Photographs ©Meadow Linn

A blog filled with kitchen magic for those who want to get a jumpstart on their Mystic Chef apprenticeship before the October 23, 2012 release of
"The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food" by Denise and Meadow Linn
Photographs ©Meadow Linn

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Travel the World from Your Dining Table

Anyone can toss vegetables to make a salad or put meat between bread to make a sandwich, but when a Mystic Chef does so, magic abounds. A Mystic Chef creates mouthwatering meals, but also harnesses the secret alchemy of food to make mealtimes a transformative experience.

Tapping into the ancient wisdom of your inner Mystic Chef need not be complicated, expensive, or time-consuming. The following activity takes only a few minutes, but the memories can last a lifetime.


Perhaps it’s been cold and foggy, rain has been pounding down endlessly, or the frozen landscape is beginning to make you feel frozen inside. Believe it or not, without ever leaving home, you can escape the winter doldrums and travel in your mind’s eye to far off lands to awaken your spirit and kindle your fantasies. 

Overlooking the Mediterranean
Are you dreaming of bright blue skies and azure water? Why not make a scrumptious meal and escape to the Riviera for the afternoon! Serve foods that would typically be eaten in the South of France, decorate the table to look like a beachside cafe, and play music that reminds you of street performers or other sounds you might hear on the Azure Coast.

To deepen the experience, take yourself on a guided meditation beforehand. Or, if you have dining companions, consider using your words to paint the scene for them. Take time to allow all of your senses to luxuriate in what it’s like to be on the French Riviera. How does it feel, smell, look, sound, and taste? As a suggestion, don’t just imagine yourself there, truly feel it.

You can do this for any meal, any type of cuisine, or anytime you want to travel across oceans or even through time.

A colorful window in a seaside village
Here’s an example inner journey:

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Imagine you’re sitting on the terrace of a café overlooking the ocean. The beach is made up of a vast stretch of golden pebbles, warm and smooth from the rolling waves and intense southern sun. You see children frolicking in the surf and you hear mamas cautioning them. In the distance you see blindingly white chalk cliffs that plunge into the sea and small sailboats bouncing up and down on the gentle undulations of the azure water. Mimosa blossoms perfume the salty air and your fingers are cool and pink from grasping a chilled glass of effervescent mineral water.

Everywhere you look, your hungry eyes are fed by the bright colors. Striped awnings, bright blue sea, and flowers of all hues in a nearby flower stall are a feast for your eyes. You see young couples strolling hand in hand while sharing ice cream cones. You hear the lapping of the waves, the drone of cicadas, and the lulling rhythm of accordion music. You feel a gentle breeze on your cheek and the swollen roundness of a salty olive in your mouth. The heady scent of garlic and basil mixed with the warm air is intoxicating. Gingerly you bring your aromatic sandwich to your lips, and your taste buds are suddenly awakened…

The harbor in St. Tropez
By taking the time to travel in your mind and experience your surroundings, you give your meal context and create a moment that has the ability to both transport and transform. As a result, your food will taste more vibrant, and you’ll find that you feel more calm and relaxed, as though you’ve actually been on vacation to a seaside town in the South of France. The ability to create not just good meals but total body experiences is one of the little-known tricks in the Mystic Chef’s arsenal of magical tools.

Pan Bagnat

To further the experience, consider eating pan bagnat. This sandwich is a specialty of the South of France. The name is derived from the Provençal language and means, “bathed bread,” because it’s bathed in fragrant olive oil and herbs.

Makes 2 large sandwiches
or 4 small sandwiches

2 to 4 Viennoise rolls (softer and richer baguette), ciabatta rolls, or gluten-free hamburger buns
2 or 3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 or 2 small tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
1 5-oz. can of tuna, drained
lettuce, such as bibb, butter, or arugula

Makes 1 cup

½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Make the vinaigrette first to allow the flavors to marry while you assemble the ingredients for the sandwich.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, and basil. Mix in the vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil, and set aside.

To make the sandwiches, layer the lettuce, eggs, tomatoes, olives, and tuna on the bread, and then generously drizzle with the vinaigrette. If you have extra dressing, toss it with greens and serve it as a side salad. Bon appétit! 

On a Viennoise roll
On a gluten-free hamburger bun


  1. Love this! The colors, sense of wonderment and the beauty of the flavors! Pure inspiration for outside and inner comfort and strength! Beautiful! Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Cindy! I hope you're enjoying a glorious day!

  2. Delightfully, magically, delicious!! I am hungry for your Pan Bagnat, I want to eat one RIGHT NOW!! Lily Sheen of Spirit Wolf Healing <3

    1. Thank you so much, Lily! Mmm...pan bagnat! Just the thought transports me to the South of France.

  3. It's rainy, damp and grey here on the West Coast of Canada...this post was like a ray of sunshine at the end of my the recipe will definitely be making it this week...tks.

  4. The burger looks so appetizing. It looks very healthy. Thanks for the new recipes

  5. It looks amazing Meadow. Totally transported me to sunny France which is a welcome place as I watch the snow falling!

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