Art + Design

Can’t Decide What to Eat? Let the Universe Decide For You

Are you constantly plagued by daily decisions of what to eat? Perhaps you should leave it up to the stars—at least that’s what Josh LaFayette, author of Food Fortunes, thinks. His playful take on tarot makes divining the sacred mysteries of “what’s for dinner tonight?” a snap. We chatted with Josh about the making of his wonderful, food-themed tarot cards, as well as explain how to use them. 

Q: Have you ever used traditional tarot cards? What inspired you to make a food version of tarot cards? 

A: Yes, I’ve had two tarot readings, and I found them really helpful! My partner Lou and I always get to mealtime and have the “I don’t know… what do you want to eat?” convo—and I don’t think we’re alone in this. I really wanted to create something that could help people decide what to eat. I also love old mystical imagery that’s seen in traditional tarot. I’m a little too goofy to pursue visual mysticism wholeheartedly, but playful drawings of food are definitely in my wheelhouse. All of this pointed me towards making a tarot deck that could pull meals out of the spirit realm!

Q: Which cards were your favorite to illustrate? 

A: Honestly, I loved drawing all of them—I did a lot of research for every card, so I was learning about the origins and etymology of certain foods and looking at tons of reference images. Also, I hid a lot of easter eggs in the cards—words in Arabic, Latin, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish, old hobo symbols, alchemical symbols, a drawing of my childhood home, and Lou’s name. I really had a lot of fun doing all of that! Now that it’s all said and done, my favorite cards are The Roll (sushi), The Chinese (Chinese takeout), and The Many Named (sub sandwich).

Food Fortunes

Q: If you had to pick a card to represent yourself, which one would you choose? Why? 

A: Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I’d say The Trio (BLT), because it has a lot of little symbols from different traditions and a 24-hour diner—one of my favorite places to eat.

The Trio

Q: What is the strangest meal dealt to you with these cards?

A: Chicken tikka masala, collard greens, and orange juice—I just decided to ignore that and draw again.

Q: What’s for dinner tonight?

A: That’s up to the cards! 😉

Now, perhaps the most important part—learning how to play. Here are the three documented ways to utilize the magical power of these cards.

1. The One-Course Wonder

Food Fortunes

The simplest of all methods. Shuffle the deck. Draw one card. Eat what is on the card. Did you draw The Sweet Holey One? Congrats–you’re having donuts for dinner. Did you draw a drink even though you’re starving? How does that make you feel? Dissatisfied? Draw another!

2. The Triple Decker

Food Fortunes

Slightly more complicated, this method is the most popular. Shuffle the deck. Draw three cards and lay them face up, side by side. The first card is negative and represents something you should not eat. The second and third cards signify the two items on which to build your meal.

Triple Decker

But remember to avoid that first ingredient at all costs, lest the gods smite thee. If the cards you drew do not make sense, go in the pantry, meditate for ten minutes and try again. If you need a mantra, try “food is good.”

3. The St. Peter Special

Food Fortunes

This method is intense, and is recommended only for the truest and purest of gourmands! Begin the same as method two, but this time, after drawing the third card, draw three more cards to be laid on either side of the middle card. These additional cards will help you to point the meal in a more specific direction.

St Peters Special

Sometimes the cards reveal a feast fit for royalty. Sometimes they deliver a confusing and disgusting smorgasbord. If the latter is the case, just remember: you don’t always have to do what the Universe says–it’s not your dad.

If none of these methods suit you, feel free to create your own rules. But be careful–with great power comes great potential for acid indigestion.

– – –

In the wise words of Lafayette himself, carry with you this blessing: May the chef always respect you, the server never neglect you, your napkin forever protect you, and the desserts always be buy one get one free. Check out Food Fortunes here and never face indecision around mealtimes again. 

Photos by Irene Kim Shepherd

Josh LaFayette

Josh is an independent commercial illustrator and considers himself lucky enough to work with Nike, Oscar Mayer, vitaminwater, Tumblr, Atlantic Records, and more. He earned a BFA in Graphic Design in 2008 and is currently pursuing an MFA in Illustration from the Hartford Art School Low Residency program at Hartford University.

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