Books

Find magic in the pantry with 'Wizards in the Kitchen'

A portrait of Tabitha Pendragon by book illustrator Richard J. Bailey

I’m more of a baker than a general cook, but with Halloween coming up, I couldn’t resist asking for a copy of the new “Wizards in the Kitchen” cookbook.

Who couldn’t use a little magic in their lives?

The book is purportedly a collection of recipes assembled in a coven’s bid to take over the world 300 years ago. But a resourceful witch, Tabitha Pendragon, stole the book, and it’s been held in secret by the Pendragon family ever since.

Now, with growing darkness in the world, Tabitha, a practitioner of Light Magic, has worked with modern chefs to update the recipes and release their power for good into the world. They cover the usual spellbook categories of Romance, Courage, Health, Luck and the like.

Each chapter includes a story about how the recipes were used to change the world, such as the meal Josephine made with the help of a mystic to win Napoleon’s heart. It was a Leek-y Chicken and Endive and Bean Soup, according to this story.

I see lots I want to try over the next several weeks, including Huckleberry Wintergreen Fruit Compote to drive away evil spirits, Lemon Thyme Chicken for inner strength, Herbed Cheese Sticks for wealth and Blackberry Apple Crisp for health. Surprisingly, Herbed Wahoo is for courage, not romance. (Wahoo, it turns out, is a type of fish.)

Some have some ingredients that’ll be harder to find, but potentially worth it, such as Fiddlehead Bacon Soup and Rosemary Vervain Muffins for vigor. (Where does one find Fiddlehead fern fronds and vervain for cooking around here?)

And a big selling point is that it’s spiral bound, which makes it easier to use in the kitchen.

The stories are fun, but the real selling point (spelling point?) is the recipes, which mix more common creations with some of those more exotic ones. It’ll be a modern technological wonder, the Internet, that makes some of these doable.

Anyone can whip up a love potion, but I know I’d for sure fall for someone who made me Strawberry Citrus Salad, Leek-y Chicken and Pear Cherry Ginger Crisp, three choices from the Romance chapter.

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.