Herbs, flowers, fruits, wood: The substitutes you can count on!
You’ll probably be using at least one of the above things in most magical workings. Here’s a quick breakdown!
ROSEMARY: Rosemary can substitute for any herb. Used for its own properties, it is a good component in cleansing baths, can be kept under the pillow to remember dreams, and things associated with memory: memorable impressions, recall, and enhancement of one’s own memory. In cooking, it makes a delicious addition to savory dishes and meats, while also providing a complex flavor to sweet applications. Rosemary infused in honey or tea is strong and tasty, and it adds a sophisticated edge to simple sweets like sugar cookies.
ROSE: Rose can substitute for any flower. Make sure to only get roses for culinary applications or grow your own, since those from a florist will likely contain pesticides! Roses are known for their uses in love spells, but are also used in many applications calling for happy, benign energy. Rose can soothe an angry heart, especially if the anger is due to relationship issues. In cooking, rose is a delicate floral note that can easily be lost under intense flavor, and is best highlighted in sweet or mild applications. Rose petals and rosehips make great tea, and can be jellied for a vitamin-C rich treat. Rose petals can be infused into oil, honey, sugars, and alcohol. Rose water can be used to enhance the flavor, but be sparing—storebought rosewater does not taste as light as homemade, and can overpower and ruin natural floral flavors.
LEMON/ORANGE: Fruit substitutions are less straightforward than others, but lemon, orange, and occasionally apple are considered solid go-tos. Pick whichever is right for the working or recipe, based either on intent or the other spell components! Lemon is associated with water and the moon, and used frequently in purifying and cleansing—both magical and non-magical. Lemon and honey in hot water is a great remedy for sore throat and indigestion, and the smell of lemon will perk you right up on a sleepy morning. Lemon (or any citrus) peel infuses fantastically in sugar, honey, booze, etc. Avoid using pith (the white stuff) and stick to the flavorful zest and juice. Zest is great in practically any baked good, and simply pouring hot water over used lemon rinds will make you entire house smell amazing.
PINE: Pine is regarded as a good substitute for most resins and woods. Pine resin is easy to collect, as are the needles, with a little reading on the species of tree. Pine is thought to banish sickness and bring in prosperity and luck, and often hung over doors or mixed into fragrant sachets to place under pillows. Pine needle tea is bitter, but rich in vitamins A and C; it should be incorporated sparingly to cooking applications, and you may want to enhance it with mint to avoid overuse of the bitter pine taste. In outdoor cooking, pine smells beautiful under a grill or in a fire.
CLARIFICATION: Some people have pointed out that pine can be dangerous to burn due to the high quantities of resin in the wood. This is not untrue! Pine can produce larger quantities of creosote and smoke, due to the resin and tar in logs. However, unless you cook with an all-pine fire regularly, it is not likely to reach dangerous levels (which you wouldn’t anyway, because all-pine fires will make your food taste like a BUTT). I also specified that it should be outdoor flame, since in a wood stove it can cause dangerous buildup. Also, not a great idea to use exclusively pine wood in a fire, as it won’t burn as well/won’t taste great; it’s best when cut with oak. Since pine burns hot, I like to start my bonfire/grill with it, and then pile apple or cherry wood on for the actual cooking an hour later. A few good pine logs/handful of chips will burn well, smell great, and be largely harmless. So like most spell components, research well and use in moderation!
TOBACCO: Substitute for any poisonous herb. NOT FOR CULINARY USE. It is worth mentioning only in the case that someone is adapting a non-edible spell or ritual into an edible recipe that includes a poisonous herb—NEVER bring toxic plants into the kitchen, at risk of cross-contamination, and instead substitute tobacco by burning a cigarette near the pot (or, if you don’t want that in the house, burning it outside and catching a little smoke in a bottle to bring in). Do not add ashes to the cooking, as they are also poisonous. Don’t let this anywhere near your mouth.
QUARTZ: Not exactly a cooking ingredient, but stones are often used in magic and it is possible to bring them into the kitchen. Clear quartz is a good substitute for any stone you may not have, as it cleanly amplifies energies. While I wouldn’t ever put stones IN something you intend to eat, if you insist on soaking a stone/crystal in liquid recipe ingredients (water, tea, milk, etc), use quartz or another safe stone; malachite, copper, and many other minerals become poisonous when introduced to liquid environments. Don’t put any stone in something acidic, like juice, unless you are POSITIVE it will 1. not erode, and 2. not poison you. Don’t put crystals or stones in overly hot or boiling water, as this could cause them to crack and explode. And if they DO, don’t eat anything with sharp little crystal bits in it! Seriously, treat small shattered crystals like you would glass shards.
