In this month's roundup of new lifestyles books, witchy recipes, spooky treats and meat-eating plants provide the seasonal escapism we all crave.
★ A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance
Food gives us energy; food is energy. This framing of cooking as a blend of mindful practice and energy work, right alongside reiki and acupuncture, is at the root of Dawn Aurora Hunt’s A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance. Adding witchcraft to the mix—think candles, smudge sticks, essential oils, mantras—takes things from healthy and delicious to sensual sorcery. Bow tie pasta with lemon and artichokes, when paired with the practice of “creating a sacred space for enriching love and togetherness,” becomes a way to rekindle the flame and honor a season of new beginnings. Peaches and cream? Way sexier with a sigil carved into the peach flesh. Grab your wooden spoons, some white sage and a box of matches, and make some kitchen magic for—and with—your partner.
The Wicked Baker
The Wicked Baker is Helena Garcia’s celebration of all treats spooky and strange. If you take even the eensiest dram of pleasure from Halloween, you’ll enjoy every page. A Cousin Itt made of shredded phyllo wears round green spectacles of gingerbread dough. A cake resembling a black candle drips blood-red “wax” icing. Many of these complex creations are not for the faint of heart. But hey, the Brain Cinnamon Rolls sound manageable, and I’m game to whip up the pale green Slime Pudding that’s little more than Greek yogurt, condensed milk and citrus. This book brings the holiday escapism we all crave.
Killer Plants is your go-to for carnivorous cultivars like bladderworts, pitcher plants and Venus’ flytraps. “The plants in this book present a bit of a challenge to their keepers,” author Molly Williams tells us upfront. That is, they’re pretty persnickety when it comes to care—they insist upon distilled water and special potting mix, for starters—but are possibly worth it for the weird-and-rare factor if you’re a plant-hound. Williams even goes a step further in a section on “Rare Carnivorous Plants You May Never Find,” which reads like an episode of “Nature.” Niche though these plants may be, entire shops and societies around the world are devoted to them. A list of contacts rounds out the book, so you can go forth and find your fellow killer-plant people.