Nowadays, few families spend time cooking and baking in the kitchen. Eating in restaurants and preparing convenience foods have become the norm. Books such as The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz reverses this trend. Children and young adults enchanted with the Harry Potter series will be encouraged to reproduce some of Harry’s magical creations in their kitchens. Connecting literacy with a hands-on experience in the culinary arts is a worthwhile use of family time.
Dinah’s fascination with Harry Potter and cooking led to the creation of this unique and innovative cookbook. After making a list of foods mentioned in the books, she enlisted the help of Chef Chris Koch. Working together, they created the recipes that corresponded with her list. Some Harry Potter fan favorites such as Butterbeer were not included in the cookbook due to copyright issues.
Since the selection of recipes was dependent on what was mentioned in the Harry Potter books, the recipes range from the simple to the complex. Due to the setting of the book, most conform to a British style of cooking. Dinah candidly stated in our interview that none of her taste testers lived in the United Kingdom. I defer to British food experts with regards to the recipes’ authenticity.
A relevant book excerpt introduces each recipe. The recipes provide all of the ingredients and easy to follow instructions. As mentioned before, the complexity of the recipes varies. Thus, some are more suited for adult supervision than others. Sidebars feature interesting tidbits of information and add to the charm of the book. Likewise, the crinkled edges and the interior design correspond with the essence of the Harry Potter series.
With more than 150 recipes, the cost of adding colored pictures would most likely have priced the book out of the intended market. Nevertheless, the lack of pictures causes most readers to wonder whether their version corresponds with the intended outcome. Pictures also help people visualize unfamiliar dishes.
Unlike most cookbooks that are organized into chapters that relate to specific food groups, this cookbook has chapters that correspond to different aspects of the Harry Potter series. For example, the first chapter is called “Good Food with Bad Relatives.” Dinah provides a brief explanation for each chapter that sets the tone for the recipes that follow. An index at the back of the book is a handy reference for anyone looking for a specific food or food category.
When I had school-aged children, I would have loved to have shared a similar book. It is a wonderful way to connect literacy with a hands-on and engaging activity. So much can be gained by experimenting with different foods. Learning the ins and outs of the cooking and baking process is a treasured skill that should be cherished. Thanks Dinah for providing such a wonderful family resource.
Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog by Sunday, July 6 will be eligible for a book giveaway. The author will send the randomly selected winner an autographed copy of the New York Times Best Seller- The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.