Most of these substitute ingredients are entirely edible (or at least mostly harmless) in some form, so if you’re trying to adapt a nonedible spell to baking or cooking, consider using some of these subs in the place of less…digestible…spell components. There are usually plenty of other subs with the properties you need, but these steadfast six are not only reliable, but pretty easy to acquire!
Aside from the slightly strange looks, Darius was enjoying the many oddities he purveyed at the Inventory’s Fair. A few of the devices seemed to belong on a battlefield rather than a display pedestal. There was a small selection of distillery devices; naturally Darius sampled the finished product. The last he sampled tasted particularly off to him, causing him to find food to get the taste away.
“Friend, you look like a traveller,” a stall vendor called out, “Please, come try my invention.” Darius walked over and examined the stall, “This is food.” The vendor spoke, “Wordplay, my friend. This is my new recipe, Ghirapur Biryani.” She placed a bowl of rice mixed with vegetables and various bits of meat in front of him. He cautiously ate a small spoonful. The spiciness burned away the bad taste away and opened the floodgates for the savory flavor of the meat. “By the ancestors, this is amazing,” he managed to say between bites. The vendor bowed, “Not all great inventions are machines.”
“yes - in the way that one roasts his freshly caught dinner above the campfire. it is no different from smoked venison, or some savory rabbit stew. meat is meat!”
fantastic thing to respond with. thresh chuckles lowly, tickled enough by his own terrible jest - he stands there and waves away the smoke coming off of the scorched corpse very lazily. it doesn’t really accomplish anything.
“i am just kidding you. i no longer eat or drink, and the very concept of sustenance means nothing to me. the soul that belonged to this man was cursed; like a stream tainted by pollution.”
he nudges it with his foot, gets a little startled when his boot starts to catch fire (even though his body is constantly generating its own flames), and puts it out in the dirt by stomping a few times.
“i could not cleanse it with my own energy. i am the most accursed thing alive! i am doing the earth a favor by reducing these remains to ashes; let the wind carry them into some idiot’s face or something. why are you still standing there?”
he turns to look at him, and his twisted features form a cartoonishly wide grin.
“i was not serious about eating him, but if you are on the brink of starvation or something, go crazy!”
#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE #HappyNewYear !
That thought was too much. William stood up and dropped his blanket, dozens of small white moths rising startled from the grass and flitting inquisitively round his face. He ignored these, pulled on his boots and strode off.
He didn’t care where he was going. His limbs felt as though he’d been headed up in a barrel all night, cramped and tingling with a fierce need to move. The smoking fires glowed and flickered under the big oak, and the savory smell of the meat made his stomach growl. One of the Indians was asleep beside the fire, rolled in a blanket; he couldn’t tell which.
Turning his back on the fire, he headed toward the fields that lay behind the house. Mount Josiah had boasted only a score of acres in tobacco when he had known it years before; was the land even cultivated now?
Rather to his surprise, it was. The stalks had been harvested, but the ground was littered with shed leaves and fragments; the sap-thick smell of uncured tobacco lay like incense on the night. The scent soothed him, and he made his way slowly across the field, toward the black shape of the tobacco barn. Was it still in use?
It was. Called a barn for courtesy’s sake, it was little more than a large shed, but the back of it was a large, airy space where the stalks were hung for stripping—there were only a few there now, dangling from the rafters, barely visible against the faint starlight that leaked through the wide-set boards. His entrance caused the dried, stacked leaves on the broad curing platform at one side to stir and rustle, as though the shed took notice of him. It was an odd fancy, but not disturbing—he nodded to the dark, half-conscious of welcome.
He bumped into something that shied away with a hollow sound—an empty barrel. Feeling about, he counted more than a score, some filled, some waiting. Some old, a few new ones, judging by the smell of new wood that added its tang to the shed’s perfume.
