The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media (and you should), you might have saw a photo I posted of my adorable pitbull mix Sarah snoozing with Skye Alexander’s latest book “The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies.” I asked if people were interested in a review and unsurprisingly, the general response was “yes.” This is because Sarah makes EVERYTHING look awesome, I’m sure. However, in taking a second glance at the text to start my review I realized that the author did an excellent job summing up her book in the introduction. Honestly, every time I started to write my review it kept reading like a rehash of her work. The kind people at Adams Media are allowing me to cut out the middle man, who in this case is me, and publish Alexander’s introduction here for you to read!

Introduction to The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander

When you hear the word “fairy,” what image comes to mind? A miniature girl with gossamer wings and a sparkly dress, a la Disney’s version of Tinker Bell? A benevolent creature who flits about sprinkling fairy dust everywhere, waving her wand to make children’s wishes come true? If so, you’re in for a surprise.

Like unicorns and mermaids, these magickal entities have been denatured by pop culture, robbed of their mystique and majesty. The fairies of old were nothing like the sugar-coated cartoon characters we envision today. They were powerful beings of a semi-divine nature, who may have descended from the gods and goddesses. According to some tales, they served as the prototypes from which the human race evolved. They possessed amazing, supernatural powers—they could fly, make themselves invisible, shapeshift into humans, animals, plants, or stones, and they lived forever. Some aided human beings, but many were mischievous or even malevolent.

The English word “fairy” may have come from the Latin fatum, meaning “fate,” as did the French derivative fée, the Italian fata, and the Portuguese fada. According to some legends, fairies controlled human destiny. They showed up at a baby’s birth to celebrate the new arrival, as the story of Sleeping Beauty tells us, and to determine the child’s future—which depended on how the parents treated the fairies.

Fairies could provide healing and protection from harm, but they could also inflict illness, shipwreck sailors, and cause soldiers to falter on the battlefield. They could bring riches, but they might also blight crops, destroy livestock, and steal children. As in the human world, the fairy realm has its good guys and its bad actors. Wiccans who follow the Wiccan Rede will not use their connections to fairies for harm; instead, they’ll finds ways to harness their powers for the good of all.

How to Use this Book

In this book, you’ll learn how to reconnect, through Wiccan practices, with these magickal beings who fascinated and frightened our ancestors. You’ll gain insight into their characteristics and behavior. You’ll find out where and how they live. You’ll discover ways to attract and interact safely with fairy helpers. In doing so, if the fairies are friendly, you can improve and enhance your Wiccan powers.

In Part One, I discuss the long-standing links between witches and fairies. Our ancestors believed witches and fairies shared numerous powers, including the ability to control the weather. According to some sources, the fairies taught witches their craft. I also talk about why the two groups can benefit from collaborating today and how working together can help not only us but the planet as well.

You’ll meet some of the best-known fairy families and learn about various types of fairies with whom you may want to do magick—and some you should avoid. Like people, some fairies are better suited to certain kinds of spellwork than others. For instance, leprechauns are solitary old guys and wouldn’t be much good at casting love spells— but they’re skilled in money matters and can help you prosper financially. Nature fairies, who care for the plant world, could be great allies for green witches. I also share some of the things I’ve discovered about where to look for fairies and how to entice them to partner with you, because they’re usually reluctant to deal with humans. Additionally, you’ll learn how to avoid offending the fae, who can be dangerous enemies if you get on the wrong side of them.

Part Two is an open grimoire of spells, rituals, and other activities you can do with the fairies. Each chapter focuses on a particular area of life, such as love, prosperity, protection, healing, and so on. I’ve included a chapter of magickal activities to engage in with the fae on each of the eight sabbats too. Some of these practices will be familiar to you—if you’ve been following the witch’s way for any length of time, you’ve surely used candles, herbs, and gemstones in your work. Performing them with fairies, however, will add a new dimension. Other techniques, such as shapeshifting and shamanic journeying, may be new to you—especially if you’re visiting fairyland for the first time. At the beginning of each chapter, I suggest certain types of fairies that I think might be the most willing and able to assist you in your spellcraft.

At the end of the book is an Appendix that I hope you’ll find helpful and easy to use. This isn’t intended to be all-inclusive—it’s not an encyclopedia—but it can serve as quick reference guide when you’re deciding what to factor into your spells.

Working with the fae and integrating them into your Wiccan practices can be a rewarding experience that brings added depth and breadth to your magickal endeavors. It will enrich your self-knowledge and power. Allying yourself with fairies will also increase your appreciation for the natural world, other worlds, and for all beings who inhabit the physical and nonphysical realms. If you feel drawn to follow this path, you’ll be rewarded on your journey. But proceed with care.

