Tarot by the Mouthful Theresa Reed and Kyle Cherek

Kyle is a foodie who loves Tarot. Theresa is a Tarot reader who loves food. 

Together, we host Tarot by the Mouthful: a mouthwatering, multi-media culinary tour through the world of Tarot. 

Sublime recipes. Soulful stories. Essays, videos, interviews and delicious surprises. 

Join us every Sunday for a new installment — and get ready to sip, slurp, crunch and savor your way through the entire Tarot deck! 

This week: Five of Cups

tarot by the mouthful five of cups

Five of Cups: The Five of Cups indicates that a change of heart has taken place.  There’s been a loss or disappointment.  Something has changed for the bitter, not better.  Sorrow. Grieving.  Pining away for what is lost.  Grieve if you must and then move on.

Kyle is knee deep in filming the next Wisconsin Foodie so it’s all me!

Theresa – Don’t focus on what is gone.

In The Five of Cups, the figure grieves over spilled cups.  S/he is focused on what is gone and unable to see what might be left standing right behind her.

I sat with this card for a while and wondered…how might this relate to food?  Spilling wine?  A disappointing meal?  Perhaps a last supper?  Hmm….why was I, like the figure in black, only looking at the loss instead of seeing what still remained?

Then it hit me: leftovers. (I know…you’re probably laughing right now.  It’s a stretch! Bear with me a minute, please.)

I grew up in a household where there were many mouths to feed on a limited income.  Which meant: nothing went to waste. It also meant that you didn’t get to be picky or cry about what was on the table. You ate what was set before you or went hungry.

My thrifty mother canned vegetables straight from the garden, stocked the freezer with homemade frozen goods, baked her own bread, cooked everything from scratch and if there were leftovers from dinner, they would turn up in tomorrow night’s menu.

There usually wasn’t much left (we were a hungry bunch) but when there was, she could recycle that surplus into something wonderful: turkey pot pie, beef in gravy on toast, hearty soups, and let’s not forget casseroles, thick with noodles, cream of mushroom soup and peas.

I loved these “second meals” (psst..sometimes I like them better than the original) and admired my mother’s creativity.

For some finicky eaters, leftovers may seem a bit gross (my younger brother now refuses to eat them).  But for those of us who have an innovative spirit and like to save a buck, leftovers are inspiration for imaginative cooking.

In my household, not much goes to waste.  Pot pies and casseroles, just like mom made, show up on a regular basis.  (I’m a little bit fancier though because my sauces don’t come out of a Campbell’s soup can.)  I’ve also found other ways to use up what’s left: enchiladas, empanadas, quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, soups…you name it, those leftovers get happily incorporated and used up.  (PS zero complaints.)

One of the smartest things that home cooks and chefs alike both do with leftovers: make broth.

Homemade broth is not only a wise use of scraps it’s also much better than anything you can buy in a can or carton.  And it’s easy!

Take your leftovers, bones, celery, carrots, onion, vegetable scraps and stems, and put them into a big stock pot. Toss in some peppercorns, a generous pinch of salt, a few sprigs of fresh thyme or parsley and a bay leaf or two. Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and let it cook uncovered for a few hours.  Skim the fat off as needed.  Once it’s done cooking, strain through a sieve and then either use it in a recipe or freeze it for later.

You can adjust the time spent boiling depending on what type of broth you are making.

For example, a chicken broth might need six to eight hours while a beef or ham broth might only need three to six.  A seafood or veggie stock may need even less time – about an hour will do just fine.

You can also play with the spices and jazz it up.  A knob of ginger and some star anise tossed in while the beef broth bubbles is the beginning of pho.  Hot red peppers and ginger in chicken stock creates the perfect tom gha gai base.  Throw some fennel in the seafood stock and you’re on your way to an amazing Italian fish soup.

And that’s the beauty of taking humble leftovers and making the time to transform them: we can elevate them into something extraordinary.  All it takes is a little vision.

Don’t overlook what is left nor mourn for meals already finished.  Instead, recycle, transcend, and leave nothing behind.

Imagine if we applied that wisdom to our lives.


My favorite site for homemaking: Rosy Blu.  She has some very thrifty ideas.

An app for sharing leftovers: LeftoverSwap

Jamie Oliver: Leftovers recipes (I’m a huge fan of Jamie’s and love his food!)

Bon Appetit: 16 recipes to use up your leftovers.

Books to check out:

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

Waste Not Want Not: A Cookbook of Delicious Foods from Leftovers by Helen McCully

Love Your Leftovers: Through Savvy Meal Planning Turn Classic Main Dishes Into More Than 100 Delicious Recipes by Nick Evans

Use It Up Cookbook: Creative Recipes for the Frugal Cook by Catherine Kitcho

This one comes out soon: River Cottage Love Your Leftovers: Recipes for the Resourceful Cook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Bon appetit!

Theresa and Kyle

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015

photos from personal collection and Jessica Kaminski

Hungry for more? Click here to explore the entire Tarot by the Mouthful series, from the very first card… right up to our latest installment. Bon appetit!

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