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: The Moon
The Moon: The Moon represents all that is hidden, that which is not seen in the light of day. It’s a card that often strikes fear (think: the things that go bump in the night). Anxiety and illusion. Things are not as they seem. But this is also the card of reflection – by taking the time to sit with the dark, with our shadow, we are able to slowly make our way forward, even though we may not be certain of what lies ahead. The journey often goes through periods that are murky but we must still move on. Let go of the need to see it all and trust that even the bumpy roads can lead to the final destination.
Kyle – The Shadow in the Kitchen
No one cannot cook without confidence. The very act of properly bringing things to a boil, salting in the right succession, marinating, macerating, or moving the cut of meat off the flame at the right moment is an act of self assuredness. If you go by the history of what anthropologists call the homo range, we’ve been manipulating heat so that things taste better for each other and ourselves for at least 1.7 million years.
The current trends of our Western chef culture embrace this cooking confidence to an extreme. The chef is, within this trend, the maestro, and the customer need only sit back and be amazed, transported and educated. It’s cool, edgy, fun, and when done expertly, moves the whole craft forward to boot.
But cooking is a language of echoes and influences, humility and virtuosity for the sake of something greater. When it is done well, is has a healthy serving of “there but for the grace of…. go I.” To be sure, despite the current wave of absent humility, many still do. There are still plenty of cooks and chefs working with everything from raw flame to circulators and tweezers who Namaste their food forward to the customer with every night’s service. Yet never before in the history of professional cooking has there been an era so soaked singularly in the story the chef wants to tell, and the way they want to tell it, upping the confidence game to kind of momentary cult of personality tasting menu. It is what restaurant critic Alan Richman calls “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine”, or my dear late friend and Esquire magazine’s food editor at large Josh Ozersky opined about one afternoon over lunch in New York with Anthony Bourdain not so long ago.
In the realm of tarot and food that this column occupies, the counter point to all this deeply well intended, but often immature navel gazing in professional kitchens is The Moon card. With it’s Jungian reflective energy, the Moon Card reminds us that our shadows shall sink deeper into us, taking our old memories, injuries and misgivings along for the ride and projecting them ever larger than life, should we eschew examining them in true light. Our unresolved shadow insecurities garnered along the way to gaining confidence, will be flipped back for us to watch in Imax scale, and the things we deplore most in others are actually our shadows turned to moonlight. In the case of cookery and chefs, and where they take our culture, the shadows creep in in the spaces where the tradition or development that hasn’t in actuality been conquered and squared within their own development.
My grandmother measured from her elbow absent of swagger about it. She was way past that. A truly great chef I know, when I told him I dined at one of his restaurants earlier that evening, didn’t ask if I had ordered this dish or that, to examine which artistry of his I was able to absorb. No, just inquired warmly but with an earnestness usually reserved for collage grads at the first big interview, “How was your meal?” A healthy sense of one’s own talents and strength is of primary importance, but unless you are cooking solely for yourself, you are in the truest sense, doing it to serve.
As Western dining and cooking trundles ever forward with the next and the new, from food waste as ingredients in fine dining menus, to fast-casual chain restaurant concepts the darlings of Wall Street, the Moon Card will always abide. Every cooking trend will have its dark night of the soul. How we as a culture look and examine it, and in what light, will inform if literately, it feeds us, or not.
Theresa – Eating In the Dark
I’m not a person who ever gets up and raids the fridge. First of all, dinner is my main meal and I tend to eat a hearty one. Secondly, once I’m in bed…I’m in bed.
My husband, on the other hand, tends to get himself a snack in the middle of the night. There’s a reason for that. We sleep at different hours and he will stay up til the wee hours, writing and creating. He’s like a creativity vampire: his mojo comes alive at night.
And all that work makes a man hungry. So he snacks.
I find the evidence in the morning. Crumbs on the cutting board. A jar of peanut butter nearby. A dirty knife in the sink and maybe a glass with a hint of chocolate milk in the bottom.
That little mess is kind of sweet and endearing.
The Moon card has a sliver of danger lurking in it. And there is danger in that late-night food bingeing. As in: it packs on the pounds (note: snack-happy husband is naturally pretty thin and very active). That’s motivation enough for me to not even go there.
The only time you’ll ever catch me eating past 8PM is at a movie theater with a big bucket of popcorn. (Slobbering over Channing Tatum requires this.)
But what if I was a night eater? What would I gravitate towards? Would I need a sandwich or would I root around for something sweet like a cookie? What would I eat in the dark long after everyone else was sound asleep?
I’ll never know. I’d like to think that I’d do something healthier. But knowing my predilection for sweets and fatty foods, it’s doubtful.
So while my husband eats under the light of the moon, tapping away on his keyboard or sketching out the latest ideas for his comic, I’m swaddled in, protected from the temptations that lie in wait in the fridge. Like the figures in the Moon, I know that biding my time is wise and that my body is happier resting up…for the next big meal.
Snacking suggestions for when you just gotta have something:
I’m a huge fan of Graze. They send you healthy snacks in pre-measured little packs. This way, if you need a nibble, you don’t overdo it.
Theresa and Kyle
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!