Blessed Be.

About Skye Alexander:
Skye Alexander is the award-winning author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books, including “Your Goddess Year”, “The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need”, “The Modern Guide to Witchcraft”, “The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book”, “The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire”, “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot”, and “The Modern Witchcraft Book of Love Spells”. Her stories have been published in anthologies internationally, and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The Discovery Channel featured her in the TV special, Secret Stonehenge, doing a ritual at Stonehenge. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts.

Excerpted from The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Fairies by Skye Alexander. Copyright © 2021 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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Anatomy of a Witch

Laura Tempest Zakroff set out to write a “manual to the most magical tool in your possession,” and in this, she succeeded. What is this amazing tool? Your body. Welcome to “Anatomy of a Witch: A Map to the Magical Body.”

Zakroff utilizes all the tools at her disposal: tarot, meditation, journaling, ritual, her artistic talent (including her noteworthy sigil work) and writing skills to take you on a journey through your body. “Anatomy of a Witch” begins with lungs, moves to the heart, discusses the body’s primal part (referred to as the Serpent), moves on to the bones, and concludes with the mind. The end goal is to have a better relationship with yourself and your magic.

“Anatomy of a Witch” is a triumph of blending magical modalities and self-improvement. Essentially, if you have a body (even one as dysfunctional as mine!), you need this book. I feel this is destined to be a classic!

You can learn more here.

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How Witchcraft Saved My Life

I just didn’t know what to expect from “How Witchcraft Saved My Life: Practical Advice for Transformative Magick” by Vincent Higginbotham. The title has a “very special episode of Donahue” kind of vibe to it. And truth be told, it’s hard to determine exactly what I read and how to write a review.

Higginbotham has written an incredibly frank memoir of his past struggles with homelessness, understanding his sexuality, and journey to witchcraft. “How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is a brave work and not for the faint of heart. Woven throughout this memoir are the signs and synchronicities that in retrospect showed Higginbotham the magic that had been in his life all along.

What you’ll also find in “How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is some incredibly practical, realistic, advice on how to practice witchcraft and incorporate it into your everyday life. Seriously, his approach to witchcraft, paired with his writing voice, makes Higginbotham an accessible teacher of his style of witchcraft.

“How Witchcraft Saved My Life” is a testament to Vincent Higginbotham’s perseverance and the witchcraft that he credits for it.

You can learn more here.

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The Path of the Witch

When someone decides to study witchcraft, it can be a bit daunting. A practice that has ebbed and flowed based on the times is currently on an upswing and access to information on the subject is more plentiful than ever. On one hand, now is a great time to take up study, on the other, I don’t envy the newcomer attempting to discern where to start. Author Lidia Pradas does a great job trying to help seekers out with her latest book “The Path of the Witch: Rituals & Practices for Discovering Which Witch You Are.”

Pradas takes up the challenge of describing the similarities and differences between several different paths of witchcraft. Are you a green witch, kitchen witch, Wiccan, cosmic witch, elemental witch, sea witch, eclectic, or something else or combination? Pradas takes care to ensure eclectic witches don’t fall into the trap of cultural appropriation, an important issue. She is respectful in explaining the fundamentals of different branches of the witchcraft tree. Not only is this helpful for beginners, but I found it a wonderful was to reevaluate and reconsider my own current practice.

“The Path of the Witch” by Lidia Pradas is a great resource for anyone interested in the many ways you can approach the practice of witchcraft.

You can learn more here.

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Life Ritualized

The book we’re discussing today is “Life Ritualized: A Witch’s Guide to Honoring Life’s Important Moments” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven. If the name Gwion Raven sounds familiar, you might remember me reviewing his excellent book “The Magick of Food”. With “Life Ritualized” he and his spouse, accomplished author Phoenix LeFae, tackle many of life’s most complex experiences.

What is a milestone? There are obvious ones in American society, like birthdays, being legally allowed to drink, getting your drivers license, etc. However, LaFae and Raven explore the true complex nature of our lives and acknowledge that many things happen, big and small, and happy or sad, that mark our passage through life. It is simple to find books featuring rituals for marriage and birth. “Life Ritualized” posits that rituals can not only make the good times better and more meaningful but can also provide solace and comfort in bad times. They cover about any life event you can think of, such as: fertility, adoption, birth blessings, miscarriage, abortion, graduation, new driver, new car, new job, new home, handfasting, retirement, grief, loss of job, menopause, pet burial, self-initiation, and more.

