Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards by Corrine Kenner
Review by Diane Wilkes

If you are interested in purchasing this deck, click here.

I remember being utterly impressed with Corrine Kenner when I met her at the 1999 International Tarot Congress in Chicago. She had created a Major-Arcana collage tarot deck with her daughter in one day--and it was gorgeous and profound. I was truly awed. Plus, she had the coolest "Grandma Bag" she bought at Target--it had plastic photograph holders on the outside--and she used the slots to hold her daily tarot reading.

But perhaps her most creative idea of all was the charming tarot recipe deck she called "The Edible Tarot". This deck was not illustrated, but each card had the tarot card's name and associated recipe. After a cleverly written, short explanation of the association of the recipe to the card, the recipe followed. This deck came in a kitchen-themed cloth bag and was the talk of the conference. Stuart Kaplan was one of the recipients of the deck, and he was so delighted with it that he made plans to publish it.

The result is The Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards, the spiffiest and most well-designed tarot gift set I've ever seen. I was quite taken aback when I saw it for the first time. It comes in one of those sleek two-part cardboard  boxes that open from the top, the type you see in more traditional recipe card sets, where the bottom part holds the cards, sheathed by the top. The box artwork is particularly charming; the front is decorated with an illustration of the Universal Rider-Waite-Smith Magician. His wand, however, is a whisk, and placed snugly in his other hand is a large wooden spoon. The other side of the box depicts a sample card (The Sun's Sunflower-Seed Cookies).

Like Stuart Kaplan, I was also lucky enough to be a recipient of the Edible Tarot, so could compare the two sets. The majority of the recipes are the same, but there are about ten completely different recipes (for example, the High Priestess in the Edible Tarot was for a Pomegranate Orange; in the Epicurean, Pomegranate Jelly; the original recipe for Strength, Steak Tartare, has metamorphosed into Garlic Chicken). Some have also been renamed, but the deck is remarkably similar in content.

Not so in context. Each card is illustrated with its Universal Rider-Waite-Smith counterpart. The large sized cards are easy-to-read for the cook who has one eye on the chocolate sauce. These cards are physically a far cry from the black and white paper recipes that came in the (literally) homespun bags Kenner provided for the Edible Tarot. The 35 page booklet that comes with the Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards has also been expanded from the Edible version. There is now a paragraph interpretation that speaks to each card's meaning, as well as several food-oriented three card spreads, a "classic" version of the Celtic Cross, along with "The Cook's Cross," which is filled with clever food double entendres. There is also a listing of cooking and tarot resources, which leads to my one complaint with this deck: the URL for this site has been inactive for the past four years! The name itself has been inactive for over two years. But that's my only cavil about this deck, and it's a pretty minor (and personal) one at that.

Michele Jackson's review of the Edible Tarot (linked above) speaks eloquently to and lengthily of the cleverness of the food-card connections. I will merely add to her commentary that the recipes seem easy, as well as cleverly matched to the cards. One of my favorites is Justice's Torte (like "tort"--get it?). Just desserts, indeed.

Cards measure five by seven inches and are plastic-coated, like all the best recipe cards. After all, you don't want to stain your cards with The Tower's banana flambé sauce! The four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles) dot the four corners of the borders of the card backs, with pots, pans, and knives front and center. The backs are not reversible--but why should they be? You don't want to read the recipes upside down, even if you're making the Hanged Man's Upside Down Cake.

Trying to break it to your parents that you "do" tarot? This set is an ideal gift for relatives and/or friends as a completely non-threatening introduction to the tarot. I also recommend the Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards highly for any tarotists who have even a remote interest in cooking. I am planning to give this set to several friends this Chanukah/Yule/Christmas.

If you are interested in purchasing this deck, click here.

Card © 2001 US Games
Review © 2002 Diane Wilkes