Monday, August 01, 2011

Cauldron Cookery: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

"Curye, later known as Cookery, combines elements of potions with transformations and a bit of herbology and divination."

If reading the Harry Potter books gives you the muggle munchies, brewing up a cuppa tea and gets you prowling your pantry for a crumpet or a cauldron cake, search no more.

Dinah Bucholz's The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards (AdamsMedia) has the sorcerer's snacks and magical menu to meet your noshing needs. Although this volume is pointedly "unofficial," Bucholz clearly knows her Rowling.

Based solidly on the best of British regional cookery (Scots, Welsh, and English), this delightfully designed book quells any fearful imaginings which the thoughts of juicing pumpkins may have engendered. Although some of the included recipes are fairly complex in ingredients, the author offers readily available substitutions available all over the English-speaking world. For example, as the main component of Harry's fave dessert, treacle tart, she suggest light molasses or golden corn syrup, and points out that this English sweet is the godmother of America's pecan pie, with homely breadcrumbs--that staple of English cuisine--instead of nutmeats.

Even Aunt Petunia , whom Bucholz declares "no slouch around the cauldron," gets some of her muggle specialties included, along with such breakfast familiars as eggs and gammon--fried eggs cooked with two rashers (strips) of bacon. The reasonably simple but flashy Knickerbocker glory (layered custard, Jello, fruits, and whipped cream) and English Christmas trifle are included, along with the curiously titled "spotted Dick," a steamed pudding which gets its name from the raisins and/or currants which dot its surface.

English standards, such as beef or lamb Guinness stew (a la Weasley), (with non-alcoholic Coke standing in for youngsters), breakfast kippers, and steak and kidney pie, have their place, along with the expected pumpkin pastries and homemade marshmallows, substituting gelatin for the mallow plant's original contribution. The citations to passages in the seven Potter books add extra spice to a solid cookbook that would do Nigella Lawson, the cookery queen of Britain, proud!

With deckled page-edgings and suitably antiquated fonts, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards is one that even non-Potter devotees could find a bit transforming and will give muggle fans more than a little magic around their own cauldrons.

Pair this one with Jessica Fox's The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book: From Monster Books to Potions Class!: Crafts, Games, and Treats for the Ultimate Harry Potter Party for the ghostly hostess with the mostess for a fantastic Potter party.

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