I’m obviously impressed by how thorough this book is in examining the human experience. Raven and LeFae share intimate moments from their own lives to illustrate times when you may want to use these rituals. What I appreciated the most is that although “Life Ritualized” is a “Witch’s Guide”, most of the rituals are appropriate for any open-minded, nondenominational group or individual.

If you’re interested in adding ritual, or more ritual, to your life, I highly recommend “Life Ritualized” by Phoenix LeFae and Gwion Raven’

You can learn more here.

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Entering Hekate’s Garden

There is a lot to unpack in Cyndi Brannen’s book, “Entering Hekate’s Garden: The Magick, Medicine & Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft.” Hekate and her children, pharmakeia, pharmakoi, and more abound in this lyrically beautiful, yet imminently practical text. Ready to dive in?

If you read this website, you’re probably already familiar with Hekate, but just in case, Hekate is the Greek goddess best known for magic, witchcraft, and plant knowledge. Brannen draws on Hekate’s history with magic and plants to update the practice of pharmakeia, plant spirit witchcraft and educating others on pharmakoi, master plant spirits.

Brannen deftly shows all the ways to incorporate plants into every facet of your practices, ranging from incense to servitors and tarot to tea. “Entering Hekate’s Garden” does what quality books of its kind should, inspire to start experimenting with what is found within it. Whether you’re seeking the goddess, or looking for inspiring ways to work with plants, “Entering Hekate’s Garden” by Cyndi Brannen will be a satisfying read.

You can learn more here.

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Devil’s Margarita

As you might remember, over the course of last year I read and reviewed several books about magic in cooking and drinking. 3 of my favorite things, food, booze, and magic! A while back I stumbled across a cocktail recipe on Liquor.com that sounded good and had a very cool name, Devil’s Margarita. I thought, why not try it out and apply a little of what I learned from all those books to find deeper meaning.

So, what goes into a Devil’s Margarita?

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce red wine
Garnish: lime wheel

Steps
Add the tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Float the red wine on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon so it pools on the surface of the drink.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

This is delicious, and obviously super bad ass in appearance. That alone is enough reason to try it yourself, but how about we apply what we’ve learned from all those books to justify drinking it even more?

Tequila, which SO MANY people like to bitch about and avoid, is thought to have protection, banishing, and purification properties. Everyone quit being such stinkers when it comes to tequila! Lime is associated with friendship, luck, hex breaking, and act as an anti-depressant. Wine provides inspiration, prosperity, and love.

If you enjoy cocktails, I suggest checking out Liquor.com.

And if you want to have a whole lot of fun, I’d suggest any and all of these titles:

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Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule

You might remember that I really loved Jason Mankey’s book “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”. If not, I loved it. I made sure to keep an eye out for what would be published from him next. When it turned out to be “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule”, I reached out to Llewellyn for a copy, even though I expected it to just be a repacking of the Yule stuff from “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”. I was wrong.

Considering how great “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” was, I should have known that Mankey wouldn’t just phone it in for “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule”. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer abundance of enthusiasm Mankey for all things winter holiday. Normally I don’t look at reviews or ratings for books I plan on reviewing, but I couldn’t help but notice that many readers were disappointed in the lack of laser focus on Yule. I suppose it’s a fair criticism, considering the title is “Llewellyn’s Little Book of YULE”, however, what some found a weakness I found a strength. Just like in “Witch’s Wheel of the Year”, Mankey is effortlessly inclusive, working to make sure all holidays from right after American Thanksgiving through the New Year. In a world of overlapping religions and traditions, “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule” does an excellent job guiding you in ways to incorporate as many, or as few, observances as you wish.

Honestly, don’t go into the holiday season without “Llewellyn’s Little Book of Yule” by Jason Mankey.

You can learn more here.

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Witchcraft Cocktails

If you have read the website for any time at all, or follow me on social media, you know that I am a lady that loves to eat and drink. I love it even more when my website enables my vice! Entering from stage right is, “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. That is right, witchy shit meets booze. I am here for it.

“Witchcraft Cocktails” is a beautiful blend of bartending and witchcraft. Hadas does an excellent job giving the reader bartending 101. She provides an overview of spirits, bar tools, and techniques. You can become a competent home bartender with everything provided. This is followed with a nice witchcraft overview. It is hard to take such a vast and diverse topic such as witchcraft and boil it down to a manageable introduction. Hadas does an admirable job of covering basics enough to provide the reader with the knowledge they need to get the most of out of the cocktail recipes provided.

