Julie in Michigan

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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Mystic Cookbook

Mother Daughter authors, Denise & Meadow Linn, did a beautiful job of painting the background for the text of their new work. The introduction is uplifting and encouraging. It encourages us to think in terms of “energy, frequency and vibration” with our food and to make use of the energy we all hold within us. The introduction promises to share “techniques for infusing food with spirit”. They alert us that they will be making suggestions on table coverings, plate colors and prayerful meditation with meals. Food is described as being more than just nutrients, also “swirling with life energy and consciousness”, inviting “the wind that blew through the wheat field and ingest the sunshine that brought life to the seed”. Pretty heady stuff and I was excited to obtain a free copy of this book in exchange for the simple task of publishing the review in my blog.

That being said, I do take exception to the title. I really liked the book, but by the end I was left wondering why they called it a cookbook. With 45 recipes in 287 pages, I might say some recipes are included, but it’s not a cookbook. The bigger issue is that the recipes just do not resonate with the text.  Based on the title, I had wrongly assumed there would be recipes that I would want to try, learning about some new spices and blendings. I wrongly assumed that the recipes would be vegetarian and hopefully, vegan. They were not. Many recipes called for multiple eggs and even chickens!

There is much meaningful discussion in this book with regard to tracing the roots of the soil from which your fruits, vegetables and grains come, the winds, the effect of music on plants. You are admonished to include the mood of the shipping and handling personnel. To be aware of how these all come together in the energy with which we will sustain our bodies in a healthy way or not. Next, we are given a recipe which calls for eggs and/or chickens?!  How do you manage to simply drop poultry into a recipe, surrounded by all this higher thought form and not mention until nearly the very end of the book, it’s a good idea to check where the eggs and chickens come from?

You can’t just look up eggs in the index because they aren't there. However, if you manage to make it to the end of the book, past all they Mayan meanings in your food and conducting past life regressions, dining with Gods and Goddess, you will find instructions to read the ingredients on containers in the grocery store, watching out for processed food and the reasoning for using whole grains. Finally, the authors give one sentence to the state of poultry in this country, “It can be overwhelming to figure out whether you want organic, free range, cage-free, pastured or some combination of these”. No recommendations are given. My mouth was left hanging open.

The authors do comment positively on the local food movement, but the biggest insult to the conscious eater is the sentence, “Animal  rights issues and the environmental impact of the large-scale farming of crops and food animals are important issues to think about when making your food choices; however, they’re beyond the scope of this book.” Really? Then don’t simply include eggs and chickens in your recipes because these are very important issues if we’re talking about the energy of foods. The authors have us holding a bottle of wine in our hands to bless it, thanking the “farmers, pickers, transporters, vintners, and merchants who brought it to your table and to those who made the bottle and label”, while we are led to believe we can simply cast a glance or ignore the traumatized energy of the chickens and the eggs before they got on the plate.

Knowledge of your past lives, the energy of the farm the asparagus grew in, the mood of the delivery driver and the winds that day are inconsequential in comparison to the energy of chickens in the United States in 2012! What’s really beyond the scope of this book is past life experiences and pretending to dine with Greek Gods or fictional characters like Romeo and Juliet. The most entertaining faux pas in this lovely little book is the recipe for a romantic dinner for two at home and it calls for two cans of beans. Good luck on that one.

It’s too bad that what promised to be a great book in the introduction failed so miserably in delivery and the promise in the title, of mystical recipes, was a total flop as far as I'm concerned. There was a huge disconnect between the text, recipes and the index (although most authors do rely on a professional to prepare the index). I think the person who titled and wrote the recipes is the same person as the one who wrote the index without consideration to anything that might be referenced in a cookbook. The authors should minimally get with Mollie Katzen to see what a cookbook index should look like and where it should be placed, although with ambiguous recipe titles being the only items included, the index is almost as useless as the table of contents, if it had one.

However critical my comments appear to be regarding the recipes, index and inclusion of chicken and eggs, Mystic Cookbook permeated my senses. Last night I reached in the freezer for my container of peppers, blanched and frozen last summer. As I re-blanched them for addition to my recipe, I took a moment to enjoy the vibrant colors and savor the scents, following the Linns' suggestions. It returned me to the warm summer afternoon of harvest. Last night I had a mystical summer dinner experience in the middle of a Michigan winter. 
Purchase a copy for yourself

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