Therapy Kitchen

Many moons ago I had an idea for a creative, intuitive, playful cookbook. And finally it’s here and in print – KITCHEN THERAPY how to become a conscious cook, published summer 2024 by Ortus Books.


It was twenty years ago, standing with my hand on the open fridge door planning the family supper, that I began thinking about leaving my job as a Drama Teacher, amid the curriculum changes that were disastrous for me and my neurodiverse students. Their creative abilities stunted by an outdated syllabus of dry text, unsuitable (in my opinion) for any secondary classroom but for my dyslexic students was a tragic waste. My own experience of school where I found myself struggling to focus and constantly in trouble trickled down my spine.

I knew then I needed a new career where I could be myself and be useful.

“Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own.” Marcus Aurelius


That evening as I looked hungrily in the fridge, I pictured a meal appearing which I remember felt delicious. As I followed the feeling of making a dinner with what one has to hand, I recalled playing cards with my wonderful Great Grandmother. Each hand you are dealt you must play as it is, and that is where the seasoning of fun, luck and creative resource ignite your potential.

An idea was simmering, for a creative cookbook that could show the reader how to cook with intuition and instinct. A plan was on the boil, perhaps a pack of playing cards? That became a set of recipes, each with a character who showed you how, when and why to cook them. The various salts and seeds of my personal and professional life combined into what would become Kitchen Therapy – how to become a conscious cook.


I drew on what I had learnt from teaching Drama: showing me how to practice physical theatre, personifying objects and allowing them to speak.

And the vital role of creative confidence and how to reach our unique potential.

The essence of love in each meal we make, however small or grand, formed the foundation of this project. By enjoying the process of putting imagination and practical play together in the kitchen, we create a recipe for life.


In the years that followed, I trained as a Psychotherapist, and the idea for the ‘cooking cure’ took shape and gave the creative cookbook a new dimension. My earlier studies in anthropology, my fascination with Carl Jung and depth psychology now fed into this cookbook Kitchen Therapy – how to become a conscious cook which you can delve into today.

It is a long and evolving story which I hope will come alive in your hands… BUY YOUR COPY HEREor email to buy direct.


""Contemporary ethno-anthropology tells us that, in contrast to our ape ancestors, sharing food is central to what makes us human: company, com panis, shared bread. In this original, honest, unputdownable and loveable book, Hastings shows how communal cooking is both physiology and symbol, history and present moment, life support and social bond, convention and creativity, pleasure and – with Klein, Bowlby and Winnicott in the wings - potentially novel form of therapy. Gnaw at it, enjoy it, try its recipes – satisfaction guaranteed.""

- Jeremy Holmes Hon Professor of psychological therapies, University of Exeter, UK

"“Charlotte Hastings boasts a very original mind indeed! In this truly unique publication, she integrates her expertise in the two seemingly disparate fields of psychotherapy and cooking with great creativity and optimism. I deeply recommend this extremely memorable book, based on a vast range of experience, to every single human being.”"

- Professor Brett Kahr is Senior Fellow at the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology in London and, also, Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at Regent’s University London. He is Honorary Director of Research at the Freud Museum London and the author of eighteen books on psychotherapy and psychoanalysis

""Kitchen Therapy brings a surprising, playful, and embodied new dimension to psychotherapy. Food -- its preparation and consumption -- is replete with ancient, communal meanings. What a wonderful pathway into psyche!""

- Lisa Marchiano, LCSW, NCPsyA Writer, Jungian Analyst, Podcaster

" 'Delightful and utterly engrossing.' Kitchen Therapy should appeal to a very wide readership. The domain of food becomes a place of enhancement where we can take time to reflect on what makes our world go round and why. Charlotte Hastings brings Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance into the kitchen but dispels all the gloom through her magical creations and her daughter's charming illustrations. You don't need to be a therapist or a cook to enjoy this book. This is nutrition for the soul."

- Andrew Marriott