06 November 2009

PCA Conference Paper Proposal

So, weeks after I had planned to I have finally put together my PCA national conference paper proposal. I am really excited to write this paper, as I have been increasingly interested in the connections between food and religion. I think as I talk about some of my other paper plans you all might see a trend...

Recipes and Rituals:
Food and Religion in Nora Roberts’s Three Sisters Island Trilogy

Many religions involve the use of food both on a symbolic level and on a practical level. After celebrating the Eucharistic meal, Catholics meet in the fellowship hall for coffee and doughnuts. The Passover Seder combines ritual and nourishment to create community with Jews from centuries ago. Baptists’ Wednesday night bible study follows a potluck supper. Wiccans record their Sabbat ritual spells along side family recipes in their Book of Shadows. Food is used in all these cases to both cement common beliefs and to establish and maintain community. These elements of a shared belief system and community are necessary elements for an emotionally satisfying and believable love story. The religious aspects in Nora Roberts’s Three Sisters Island Trilogy demonstrate food as an integral part of the foundations of community and belief. She also shows food to be just as essential to the relationships that develop over the course of the books.

Roberts sets the three love stories against a background of a struggle for good and evil. This timeless conflict is acted out in terms of three good hereditary witches facing progressively stronger evils, and the community of couples fighting evil forces comes together over food. In this paper I will look at how and why this group comes together over food. What is it about Modern Pagan Witchcraft that lends itself to the incorporation of food? What do these stories tell us about why people share food? I plan to explore the questions of how food factors into their struggle to win over evil and how it shapes the relationships that develop along the way.

What do you think, sound interesting?


  1. Sounds cool. :)

    An American Zen Master (Robert Aitken) said that when we are young, we are like the young prince Siddhartha, and we are the center of our own world. He added, "more precisely, our mouth is the center and everything enters therein."

  2. I think that food being at the center is key to so many of its significances in culture, and I don't think that it goes away with age or maturity, though an appreciation and understanding can develop.