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: Four of Pentacles

Tarot by the Mouthful - Four of Pentacles. Tarot card meanings.


Four of Pentacles – Saving for the future. Wealth creation. This card can swing between the higher vibe of creating security to the lesser vibe of being miserly or greedy. The Four of Pentacles is concerned with stability, financial security, and protecting his goods.  He’s also protecting his heart chakra – in a way, keeping people out.  Should you secure the fortress and if so, how can you still let other people in?

Kyle – Give It Away

The great jazz musician and American genius Louis Armstrong, in the early years of his career, covered his fingers with a white handkerchief while he played the trumpet, afraid that other musicians, would somehow copy his style, his meter, his ownness with the music.  Any American music historian worth their  weight in on LP’s will tell you Armstrong bypassed being recorded for one of the first Jazz records of all time, for the same reason. He was afraid of others copying him. He thought his light had to “kept under a bushel” as the parable in the bible states, lest it be stolen.

Imagine a world without the music of Louis Armstrong.  He and Les Paul, the engineering and guitar talent, near single handedly changed the sound of 20th century Western music. Imagine if Armstrong, had continued living, in the Four of Pentacles energy that held him in early career.

I know a chef, one for the best pastry chefs in the midwest, and easlly one of the top 100 in the country.  He does incredible things with desserts,  but for me his chocolate chip cookies are his finest work.  They are my favorite.  My fiancee and I have opted for a heaping pile of them, in lieu of cake, at our wedding. One of the city’s food writers, after tasting them, asked for the recipe.  “Sure” he replied, “but they will never taste quite like mine.”

Was he smug? No, he is not that kind of guy.  He simply knew there is an ineffable something, that exists in that which we work for, center on and pursue.  When we let the universe seep through into it, others can walk in those same steps, but the can never repeat our energy. The Four of Pentacles is a warming card for me.  Give it away.  The universe has been gracious to you.  Let it look back on you and smile.

Theresa – Pickle me this

Tarot by the Mouthful - Four of Pentacles - pickling and preserving


The Four of Pentacles symbolizes saving for the future.  It’s the card of the miser.

It’s only natural then that I would connect this card to food preservation.  After all, food spoils – without preservation methods, people would have have starved back in the day!

Our ancestors preserved food through drying, freezing, curing, fermenting, and pickling.  These methods allowed people to save the harvest later, which meant less waste plus stock on hand during times of drought, winter, or famine.

My mother was a whiz at food preservation. With four hungry kids and a tight budget, this was necessary.  Plus, we had a large garden, which meant we needed to be thrifty so none of the harvest would go to waste.

Every year, mom would take that bounty and create pickles, sauerkraut, tomato sauce and more.  Plus she loaded up the freezer with frozen corn. We were stocked for winter every year. Nothing went to waste.

In fact, every single jar of pickles and every bag of corn would be gone by the time winter came to an end.

This is how a smart penny-pinching kitchen operates.

After one year of making sauerkraut with my mother until my fingers bled, I vowed I would never, ever do it.  I turned my back on this craft as soon as I left the house and never looked back.

Until recently.

About a year ago, my hipster daughter, who is fond of all things old-fashioned and DIY,  started making refrigerator pickles and bacon jam.  It brought back so many memories – and suddenly, I found myself interested. Maybe I’d like to learn how to do this. That maybe turned into a yes. But first – I needed to get the facts from a master!

So I signed up for a preserving and pickling class with two buddies, Carol and Meghan – and got the scoop on how to do it (hint: it’s not hard).

Here are the basics:

How to pickle: create a brine with vinegar, water, salt and spices (recipe will be unique for each type of pickle).  Bring the pickling brine to a boil over high heat. Let it steep for a few minutes to get that pickl-y flavor. Pack your veg into a jar and pour the hot brine over the veg to cover.  Wipe the rims clean, add lids and screw on the ring until tight.  Drop the jars into a boiling pot of water with a canning rack and let it boil for about ten minutes (depends on altitude btw.)  Done!  Easy as cherry pie!

How to make preserves: clean your fruit and remove stems, cores and seeds.  Add your sugar, a little apple and lemon juice and let it sit a bit.  Bring to a boil until it’s thickened.  Remove from heat and test for consistency.  Then put into jars, add lids and screw on the ring until it’s tight.  Gently drop into a hot pot of boiling water and boil away for about ten minutes (times vary depending on altitude).  That’s it.

In our class, we used recipes from America’s Test Kitchen’s latest book, Foolproof Preserving.  We made Dilly Beans, Classic Strawberry Jam, and Plum Ginger Chutney.

The results: fabulous!  Much better than the canned stuff you find in the store.  And that is when it hit me: not only is this a wise path and thrifty as all get out – it’s better. Like other farm women before her, my mother knew that.  She was smart enough to treat canning like it deserved to be treated: not just as a way to feed her family but as a time honored craft.

Hats off to mom and the ancestors that came before her and got the notion to preserve their foodstuffs!

I don’t know how much pickling or preserving I’m going to be doing in the future but with my newfound skills, this may be my new autumn jam!

Tarot by the Mouthful - Four of Pentacles - jars of preserves and pickled beans


Canning equipment.

Water bath canner with rack.

Ball mason jars.

National center for home food preservation.

Historical origins of food preservation.

Bon Appetit!

Theresa and Kyle

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016

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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