★ Tarot for Change
Times being what they are, an uptick in conversation around self-care and coping with grief feels appropriate. We’re all, it seems, looking for ways to make sense of, or at least soften, our experience of the everyday, and in this climate, interest in the ancient practice of tarot is resurgent. I’m among the curious dabblers who are digging deeper, and I’m glad to learn from Jessica Dore’s Tarot for Change: Using the Cards for Self-Care, Acceptance, and Growth. Dore, a licensed social worker, roots her study of tarot in psychology, but she also pulls from folk traditions, personal anecdotes, mythology, literature and much more for a depth-charged exploration of the major and minor arcana. Tarot, her book suggests, deserves to be seen as a therapeutic modality like any other. “Efforts to boil the study of the soul down to a science have led to great strides in the treatment of mental illness,” she writes, “but have relegated mystery and magic to the edges.”
I knew one could make jelly from violets and sprinkle nasturtiums into salad, but I had no idea just how many flowers were safe to consume until I cracked open Edible Flowers: How, Why, and When We Eat Flowers, which showcases more than 100 nourishing blossoms—and that’s counting only specimens from North America and Europe. But let’s not get hung up on stats. The key word for this gorgeous book is, as author Monica Nelson puts it, immersive. Color photographs by Adrianna Glaviano capture the striking presence and ephemerality of each bloom, and along with enticing recipes and historical and cultural context (“In Ancient Egypt, [calendula] was considered the ‘poor man’s saffron,’” for example), there are short essays by contemporary writers, summoning the reader deeper into the flower-eating experience. Even the petite trim size is by design, “allowing the book itself to also be lived with.” This one is a true sensual experience between two covers.
The Cocktail Workshop
Many boozy-beverage books have come this column’s way in recent years, but the clarity and spiffy organization of The Cocktail Workshop caught my attention and didn’t let it go. I’m an amateur when it comes to mixology, so the “first, the basics” approach holds appeal. Yes, please do give me the how-to (and nerdy details!) of classics like the Manhattan, margarita and Negroni. Not that connoisseurs won’t also find much to love here: The recipes grow far more complex with spirit-swapping, homemade tinctures and flaming garnishes. For each of 20 stable “banger” drinks, you’ll learn three spinoffs, plus a “workshop” recipe for the extra-ambitious. Mix a perfect martini, say, then try a vesper or a bijou before graduating to brewing your own vermouth. Or just, you know, splash some bubbly, seltzer and Aperol in a glass and call it a spritz.