One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I am very interested in the occult. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. I would have been Goth, if I was capable of taking myself more seriously (and was willing to give up wearing navy). Instead, I was a preppy and fairly cheerful kid, drawn to the dark, supernatural, and mysterious. I would read books on vampires, freemasons, and the history of witchcraft. I liked the idea of secret rituals and magical powers. As adolescents we’re all a little power hungry.
I was particularly interested in witches, or in the idea of witches. I dressed as a witch to attend a cub scout Halloween party in the 80’s (it was an unusual choice in that crowd). The witches in the Wizard of Oz both terrified and delighted me. In middle school, The Crucible had a big impact on me and the idea of witch hunts was potent enough to ignite my developing sense of injustice and feminism. I was married in Salem, Massachusetts, under a very old tree, in solidarity with my brothers and sisters who were given such grief there (you’ve come a long way, Massachusetts!). Bryan recently told me he could imagine me having powers, which satisfied (witch satisfied?).
Now it will not come as any surprise to you that I am enjoying this season of American Horror Story: Coven. I liked the first two seasons of American Horror Story, but I did not love them. I love Coven, in part because it manages to combine so many things that I love: witches, voodoo, Stevie Nicks, New Orleans, Patti Lupone as an evangelical Christian, Jessica Lange as anything, and all of this vengeance fantasy shit that is hard to resist. It is also beautiful to look at, I want to live in Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies—let’s be honest, I also want to attend school there.
All of that to say, I have been thinking about witches a little more than usual. It is easy to conjure their image in the kitchen. We stand before our cauldrons and practice our particular forms of alchemy—turning ingredients into something new, different, potent. Cooking does make you feel powerful, that is a lot of what I like about it. We’re all magical witches in the kitchen.