Real-Life ‘Ghost Whisperer’ Sees Dead People — and Recipes

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Heaven can wait…for a chocolate-chip cookie recipe, at least.

Mary Ann Winkowski, the “paranormal investigator” whose life and career inspired CBS’s The Ghost Whisperer, has released a cookbook of recipes that have been communicated to her over the years by spirits. Winkowski is a ghost hunter, not a medium; she can’t contact spirits who have “moved on,” but she can talk to them if they are still lingering on earth.  She is often employed to help relatives have a last conversation with a loved one who has recently passed.

(MORE: Calling the Clairvoyant Hotline)

In the introduction to Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook, Winkowski explains that eating is a social experience, and food defines many of our cherished memories.  She believes that some of the spirits she encounters have not yet moved on because they still have recipes to share:  “Perhaps there’s a recipe they didn’t intend to take to the grave…maybe they don’t like a relative’s cooking and are literally haunting them in the hopes of correcting the error.”

Her first food-driven encounter occurred when she visited a woman named Eleanor, who was fond of cooking nut rolls.  A ghost named Bess was attempting to encourage Eleanor to stop baking the nut rolls by misplacing her ingredients and trying to mess up her mojo in the kitchen.  (Something to think about the next time that pilot light mysteriously goes out!)  Apparently, Eleanor’s nut rolls were dreadful, so Bess communicated her own superior recipe to the ghost whisperer Winkowski, who passed it on.

As an added bonus, the ghosts who communicate with Winkowski are all health-conscious; she declares, “Nothing will ever beat a home-cooked meal for nutrition, value, and satisfaction – that’s one thing every spirit who has passed on a recipe from beyond agrees on.”  Apparently McDonald’s and Taco Bell are not popular hangouts among the supernatural crowd.  (Maybe no one told them the McRib is back?)

Whether you believe or not, the recipes themselves look appealing to those of us on earth, who still have use of our taste buds.  NewsFeed has to give Winkowski props for originality.  We’ve heard of passing recipes down through generations, but from beyond the grave?  Perhaps Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray should look into it as an untapped source of culinary inspiration.

MORE: Ghost Whisperer: I See a Dead Concept

Allison Berry is a contributor at TIME.  You can continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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