Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

My birthday was this month, and my mother-in-law got me a copy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook as a birthday present.  

I wondered why she'd done it.  Although I'd enjoyed the Harry Potter novels, I rarely buy merchandising tie-ins of any book, and the Potterverse was not an exception for me.  

Upon reading the book, however, I found that, although it included some "recipes" intended to better tie the cookbook to the novels (like a "recipe" for "Crispy Fried Bacon" that tells you to "[h]eat a large skillet.  Add the bacon and fry on both sides until crisp."), most of the cookbook was dedicated to giving recipes for traditionally British food.  By "traditionally British food" I mean things like Yorkshire pudding, crumpets, Scotch broth, a Chiddingly Hotpot (a type of stew),  and mince pies.  

It's an interesting question who the author thought her audience would be.  The tone and language is geared to the 9-12 year old set, and the author makes a point of explaining things that most adults likely know (such as the terms "sunny-side-up," "over easy," and "over hard" for degrees of doneness of fried breakfast eggs).  On the other hand, a lot of the recipes, including various puddings, cakes, and candies, are quite complex and/or require special equipment, such as a candy thermometer, to get right.  

For my part, I'm not interested in making candy, cakes or pudding.  There are a few soup recipes in here (like the Scotch broth mentioned above) that I'll probably try.  To me, the value of the book lies in what it tells me about British cooking.  And what's that?  That British cooking is a lot like what I grew up with, except that it has a greater variety of starches. and a slightly different set of traditional sweets.  In light of all the nasty things said about British cooking, that's an interesting fact to know. 

No comments:

Post a Comment