A few months ago, a cookbook appeared on my desk that (to put it lightly) gave me and my coworkers pause: Amanda Chantal Bacon's Moon Juice Cookbook. Don't let her last name fool you — there is no bacon of any kind involved here. As we examined the darkly whimsical cover (i.e. a pewter spoon suspended in space topped with a dollop of what appears to be "yoghurt" sprinkled with petite rose petals and fairy dust) and proceeded to flip through the glossy and complexly composed pages, our jaws dropped. What was this? A cookbook or a book of sorcery? Where was the food...What was the food?!
Once we made it through the introduction ("Becoming The Alchemist And Thriving Cosmically") and past the beginner's guide to "adaptogenic herbs," "raw foods," and other "alkalizing ingredients," we were struck square in the face with what can only be described as incomprehensibly-named recipes coupled with equally incomprehensible ingredients (e.g. colloidal silver). Making matters even more bizarre were the corresponding images. Picture this: A blue ostrich egg set over a candlelit and rock-filled glass contraption with a murky-speckled liquid seeping down the sides. And on the adjoining page? A recipe for "Hot Sex Milk."
From this moment forward, I knew that I must attempt (if only once) to live by Bacon's "cookbook" bible — because it is, after all, a food lifestyle that she and many others (hello, Gwyneth Paltrow) swear by. No matter how ridiculous it might seem to this Shake Shack, pizza, and (occasional) Taco Bell devotee, I needed to understand its cosmic pull. And although I knew I could never last an entire week, at least I could do one day. Right? So, I set out to spend my Sunday cooking straight and solely from the pages of Moon Juice. I assumed that it would be a magical journey. As it turns out, I assumed wrong.
I began with a confident guesstimate that 99.9% of the ingredients could not be found at my go-to market, Trader Joe's. And so I Googled "health food stores near me" and ventured forth with a very extensive and confounding grocery list for the day. Full disclosure: I barely made it through the first morning drink recipe before realizing that many of the ingredients (e.g. a thing called mucuna powder among others) were nowhere to be found. And since I did not possess the time or means for special ordering, I lowered my one day bar to a one recipe bar and pushed onward. I settled on one of the more visually provocative recipes in the cookbook, "Bliss Brain." The picture showcased a milky substance being dumped over a skull — so in other words, super appetizing.
The kind man at my local health food store did his best to help me locate all nine of the ingredients I required for blissing my brain — but I was unable to get my hands on two hard-to-pronounce powders that, naturally, did not have a single substitution. So, I was forced to depart with seven parts of my nine-part potion. The final kicker? Upon checkout the cashier alerted me that my astronomical total would be $51.86. Since my weekly grocery spend teeters between $20-$30 (breakfast, lunch, and dinner included), this $50+ for ONE drink registered as pretty fucking steep. But on I pushed.
At home I lit a candle (as I imagined Bacon and Paltrow would), readied my brewing station, and heated my nut milk with all the strange mushroom extract powders and ashwagandha included. My roommates, who passed through during the act, may or may not still be harboring some concern.
As troublesome, expensive, and mentally exhausting as this one drink was to conceive of and conjure up, the actual act of brewing it was pretty painless. And the final result? It tasted like a less rich and sweet version of hot chocolate — that also happened to cost me $51.86 and a handful of painful ingredient pronunciations. Did I feel blissed out after drinking it? Was I thriving cosmically? Who can say — I'm a pretty happy go lucky person as is (and nearly nothing can bliss me out more than a Shack Burger, shake, and fries). But what I can deduce is that an entire day of this cookbook alone could have easily cost me $200 plus. And an entire life? Fuhgeddaboudit. (*Note: This was my first time buying most of these products and they could easily have lasted me a couple more cups of Brain Bliss — so once you've stocked up on powders, you could cut down the priciness slightly and get a bit more milage out of your potions). I probably could have guessed this going in, but Moon Juice is clearly not for the average working-city-girl-on-a-budget. We're going to leave this one to the moon people (a.k.a. celebs and anyone else who doesn't need to be concerned about the potential cost of schisandra powder.)