Folks in the Old World used to have these little dolls made to look like old women bundled up in traditional scarves and aprons, usually with a broom and some garden produce, and would hang them up in the kitchen for good luck. They called their doll the “kitchen witch” and she did everything from ensuring that the woman of the house didn’t burn the roast to warding off ill-will that might be directed toward the home. That’s a lot to ask of an inanimate object, but I believe it had its roots in something real.
A witch (or crone) is the archetypal figure found in nearly every culture that represents the wise, old woman. She was the village sage or, if you were lucky, the grandparent living with you (Oh, the days of inter-generational living…we need you back!) When I need a wise woman, I usually find her on the Internet. Thanks to the many knowledgeable kitchen witches out there, I really have had better luck with my roasts.
Even more than perfectly cooked roasts, though, we need help in warding off the evil intentions directed at our homes and the people living there by entities like the food, chemical and drug industries. We need wisdom that will help us in our search for food that is of the most worth and the knowledge of how to prepare it according to the slow, nourishing tradition of several millennia of mothers that have gone before us on this planet. We need this in a day when, it seems like, the whole generation of would-be crones that came before us left the kitchen in favor of other pursuits and now have nothing to offer those of us who are trying to find our way.
The witch usually has a broom and some food – common, homey items – but powerful emblems of the everyday work that women do to maintain health and happiness. Great things only “come to pass” because of “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6), things like the quality of the daily bread we give our children and what is in the lunches we pack for our husbands.
There are so many things I wish I would have known when it really mattered!!! Thankfully, we are rediscovering a lot of what was lost over the last 70 years, or so. We can re-weld the chain linking us to ancient maternal wisdom. That just happens to be this Mormodonna’s passion. I want to share with you all the things I wish I had known sooner — the only things that will make a difference moving forward for the next generation.