6 Foods People Used to Think Were Literally Magic

They’re like whatever antioxidants are now
6 Foods People Used to Think Were Literally Magic

Food is a pretty incredible thing. Living bodies able to mash up veggies or meat and turn them into energy thats used for physical activity (or at least, so Im told) is amazing when you think about it. Some specific foods even have medicinal properties, as anyone whos had fresh ginger forced on them during tummy trouble can tell you. Where the modern world outside of some morally bankrupt marketing stops is claiming any actual magical properties for such sustenance. In history, however, some foods did have fully paranormal qualities thrust upon them.

Here are six of these one-time literally magical foods…



From magic to Vlasic.

Now relegated mostly to deli staples like pickles and salmon, at one point, dill was given some powerful properties. In the Middle Ages, dill weed wasnt simply a schoolyard insult, but an herb capable of turning away witches from your property. A bundle hung in the doorway would prevent any unwanted witchy visitors, and even more weirdly, tucking it into your shoe was supposed to be good luck in court.



A figgy pudding contains great power.

Known mostly today for their presence in Newtons, figs, at least in America, arent even near the top of the pecking order when it comes to fruits. Around the world, and throughout history, this is a pretty massive fall from grace for what might be one of the most sacred fruits ever to emerge from the soil. For whatever reason, pretty much wherever they pop up, they got linked to gods. In particular, they were considered a gift from the god Bacchus. Nowhere, though, are figs and their trees more important than in Eastern religions, especially Hinduism. Gods live in the trees, and even the world tree in Hindu stories is a banyan fig tree.



The reason no vampire can enter a Carrabbas.

This one, especially after the unending rash of vampire-related content that media has pumped out in recent years, probably isnt a surprise to anyone. Garlic, in culinary use, is already delicious, and one of the key ingredients to sauté in order to garner a “smells good!” Magically, it’s famous for being capable, in almost any form, of repelling evil spirits, most famously vampires. This probably comes from Romania and its connection to repelling strigoi, the folkloric ancestors to modern vampires.

Fava Beans


My god, theyre terrifying!

Most peoples familiarity with fava beans is directly connected, with a nice chianti, to Hannibal Lecter. Strangely, that isnt the first time that fava beans have been connected to death either. Greeks, Romans and the Ancient Egyptians all considered the fava bean to be a symbol of death, with the philosopher Pythagoras being famously terrified of them. Its thought to be connected to their capability of causing deadly favism, which makes sense because there is nothing else about these little green guys that screams “mortality.”



They soak up diseases like gravy.

Some ancient medical treatments involving food or plants, examined in modern times, prove to be based in at least some level of fact. Like Egyptians chewing willow bark for pain, only for the same plant to later provide us with the basis for aspirin. One that has not: rheumatic potatoes. Rheumatism is a nasty, painful thing to pick up, so people were probably willing to try plenty of things for relief. One that somehow became popular in Victorian times: keeping a stolen potato in your pocket. They thought the potato would absorb the disease like some sort of more outlandish, arthritic Dorian Gray portrait.



A mummy lucky enough to end up in a museum instead of a Victorian health tonic.

Look, I dont consider corpses food, and hopefully neither do you. Regardless of this fact, bits and bobs off dead folk were regularly eaten as food for all sorts of medicinal and magical purposes. Ground up skull, Egyptian mummy, all of these were possible prescriptions as recently as the 17th century. Of course, a little magic sneaked into the mixture, with people considering blood to contain the soul of the dead and possibly their strength, too, with Romans drinking the blood of dead gladiators for this exact reason.

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