Once upon a time, these foods were believed to be the root to every happily ever after. A little culinary alchemy with these potent magical foods could cure all kinds of ailments, make people fall in love, and ward away demons. Since this is the season for ghostly haunting, it might be time to break out the potion book and try an enchanted recipe with a few more more of these ingredients!
Apples are ripe with symbolism, commonly depicted as the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. In Europe during the middle ages, apples and apple cider were used in love rituals; if a woman wanted a man to love her, all she had to do was sleep with an apple under her arm and convince the man to eat the apple the next day. This would ensure he had eyes only for her.
Figs embody the highest powers of fertility; supposedly, growing a fig plant indoors will bring good luck and abundance to the household. In addition, it is a purportedly powerful aphrodisiac, containing potent properties of love and affection. If a person bites into a fig that someone else is holding, the one consuming the fruit will be instantly infatuated with the holder.
Garlic’s pungent cloves are a popular part of spiritual and supernatural belief. Garlic provides protection against evil, such as the undead, vampires, and werewolves, in addition to breaking curses and hexes, and purifying bad magic from food. It is also purported to cure a number of medical ailments – though one negative side effect is that it may promote abnormally lustful behavior.
The seeds were once used to treat a variety of ailments. It was said that consuming it would open higher mental channels and allow a person to see hidden illness and evil influence. Some rural Europeans sprinkled mustard seeds around their homes as protection, and other Middle Eastern cultures believed it allowed them to achieve greater knowledge of the universe.
This fruit symbolized fertility and abundance in Chinese, Greek, and Roman myth. In some cultures, pomegranates have been used to determine a woman’s fertility; the pomegranate is dropped in the middle of a circle, and when it breaks open, the number of seeds that lands outside the circle corresponds to the number of children she will have.
Salt represents protection and earthly purification; it is still used in some religious ceremonies to remove spiritual impurities and sins. A circle of salt can be used as a protective shield to ward away demons, and the act of throwing a pinch of salt over your left shoulder is suppose to dispel any evil spirits lurking there.
This spice was once believed to eliminate depression, so much so that one could die of “excessive happiness” if you consumed too much. Drinking it in a tea increases an individual’s clairvoyance and increases your body’s healing. In some cultures, saffron was also used by religious figures to control the elements, particularly the wind.
When tomatoes were first introduced to Europeans in the 1500s, they were considered unfit for consumption and possibly poisonous. Instead, they were sometimes placed in windows to ward off evil spirits and repel negative energies, in addition to being part of love rituals in a similar manner as apples. By the 18th century, they were widely eaten and used in all kinds of dishes.
Photo Credits: What’s Cooking America?, Skinny Secret, Organic Soul, eHow, Wikipedia, Salt Insurance, Shimlahills, Mary Crimmins