Ms. Allrich compliments her Cooking by the Seasons with a new book offering menus and recipes for each of the thirteen moons cycles of the year from New to Full. The introductory material isn't what you find in standard cookbooks.  Instead of instructions on how to measure things or how to beat eggs properly, there is folklore about the moons and associated foods. Did you know that cilantro is associated with fire or that Rosemary planted by your door might help protect your home? You'll find information like this in the first part of this book.

The most important part of any cookbook, however, is the recipes, none of which are disappointing. (Although the reader should be aware that, although this is not a vegetarian cookbook, there are no red meat dishes here.) There are recipes for beverages, appetizers, soups, breads, main dishes, vegetables, salads and deserts. Some recipes are simple, others are more complex and require fairly serious cooking skills. A few recipes I found particularly delicious are: Lemony Chicken Caesar Salad, Orange-Walnut Scones, Baked Ricotta Chicken Zita, Maple-Pecan Roasted Squash, and the Blue Moon Berry Crisp.  

The idea of this book is to use foods that are found locally, in season, to create healthy, well-balanced meals.  To many of us this might seem almost impossible, but the introduction of the book says it all; “By consciously setting aside time to mark this Wheel with celebration and tuning into the wisdom of seasonal foods, we deepen our connection to nature’s lessons; we create meals that are not only healthful, but sacred as well – food that nourishes both body and soul.” 

Cooking By Moonlight reminds us that food is not merely fuel; food that feeds us body and soul nourishes us on many levels. Magic in the kitchen is food stirred with love and a smattering of spice and intention. Kitchen alchemy is right at our fingertips. This is truly a divine cookbook! 

~ review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Karri Ann Allrich

Llewellyn Publications, 2003

pp. 224, $17.95