Since we are dealing with witches, the cocktail recipes that follow are divided up by season. They range from new versions of classics and some original recipes. I drink a lot of cocktails, but I am not an expert! But let’s answer the question you all have; did I make a drink out of the book? Of course!

Although an enthusiastic consumer of food and drink, I’m also lazy. So, I chose a cocktail that merely required some juice purchases, the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise. And while on the topic of laziness, “Witchcraft Cocktails” has a recipe to make your own grenadine, which I skipped and used my store bought. According to Hadas, “Blending the rejuvenating agave plant spirit of tequila, the brightness of lemon, and fresh, smile-inducing orange, this cocktail will put a pep in your step.” (Just remember with tequila, you may first have a pep in your step, but if you over imbibe it will put you down.) This recipe evokes the energies of youth, creativity, and purification. Each recipe includes a way to amp up its effectiveness. In the case of the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise she suggests having citrine in hand while enjoying the cocktail. (Believe it or not, this crystal lover does not own any citrine.)

Full disclosure, I did not feel rejuvenated after drinking this. However, I did not use one lick of fresh juice in it, and it was still DELICIOUS. What is nice about “Witchcraft Cocktails” is that a drink can be as simple (me!) or complex as you want to make it.

If you are a practitioner of witchcraft that enjoys the occasional cocktail, or a cocktail drinker looking for a new perspective, “Witchcraft Cocktails” by Julia Halina Hadas is for you!

You can learn more here.

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10 Questions with Sandra Kynes & Giveaway

Today we’re talking with Sandra Kynes, author of “Herbal Remedies for Beginners” and many other wonderful books. We discuss herbs, research methodology, and more!

1. With this being such a tumultuous time, how are you doing?

Thank you for asking. My family and I are doing well. Of course, big servings of ice cream always help. It’s been a time of major changes in my life. Just before the pandemic I became semi-retired from my day job (yay, more time for writing!), sold my house in Portland, Maine, and moved north. It’s been very strange to be in a new place and not able to go out and meet people, not even my nearest neighbor who is about a quarter mile down the road.

Any way, I moved out of the city to the country. In England I lived in the countryside, but it was much more tame. Here in Maine we have all kinds of wildlife nearby including moose, bears, and coyotes. They’re known informally as coywolves since they’re a cross between coyote and gray wolf; they’re very wolf-like and beautiful. Although we hear them in the woods frequently I’m glad I haven’t met one face to face. I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors; it’s very inspirational to be living so close to nature.

2. At this point, you have written 17 books for Llewellyn. How did it all start?

Oh gosh, I think I always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid I would write and put together little books and when I was a teenager I wrote a lot of poetry. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s when I started having articles published. I submitted short pieces to Llewellyn for various almanacs and calendars and then eventually sent in the manuscript for a book. They turned down the first one, but I persisted, revamped it and they liked it. There was no turning back because the muse was unleashed.

3. Ever since I read your book “Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences”, which released in 2013, I’ve been obsessed with figuring out how you take ALL that information and organize it, and then put it into a book. Any chance you can give us a glimpse of your process?

I must have been a librarian in a past life; I like organizing things. I think it’s just a skill. Some people are skilled carpenters and I would love to be able to build things, but I’m a complete klutz in that department. My process for writing, once I have an idea (or rather my muse decides what I’m going to work on) I start with a rough outline to get an idea of how it will flow. And then I dive into the research. I really enjoy that part of the process because sometimes it can be like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Sometimes you come up with differing information and have to keep digging to figure out what’s what. Occasionally a lead can take me down a rabbit hole and a dead end, but it’s all part of the process. I also like working on projects where I’m learning new things; it keeps life more interesting. I take tons of notes and that’s where organization comes in because it can be easy to get lost. I get annoyed when I can’t find something.

4. Your latest book is “Herbal Remedies for Beginners”, but you also wrote “Plant Magic”, “Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Essential Oils”, “Mixing Essential Oils for Magic”, and “Herb Gardener’s Essential Guide”. Is it safe to say that plants play a large role in your life? And if so, how?

Yes, and actually my first plant book was “Whispers from the Woods”. Yeah, plants have become a focus although I like to veer off now and then because there are so many interesting things to explore like birds and how they relate to the Goddess. My book “Bird Magic” is very dear to my heart.

The green world speaks to me and touches my soul, but I think that’s true for most people whether they realize it or not; being in nature is a spiritual experience. Nowadays it’s so important to be aware of the issues we’re facing as a planet and to do all that we can, no matter how small it may seem, to turn things around. In addition to connecting us with the natural world, plants provide a connection with the past. We have several millennia worth of information on how people have used plants. Even in my lifetime, witnessing what my grandmother did; her gardening, preserving, and using plants gives me a connection with her and all my ancestors. Plants can also connect us with the future, if we are mindful and good stewards.

