Food for [Tarot] Thought: Food Fortunes

Deck used: Food Fortunes (Josh Lafayette, Chronicle Books)

Deck used: Food Fortunes (Josh Lafayette, Chronicle Books)

When this oracle deck started making the internet rounds, I knew it was exactly the kind of oracle deck I'd be into. If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know that I like to stay away from anything too cheesy and sentimental—I prefer my decks contemporary, cheeky, and as the name of this website goes—practical. Food Fortunes ticks all those boxes… and some may argue that cards depicting different types of food isn't exactly a "practical" choice for an oracle deck. That's a fair point, but I'm a firm believer that we can derive meaning from anything, as long as we're on the hunt for it. I mean, nearly everyone can relate to an ice cream cone or a pepperoni pizza, right?

Food Fortunes, with its bright yellow box and quirky cartoon illustrations reminds me of The Simpsons and New York City, with all its melting pot restaurants and the endless takeaway options it offers. I've actually brought this deck to pair with the Sakki Sakki Tarot during a tarot party and it worked pretty well. Everyone looked forward to what food they would draw from the deck!

The deck comes with a well-produced guidebook that helps you identify all the food illustrated. Each item isn't actually named… like a Friends episode ("The One Where…"), it's baptized with a witty monicker. When I first got the deck, I flipped through the cards and made it an exercise to try and figure out what was what given the illustration and the name. There are a lot of pop culture references here: French Fries are called "The Forever Golden" as an homage to the golden arches, the Hoagie, which I recognize thanks to The Cosby Show being one of my faves as a kid is touted as "The Many Named," because it's essentially also a sub, a hero, a sandwich, and whatever else you'd like to name it.

The guidebook doesn't really offer any definitions because this isn't actually a serious tarot deck, but some fun spreads are listed to help you piece together your Food Fortune (or your perfect / imperfect meal). 

Despite Food Fortunes not being an actual tarot deck, it does follow the structure of the tarot. You've got your Majors or Trumps, which encompass the heavy hitters (pizza, cheese, chips… it's all the junk that pops out at me at the moment…). The Minors are divided neatly into four sub-groups: Sides, Sweets, Mains and Drinks. Now, you could attempt to associate each group with an element (air, water, fire, earth) but I think that borders on overthinking what's supposed to be a fun, party trick kind of deck. That said, it's fun to spot correspondences and intersections with the  actual tarot—Food Fortunes' Trump #14, for example, is The Golden (an apple) which could have worked out even better if it had taken spot #15 / The Devil instead.

If you're wondering how we can actually come up with tarot / oracle-esque meanings from these cards, allow me to show you how I would do a simple three card spread with these cards above. The Steak, Side Salad, Fresh Milk combo can be an indication that you're a traditionalist (it looks like a 1960's home cooked dinner, doesn't it?). It can also tell you that you've got a pretty good and healthy balance going on in your life—you've got the main food groups covered and aren't subjecting yourself to the pitfalls that dessert can bring. This Food Fortunes combination can also mean you're in need of strength—isn't this a meal that would go perfectly with someone weight training? Perhaps you're going to need to dip into a well of metaphorical muscle to enforce significant change in your life. 

Like I said, you can derive meaning from anything if you're willing to seek it! All in all this is a deck for someone who just wants to have fun. Food Fortunes makes a great gift for a friend who loves getting tarot readings from you but doesn't really want to learn the system, it's also a handy icebreaker for parties where you want to bust out your tarot deck and do some free readings, but aren't sure if the people around you will be receptive. Whether this could be a gateway drug to tarot and oracle is questionable to me, but that doesn't matter because it's all fun.

The Food Fortunes box says that the deck answers the ancient mystery of "what's for dinner tonight?" and I don't know about you, but I constantly have to deal with that question, whether I'm sending for takeaway, eating out with a bunch of friends, or trying to come up with something to bring to a potluck party. Anything that combines a bit of the mundane with the magical is fun for me, and that's why this deck is a winner.