Our new astrology cookbook, SIGNS & SEASONS, from HarperElixir, describes how our tastes, moods and desires are part of a beautiful and natural process, as we tune in and observe the order of the heavens, the corresponding seasonal order on earth and the regularity of the biological processes of the plants and animals which depend on this order.
Astrology has been around for thousands of years. Amy and I have have been inspired by our astrological studies since the 70's and we've been writing about the zodiac in our books and oracles since the 80's. My first book on astrology was Karma Cards: An Astrological Guide to Your Future Through Astrology, a bestseller, now celebrating it's 30th year in print.
The position of the sun, moon and planets affects our personalities and our appetites. As the cosmic wheel turns, the energies unique to each cycle are at play, giving us it's particular magic, messages and guidance to live by. SIGNS & SEASONS is designed to help us better understand our individual personality traits, our tastes and appetites, how we each cook and how we each eat. And even how we entertain!
We first conceived of this idea for a astrology cookbook titled "Dining Under the Stars" back in the 90's when we lived with Amy's mother, artist Jessie Spicer Zerner. We all lived together, ate together and worked together on many projects, including The Enchanted Tarot, another of our bestsellers. One day we were brainstorming and were struck with a great idea - we drew up a proposal: an illustrated cookbook designed to relate and link the characteristics of the individual signs of the zodiac to delicious recipes. We wanted the ingredients and produce to reflect the season, to be used when it reached peak perfection.
We envisioned the quirks and peculiarities that give the people of each sun sign their quirky charm to be part of the reason for each recipe being designed in its own special way. Years of studying astrology as well as “testing” our creations on gatherings large and small helped us perfect the menus, meanings and choices, as we liked our parties to be known for good food and stimulating conversation - and for sharing astrological insights.
After pitching the idea to a few publishers over the years, we realized we wanted it - and needed it - to be an even more extensive and sophisticated cookbook, and so we enlisted the help of our friend John Okas, an experienced chef and talented writer who also has a unique take on astrology. He also happened to be the best man at our wedding in 1978. So together with John, we have been "cooking up" this concept for 10 years. It was originally dreamed of more than 25 years ago, and, to our delight, our dream is being born this year. It is one of those rare dreams-come-true in life that turn out even better than you first imagined.
Out of the blue in 2015, publisher Claudia Boutote contacted us to see if we had any great projects for her new imprint at Harper Collins, HarperElixir. Her line of curated books "selected with purpose and intent to bring about personal transformation" seemed a perfect fit for us authors. It was meant-to-be, for when we told her about our cookbook, she loved the idea! She put us together with her senior editor, Libby Edelson, who has expertly edited many successful cookbooks, and she guided us to make a truly wonderful book.
The alliance of all of our talents, Amy, John and me, and Libby, was remarkably harmonious. It was like creating the most wonderfully special soup composed of our individual gifts and talents. Each of us added our secret spice, flavors and editorial and astrological knowledge.
John and Amy evolved a very creative, back-and-forth method to stir this "group soup." They began with each making separate lists of recipe ideas for each season. Then they discussed the general direction of the text, both astrologically and in terms of foods and preparation methods that seemed most appropriate to interpret the recipe and ingredients for each sign or season.
John has an extensive file of original recipes. We also have a collection of favorite family dishes. They would work each day for an entire year, to add, change or replace. Then John wrote the selected recipes with the headnotes, ingredients and methods based on these collaborative decisions. I reviewed and polished and added my astrological vision and input for how each sign eats, cooks and entertains, and, as a team, we would all have constant insights to share and ideas to fold in, as the book evolved, deepened and grew in scope. We wove it together (like a tapestry) and created the perfect recipes and revelations for each sign and season.
Amy was the project manager and was also responsible for the food styling and for the 16 original art images that adorn the book. She asked the other best man at our wedding, fellow artist Dan Romer, to assist in assembling the astrological food mandala illustrations digitally, "feeding" him an assortment of collage elements and her 12 zodiac illustrations that became the essence of each image. Another magical collaboration.
Once our wonderful editor Libby approved, we cooked, carefully preparing each recipe for me to light and photograph, direct from oven or stove, to be captured immediately. Amy collected place settings and and fabrics to show off each dish for my many photo shoots. Each recipe was tested and tasted in our own homes. We have really enjoyed our process and our feasts!
We hope that readers will find a few recipes that become favorites, lifelong friends, made again and again. We hope, too, that SIGNS & SEASONS will help increase happiness, gratitude, love for others and awe for the mystery of creation while our readers think about the earth spinning and the light coming and going...becoming aware of the Circle of Life (the Zodiac) not as pie in the sky but as a way of connecting to our ancient agricultural roots in Mother Earth.... bringing astrology down-to-earth and making our experience with eating and cooking heavenly.
You can buy the book here: