My own personal journey of diagnosing food intolerances and developing a way of eating that is right for me has taught me that in the real world food is medicine. Eating the right foods for your body’s needs will help you to thrive and eating the wrong foods can make you sick.
I can imagine how this axiom could be even more powerful in the world of the Elder Races, and in American Witch in particular.
Molly, the main character, explores both sides to her nature—the healer and the warrior, because both sides matter to her, and to the coven she has joined. Under the tutelage of her teacher, one thing she tries is casting a blessing on the food that they will serve during a summer solstice gathering.
In the real world, blessings are spoken over foods and meals all the time, although we typically define those in terms of religion and spirituality. It’s up to each person’s personal beliefs whether they would believe those blessings actually enhance the food and a person’s life.
But in a magical world, these blessings would be objectively discernible facts with tangible properties. So when Molly casts the blessing over the foods they’ll serve to their guests, part of the “recipe” for that spell is to let it soak into the food overnight. Then anyone who eats those foods at the solstice gathering will receive the blessing over the upcoming months.
In American Witch, I also write a small passage within the context of a conversation that outlines how the magically-based system of healing differs from the science-based. The example I use is headache medicine. In the science-based system, we have developed medicines like Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and you take these orally to get headache relief, but magic operates on an entirely different system. With a magical system, you might treat a headache or stomachache with something topical, and then the spell would soak through the skin.
Given this, the best kinds of magical healing spells on food would be those that are better delivered through the digestive system than through other methods.
Molly also learns how to use a pendulum to target the right kind of healing foods to help someone, and I hint at the learning she undergoes where she learns how to combine magic and foods in the best way.
In the story, I mention one specific food, a butternut squash soup with magical healing properties from spelled oregano. I think what Molly would have fixed would be something along the lines of this recipe, with the cream added in for a patient with a delicate constitution who needs the extra calories.
In the real world, oregano has many wonderful healing properties, so you can see how Molly might be encouraged to pursue this further. If you want to read about some science-based health benefits from oregano, click here.
Among the benefits listed are antioxidants, potential bacteria-fighting agents, anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s easily added into one’s dishes or diets. My Italian side loves oregano with tomato-based dishes. 🙂