5. How is “Herbal Remedies for Beginners” different from your other plant topic books?

This is one of my three mainstream, non-magical books, but it’s different in that it required a lot of medical research. I didn’t want to just say use this recipe or herb for this ailment, I wanted to provide explanations on what to look for and how it may differ from similar issues. I tried to keep in mind what information I wanted at my fingertips when I was first learning about herbal remedies. I wanted to put together a “best of” book to provide an introduction and foundation for making remedies and working with herbs that would also serve as a comprehensive reference. Although I prefer writing magical books, when my editors ask if I’m interested in doing something different I view it as a fun challenge.

6. How do you use herbs in your daily life?

I use the plants themselves and essential oils. I use them for cooking, cleaning, scenting my house; and of course, in magic and ritual. Also, growing herbs and other plants provides aesthetics and a connection with nature and magic. Working with or growing plants that my grandmother used brings back good memories.

7. What advice would you give someone just starting out working with herbs?

Don’t get overwhelmed. While it may seem as though there is so much to learn, don’t feel daunted because you don’t need to know everything all at once. Working with herbs is a journey, not a destination. An important point is to read precautions and warnings because herbs are powerful and need to be used with safety in mind.

You can start with one of your favorite herbs and learn its uses. Or, you can start with an ailment and learn which herbs can be used to treat it. As you go along, you will learn what you need to know for you and your family because you will be able to tailor remedies, personal care products, etc. to your specific needs and preferences. And you don’t have to remember everything, refer to books and keep notes. Most of all have fun.

8. I have repeatedly tried to grow my own herbs indoors in pots, and the poor plants die horrible deaths. In your experience, what are the best herbs for indoor growing, and any tips for those of us who continue to kill them?

First of all, don’t get discouraged. I managed to murder a pot of thyme this summer that I wanted to grow in the house for winter. Just like an outdoor garden, you need to assess the locations you have so you can choose the right herbs to grow indoors. Avoid windowsills that are above radiators as plants will dry out quickly and won’t do well with the fluctuating temperatures in the winter. Many indoor herbs that require a lot of sun will also need some shade. Instead of a windowsill, put them on a table near a window where they can get direct sun as well as some shade. An advantage of potted plants is that they can be moved to different windows to follow the sun throughout the year. Some herbs that work well indoors are basil, thyme, chives, oregano, and rosemary. Experiment.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to share with our readers?

When “Whispers from the Woods” went out of print, my editors asked if I would like to do a re-vamp of it that focused on magic. Of course I said “yes”. While I adapted some material from “Whispers from the Woods”, I did a lot more than re-vamp it. The entire section of tree profiles has been completely re-researched, rewritten, and expanded. “Tree Magic” will be out in June 2021. I have another project that my editors don’t know about yet so I have to keep that a secret for now. All I can say is my new surroundings have had a major and magical impact on me.

10. Parting shot! Ask us at The Magical Buffet any one question.

What is your favorite herb or other type of plant and why? Oops, that’s a double question; can it count as one?

I love rosemary! Many a poor rosemary plant has passed away due to my good intentions of having all the rosemary, all the time. It smells good and makes everything taste delicious. Since I can’t get rosemary from my own garden, I’m a big fan of Cucina Aurora’s rosemary olive oil. It’s made with love, and magic, and rosemary.

About Sandra Kynes:
Sandra is a writer who likes to develop creative ways to explore the world and integrate them with her spiritual path and everyday life. Her unique views and methods form the basis of her books. Her writing has been featured in a number of Llewellyn almanacs, “Sage Woman”, “The Magical Times”, “The Portal”, and “Circle magazines”, and “The World Ocean Journal”. Her work has also appeared online at Utne Reader and she was a contributor to The Meaning of Life at Excellence Reporter.

Sandra has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now Mid-coast Maine where she lives with her family and cats in an 1850’s farmhouse surrounded by meadows and woods. She loves connecting with nature through gardening, hiking, bird watching, and kayaking. She can be found online on Facebook, her Plant Magic blog on PaganSquare, and www.kynes.net.

Guess what?!? Sandra Kynes was kind enough to give us a signed copy of “Herbal Remedies for Beginners” for me to give away to a reader! The contest is open internationally to entrants 18 years and older. The giveaway ends on Friday 08/21/2020 at 11:59 pm eastern.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet