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: Ten of Cups

tarot by the mouthful ten of cups

Ten of Cups: This sweet card indicates family harmony and the happily-ever-after.  This is the card you want to see when asking a question about family.  It suggests contentment, support, and coming together.  Healthy relationships.  A loving family and strong marriage.  Joy.

Kyle – Fatherly advice

I know a famous chef.

He is more well known for his work on television than for his cooking.  (That happens these days.) When his media career started to grow, he asked Jacques Pépin for advice, chef to chef.  What Pépin told him was how to be father and husband before he doled out any cooking advice.  That’s self possession of a different sort; the understanding of family, centeredness, domestic tranquility in a form that also aligns with your ownmost thing. That, for me, is what the Ten of Cups signifies in the tarot deck.

It’s a tough thing, the food world, or at least it can be.  I know one chef who told me of the perils of having a successful restaurant at the height of its power. “I filled 300 people that night, but came home [to his wife and children] empty” he said.  Conversely, I have witnessed chefs, restaurateurs, and drink makers go for it with a different outcome. As they actualize their dream (leaving the mentor, the safe job, the food they could cook but was missing a dimension for them) and strike out on their own, something else comes to pass.

Their friends, family and co-workers coalesce around their dream in way they never could have imagined.  I have watched the culling of what was, to the balance of what matters most, with the outcome being marriages and business partnerships, and deeper happiness they previously imagined.

This is the case in my life, ever since my fiancée quit her job and now runs our production company.  There were sour times, and sharp angles of communication we had to overcome, but our center, our us, was woven tighter than it ever might have been on a different path.   I can name ten or more folks in the business of American cookery for whom it is true as well.

“Everything grows better with a little struggle.” I heard those words from a chef just yesterday, while filming with him for my forthright, honest, the-way-they-say-it, web series Chef Talk with Kyle Cherek.  At a table in the middle of one of his restaurants with the staff prepping that night’s specials in the background, we were talking about cultivating kitchen talent, good ingredients and raising children–life, cooking, leadership, family, all rolled into one.  That, from a food perspective, is the Ten of Cups.  After the struggle has abated…the type of struggle that is the work of not just your dream, but the one endorsed by what and who love you and you love, then the Ten of Cups comes to pass.

This poem by Robert Creeley sums up the Ten of Cups nicely: Oh No!


Theresa – When our mouths were full, they were shut

The Ten of Cups portrays the happy family so it’s only natural that one would associate it with family gatherings such as birthday parties or holiday celebrations.  For me, the most memorable were always Thanksgiving.

This is when mom would go all out: a beautifully browned bird, giblet and onion stuffing, fluffy riced potatoes, relish trays full of radishes and celery sticks, peas or corn, homemade biscuits, fruit cocktail (which was nothing more than whipped cream with a can of fruit cocktail mix tossed in – kinda gross but we loved it), and pumpkin pie topped with gobs of whipped cream. The table was full of food and people, and soon, our bellies were full too.

While all of this sounds like a Norman Rockwell portrait, our family was not peaceful until we were sitting down with a fork in our hands.  We were an argumentative bunch and the dinner table would sometimes be a place of heated debates and ugly screaming matches…until the food came.  When our grateful mouths were full, we had no time to bicker.  A delicious dinner was our cease fire and food was the white flag.

The peace that I so desperately craved would finally arrive.

Which is why the memory of meal time is so sacred to me.  It was the one time when the ugliness in my family would quiet down to a murmur.

And that’s the thing with families and food.  Families are rarely perfect or harmonious like the idyllic image in the Ten of Cups. But food can bring even the most unruly together.  A good meal UNITES.

These days, our gatherings are small and never angry.  My family has shrunk dramatically due to death, physical distance, and, in some cases, estrangement. The peace I needed as a child is here and meals are joyful events, where love is the main dish served.

That scene with the Ten of Cups is now my every day, every moment, not just reserved for special occasions or the dinner table.  And that’s reason to celebrate + feast every single day.

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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