Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Title: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Wizards and Non-Wizards Alike

Author: Dinah Bucholz

Format: Hardcover, 239 pages

Pub. Date: September 18th 2010

Source: Gifted from Emily & Lisa

Book Description via Goodreads:

Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.
A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid's hut.

Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.

With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart--Harry's favorite dessert, Molly's Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley's classic dish, Kreacher's French Onion Soup, Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entries, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magickal culinary masterpieces, sure make even Mrs. Weasley proud!



I love Harry Potter. I love food. I love the food from Harry Potter. Reading about treats like butterbeer and treacle tarts used to make me want to be a witch just so I could enjoy them. I thought this book and I would get along great. Unfortunately, this cookbook is mediocre at best.

I will first make the same complaint everyone else is making: there's no pictures. Not one. There's 150 recipes of delicious sounding things, and not a picture among them. It was pretty disappointing.

It starts with a nice introduction and has some helpful hints. I did like the way it was divided, which was by location. That way you could look specifically for food from Hogwarts or at the Weasleys'. The steps are numbered, and the recipes are peppered with hints and fun historical facts, as well as guides for making substitutions, which I appreciated. I also liked that each recipe came with a paragraph explaining which book and chapter the recipe was from, along with some context.

One thing that bugged me about this is that there's a stress on having both kid and adult versions of recipes like fruitcake. I don't understand why this is. The alcohol cooks out.... It isn't necessary to remove alcohol before serving it to minors. It's for flavor, not to get drunk. It's a cake.

I also really didn't appreciate that some of these recipes haven't even been tested by the author: and she admits it in the text. If you didn't want to make it, why the hell would I want to? In a similar vein, some of these recipes were kind of lazy. Bacon and eggs is two separate recipes in this book; one for bacon, and one for eggs.... Really? Also, one of the recipes point blank says that candied orange peel is impossible to find, so she just omitted it and used marmalade. First, this is a cookbook- make them yourself. Second, why would you admit that? Just don't put that note in at all, and no one would think twice about it.

And yet another thing that I have seen in a lot of reviews: there's no butterbeer. Not even a butterbeer inspired cake or anything. It's just gone. How can you overlook the most popular treat in the HP universe? No firewhiskey either, but that's splitting hairs.

Despite the copious amount of issues I had with this, there are still some dishes that I would really like to try. Some of them include Christmas Pudding Ice Cream, No Bake Chocolate-Bottom Pumpkin Tart, and Almond-Ginger-Peach Treacle Tart.

All in all, I'd recommend this for really, really new cooks and maybe kids. But as an adult, I don't really need recipes for a lot of these things. I'll hang on to it purely for the Harry Potter theme, but probably won't use it much.


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