K is for Kitchen Witchery

Informal Magic

I, at least according to certain friends, am a slow cooker witch. Apparently, when I give them a slow cooker recipe after they’ve tried what I’ve prepared, it doesn’t turn out the same for them at all? I have no idea what I do for my results to be so different and better, especially when we work from the same recipes and directions.

Some might call that kitchen magic.

In fantasy worlds, kitchen witchery is some of the simplest magic. It’s more magic of desire vs. intent. It’s magic that can be accomplished with anything one might have in their kitchen, by people who have no formal training. It’s magic passed down from one generation to the next by everyday people who may not have any special aptitude for magic other than that it’s something which exists in their world. It’s not the grandiose works of magic, but the simple ones to help a neighbor or a friend. Like a warm bowl of chicken soup to heal the soul.

Worldbuilding Exercises:

  • In your fictional world, is it possible for someone to use magic without realizing that they are? If not, can they control how ‘strong’ the magic is when they use it?
  • Can magic be imbued into foodstuffs, or is potion-making (perhaps just under the guise of tea, tinctures, or infusions) all that can be performed with kitchen witchery?
  • Is kitchen witchery something that can be used for ill means, or is it driven by inherently good intentions?

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  1. Honestly, this is the kind of magic I like best. The kind of magic that might be possible after all, if we give a different name to what are used in our magic world.
    The way reality and ‘fantasy’ might mix is one of the things that most fascinates me in writing fantasy.

  2. I like the thought of kitchen witchery as being primarily to help friends and neighbors, but there’s no doubt that it can be used for curses, poisons, love potions (against people’s will) and other ill intentions. Any time you have something that more-or-less ordinary people can whip up in more-or-less ordinary circumstances, there are unfortunately going to be bad uses as well as good.
    Black and White: K is for Kasa-Obake

  3. Most of my encounters with the hedge witch term in fantasy fiction has been less homegrown/unschooled witches, and more… wild ones, in a sense. Where they seem untamed vs. unschooled.

    But I like the warmth “kitchen magic” conveys better, myself!

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