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: Seven of Swords
Seven of Swords: The Seven of Swords is the card of stealth and cunning. Sneakiness. What are you trying to get away with? Or who is trying to take something from you? This card can symbolize a coup, a shady move, a fox sneaking into the henhouse. The Seven of Swords is also the classic card of theft. This card can also symbolize plans that don’t quite work out – time to go back to the drawing board…or execute a plan B.
Kyle – The Belly of Paris
There is a point, in one the great food novels of all time, The Belly of Paris, by Emile Zola, when the book’s protagonist Florant, who is living soft double life above his brother and sister-in-law’s Charcuterie, tells the story of his last five years. The imprisonment, brutality, wanderings, exile, and absence from the life he had known before.
Arrested as a result of wrong place wrong time, Florant, is ultimately sent to North Africa, and finds his way back to Paris, destitute, starved and thin, only to collapse just on its outskirts, where as luck would have it, he found by the lead cart in a caravan of vegetable sellers making their way into Paris to display their wares at one of grandest of markets of all time, Les Halles.
Florent is a fey shy man, who has most of his life energy taking care of his stocky, jolly, and slightly dim half- brother. That self same brother, and his Charcuterie, materializes just as Florent is on his last, staved legs. Later after he has put some flesh back on his bones, made friends in around the market, and walked the streets of the city of lights with some impunity, (though innocent, he still smells the whiff of being arrested again everywhere he goes) he is nudged to tell the story of his ordeal.
The nudge comes from child, whose insouciance to the whole story only goes to underpin her innocence and his, which is lost. His telling, painful, sad, and heart-heavy to read, is spread out as his brother and sister-in-law make blood pudding, a delicacy for which the shop is famous for city-wide. The scene is ripe with dramatic layers. Florent’s ordeal, the blood and meat mixing in the pot his brother stirs. It’s a great read. What it is also laced with is Florent’s fear. Fear of that time, and that his tranquil life may somehow crumble, or more to the point be drawn from him like the pig bled for the shop’s wares is ever present. I can’t think of no better scene to hold that feeling of what the Seven of Swords represents. The pensiveness that you may be caught. What seems solid could be fragile, that you are getting away with something, not getting on with it. Zola is a master, The Belly of Paris a great book, and that scene alone, plus the opening at the market, make necessary read for anyone serious about the culture of food in my opinion.
Theresa – It’s tricky
Every home cook learns the art of improvising early on. In fact, if you’re going to be proficient in the kitchen, it’s a necessity.
A cook who can salvage a meal gone wrong, make the most out of scanty ingredients, and throw together something off the top of their head when company drops in at the last minute…that’s stealth, cunning – it’s a nimble art form. Ninja-like even.
This ability (or perhaps it is confidence) doesn’t happen overnight. Clever cooks are developed through trial and error. Those times when your recipe fails? Fodder. That moment you open the fridge to realize you didn’t have as many eggs as you thought you had…and you’re in the middle of making a cheesecake? Whoops. The picky eater who insists that you only cook orange foods? Cheetos it is! (Not really.) Yeah…those situations are the ones that force your hand, make you take radical left turns, and push you to step out of your comfort zone into Plan B.
It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s that whole “can I get away with this?” energy, the holding of the breath, that tip-toe-cross-your-fingers let’s hope I manage to pull this shit off and pray I get it right and don’t forget something vibe.
And when we manage, somehow manage to execute the perfect bite, even when the prospect of utter and abject failure is looming, that feeling cannot be described except to say it’s a sly win. A sigh of relief. A smirk, perhaps, that can only come when we secretly know that we have somehow managed to pull off the greatest coup, the biggest heist.
This is quickly followed by the vow that next time, next time, I’ll be better prepared to execute the deed, no tricks or stealth necessary.
Seven of Swords.
It’s tricky. But those gaffes and surprises are what makes the cook adept.
Theresa and Kyle
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016
photos from personal collection and Jessica Kaminski
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