Someone was working the plantation—and it wasn’t Manoke. The Indian enjoyed smoking tobacco now and then, but William had never seen him take any part in the raising or harvesting of the crop. Neither did he reek of it. It wasn’t possible to touch green tobacco without a black, sticky sort of tar adhering to your hands, and the smell in a ripe tobacco field was enough to make a grown man’s head swim.
When he had lived here with Lord John—the name caused a faint twinge, but he ignored it—his father had hired laborers from the adjoining property upriver, a large place called Bobwhite, who could easily tend Mt. Josiah’s modest crop in addition to Bobwhite’s huge output. Perhaps the same arrangement was still in place?
The thought that the plantation was still working, even in this ghostly fashion, heartened him a little; he’d thought the place quite abandoned when he saw the ruined house. Curious, he felt his way out of the tobacco barn and turned west, trampling through the shattered remnants of tobacco stalk, toward the higher fields that were used for less valuable crops. Yes, these too had been planted and harvested; by the pale light of a rising half-moon, he saw corn, stooked and standing in rows like small, ragged men. He circled the corn and came down along the river fields—they’d tried to grow rice one year, but it hadn’t answered, he didn’t remember why…a long stretch of fallow ground, thick with weeds and drying grass, and then he turned away from the river and found himself walking over crackling dry stems with a strong, familiar smell….what…oh, flax. Of course.
He smiled at the memory of being allowed to help thresh the flax; they’d put the bundles of dried stems in rough cloth bags and laid them on the tiny brick landing, and then he and Papa and Manoke and Jim and Peter—yes, Jim and Peter, that was right, the two black servants–had jumped up and down on them, trod to and fro, and ended by dancing a riotous quadrille atop the filthy, foot-marked bags. Quite a lot of beer had been drunk; he could taste the mingled fumes of yeast and alcohol on the back of his tongue, and a hint of flax-seed oil that always made him think of paintings.
A dark figure loomed suddenly out of the dark before him, and he yelped and threw himself to one side, scrabbling hastily up onto all fours, groping wildly for a stick, a rock, a—
“_Tabernac_, is that you, _Gillaume_? I mean…”
“It’s me,” William said shortly, dropping the handful of gravel and leaves he’d grabbed. He panted for a moment, hands on his knees, before adding, “I thought you were a bear.”
It was said in all seriousness, but Cinnamon made a small snort of amusement.
“If there was a bear within ten miles, it would already have joined us for supper,” he said. “I thought I heard something more sly, though, like a cat, so I came to see.” He cleared his throat then, and seemed to recede a little into the night. “I’m sorry,” he said more formally. “I didn’t mean to…” a vague hand waved, “…to disturb you.”
“You’re not,” William said, still short, but not unfriendly. None of this was Cinnamon’s fault—and he’d liked the man very much, when they’d spent that winter hunting and trapping. Padding slow-footed miles over the snow on the unwieldy basket-woven shoes that kept them from sinking through its crust.
He shivered a little at the memory, though the night wasn’t very cold. Snot streaming and freezing to the hair on his face, the air like knives and needles in his lungs. And the fire at night, the sounds of burning wood, dripping water, dripping blood from the kill, his own blood surging hot and stinging back into fingers and toes, the long white trance of a day in the forest broken by the shock of hot food. And then their talk.
“You’re not,” he repeated, more firmly. “A cat, you say? Big?”
His eyes were well enough suited to the dark by now that he made out Cinnamon’s nod easily. William looked back over his shoulder, casting his mind hastily over his path; had he half-heard anything, smelled anything…? Nothing moved but the willows and alders by the river, leaves rustling in a light breeze. He felt rather than saw Cinnamon move to the side, lifting his chin to sniff the air. They both froze in the same moment.
From the direction of the house. An acrid pong so faint you might not notice, unless a friendly breeze shoved it right up your nose. William nodded to Cinnamon. Cat.
He glanced then at the tree, where Manoke was still lying in the fire’s glow, wrapped in a trade blanket with wide red and yellow stripes. Cinnamon’s hand closed on his forearm and he felt the Indian’s shake of the head. He nodded again and patted Cinnamon’s hip—was he armed? A breath of self-disgust—no. Neither was William, and he shared his friend’s sentiment; what could he have been thinking of, walking in open ground after dark without so much as a case-knife!
He jerked his head toward the house, and Cinnamon nodded.