, including celebration, fresh start, peace, or romantic love. A nice touch is the mystically playful art throughout the book by illustrator Kim Thompson.
“If you have no idea about tarot or magic, this is a fun way to start enacting these rituals in your life,” says Holm. “Just drawing one card and using that as a touchstone, you can literally integrate some of this guidance into your diet and eating.”
McBroom, who makes a living out of throwing dinner parties and creating food experiences for people, wishes that Divine Your Dinner can be a small antidote to the isolation we’ve all felt during the pandemic.
“It’s been a hell of a couple of years and I hope this helps lighten people,” she says. “There’s been so much focus on things tearing us apart, but my hope is that in a small way, this book can help people feel good and know we’re not actually alone.”
King Crab Texas Toast Recipe
Yield: Serves 2-3
Tarot: Eight of Cups, Expanding Empathy
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 pounds steamed Alaskan King crab legs
- 8 slices thick-cut white bread
- Aioli of your choice
- Cocktail sauce, for serving
- Lemon wedges, for serving
1. In a blender, combine the melted butter, garlic, garlic powder, and salt and blend on high for about 30 seconds.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour an inch of water into a large baking dish.
3. Add the crab legs to the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 10 minutes to heat the crab legs through. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on and increase the temperature to 450°F.
4. Meanwhile, use a pastry brush to brush the garlic butter on one side of each slice of bread. Set aside the remaining garlic butter for serving. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet buttered-side up.
5. Transfer the bread to the oven and bake until toasted, about 4 minutes.
6. Use kitchen shears to snip right up the middle of the crab legs, revealing that sweet, sweet succulent meat. Throw the legs on a platter and serve with the leftover melted garlic butter, the aioli of your choice, cocktail sauce, lemon wedges, the Texas toast, and some frosty beers. Save yourself some work and tell everyone to assemble their own rolls.
Reprinted with permission from Divine Your Dinner: A Cookbook For Using Tarot As Your Guide For Magickal Meals by Courtney McBroom and Melinda Lee Holm copyright © 2021. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by Kim Thompson. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Kristin Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.