The Great Kosmic Kitchen
*Images 1 & 4 by Karen Prosen
Every single feature on this blog has been about someone or something that has caught my eye, uplifted my spirit or stolen my heart. Recently, it happened all over again with Sarah & Summer, the duo behind The Great Kosmic Kitchen. These two herbalists teach us all how we can creatively incorporate the herbs into our food and why we benefit from all that plant magic.
I could already tell that I would enjoy Sarah & Summer’s latest project, The Kosmic Kitchen Book – ‘Be Radical Eat Traditional’. Their site and their book are filled with heart-felt stories, beautiful recipes & an honest look at how we can adopt herbalism even into the busiest of modern day lifestyles. It’s something we all could use a little bit more of in our lives – a connection to the living things around us.
Most of us already have healing herbs in our pantry or they could be growing wild in our backyards – it’s all about being aware of their existence and learning how to engage with it. True herbalism is about slowing down and getting in touch with the plant intelligence. Learning from the Kosmic Kitchen is a great way to start.
Q+A with Sarah Kate and Summer Ashley of The Great Kosmic Kitchen
Q: What is the Great Kosmic Kitchen?
A: The Great Kosmic Kitchen is a union of two friends who like to make magic together. More specifically, we educate about healing plants, traditional foods and plant-based rituals. You can often find us whipping up medicinal foods for retreats, doing meal planning consultations or educating through our blog or local workshops.
Our mission is to make herbalism more accessible to people, as we believe this knowledge is meant for everyone. Whether you're practicing simple kitchen remedies or working at a community level, the art (and science) of herbalism can easily be infused into every-day life.
Q: What inspired you to write the book and how did you go about writing it?
A: We have had our blog for about four years now, and we felt it was time for the recipes to jump off the internet and into physical form. There is something magical about having a cookbook, the way you turn the pages, save recipes for later -- it is just a different kind of thing. We thought it would further motivate our readers to cook medicinally, and that was truly reason enough.
Q: How can we use herbs to heal our bodies? How do we know which herbs to work with or how to navigate the world of herbalism?
A: Herbs work on so many different levels. You can use them "energetically" to treat the emotional states that are contributing to dis-ease, as we herbalists do with flower essences, and you can also use them just like any other form of medicine, by relying on their medicinal constituents to perform tasks in the body. Until one has a connection with the plants or a deep understanding of herbal medicines, we would suggest learning from an herbalist through a consultation, workshop, or book. While most plants are harmless, there are some that are toxic, or might be contraindicated with medications you are on.
If you are eager to get started now, a simple way to start is to pick one kitchen herb. Meditate with it, cook with it, research it and write down how it makes you feel. The late herbalist Dr. Christopher would say "It's better to know one herb well, than a smattering of many."
Q: What types of information are you sharing on your blog? What are you feeling called to talk about it right now with your community?
A: We've been wanting to share more information on how to make herbalism and traditional food preparations easy. Everyone seems to be pretty busy, so we've been creating posts and workshops that teach how to not suffer from overwhelm. Whether that's kitchen organization techniques, bulk recipes, or by using plants that actually can help with any stressful feelings that are popping up.
Q: What are some of the health guidelines that you live by?
A: Do something everyday. While this health mantra might seem simple, it is effective. In the past, we too have been fallen prisoners to guilt, wishing and hoping that we had done more. Instead of creating a monumental to-do list, we think about simple ways to incorporate herbs and whole foods into our plates.
Wellness is also about a healthy outlook on life, create simple do-able routines. Whether it is a long walk with the dog in the morning or making a quart of herbal tea to sip on throughout day, we try not to sell the "simple" things short. Once we get one routine down, then we can add in the next one.
Q: What are some of your favorite plants/herbs?
A: We adore adaptogens. By definition, adaptogens are plants that help your body adapt to stress. Usually they have an affinity toward a certain body system and can help to bring it back into balance. Adaptogens can strengthen function and therefore help the body resist to physiological stressors. There are plants (and fungi) like this all over the world; some adaptogens we love are ashwagandha, shatavari, astragalus and reishi mushrooms.
Q: What are some of your favorite books on herbalism?
A: Our favorite book is Rosemary Gladstar's classic book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. She is one of our teachers, and a huge mentor for us. She makes herbalism simple, fun and healing. She also remembers to thank the ancestors and the plants, who've carried this medicine to our generation. We also love Medicine Maker's Handbook, The Herbalist's Way, and anything by Matthew Wood.
Q: What do you think are the ingredients for a Super Life?
A: Love yourself passionately. Shamelessly indulge in self-care, everyday. Whether that means a massage, bath, or home cooked herbal meal. Be sure to treat yourself.
The Great Kosmic Kitchen is inspired by medicinal herbs, wild foods and ancient preparations. Summer and Sarah of The Great Kosmic Kitchen showcase the art of incorporating these practices into the modern meal. As herbalists and cooks their meals seek to nourish and balance the body while bringing you closer to your own internal guide. They believe eating is an act of self-care and hope to empower you to nourish yourself in the most loving way.
The duo often teaches at workshops and retreats in the San Fransisco Bay Area. You can easily whip up medicinal meals with their new cookbook Be Radical, Eat Traditional, or you can work with them to set up a personalized Herbal Meal Planning Program. Attend their rustic summer solstice retreat by applying here.