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Cookbook Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Updated on March 21, 2011

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

I am a Harry Potter fanatic.  I love all things Harry Potter - the books, the movies, books about HP, and I collect anything I can find from bookmarks to blankets to games and other memorabilia.  In December 2010, I discovered the Harry Potter Cookbook on the official HP Facebook fan page.  I found it on Amazon.com and posted the link on my Facebook, saying that it was at the top of my wish list.  By that night, my sister-in-law had ordered it for me, and it arrived just in time for my birthday.

The Official Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
The Official Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

My first impression of the book was that it was beautiful - purple hardcover, with gold script and embellishments on the cover.  The pages are thick, and look old fashioned, with rough edges, putting me in mind of a spell book that you might find in Diagon Alley or within the cupboards of a Hogwarts classroom.

The book starts with a forward written by George Beahm, author of Fact, Fiction and Folklore in Harry Potter's World and Muggles and Magic, then continues with an introduction and helpful hints from the author of the cookbook, Dinah Bucholz.  To give you an idea of the recipes you'll find in this book, the table of contents is as follows:

  • Chapter One: Good Food with Bad Relatives
  • Chapter Two: Delights Down the Alley
  • Chapter Three: Treats from the Train
  • Chapter Four: Recipes from a Giant and an Elf
  • Chapter Five: The Favorite Cook's Dishes
  • Chapter Six: Breakfast Before Class
  • Chapter Seven: Lunch and Dinner in the Dining Hall
  • Chapter Eight: Desserts and Snacks at School
  • Chapter Nine: Holiday Fare
  • Chapter Ten: Treats in the Village

Each chapter has its own introduction with information from the books, history and interesting facts. After a quick flip through, countless recipes caught my attention, along with the bits of information and history in the margin of each recipe. For each dish, there's a blurb about where in the novels it was talked about/made/eaten, and where exactly you can find it - for example in the recipe for Harry's First Birthday Cake: Chocolate Layer Cake, it says "It's hard to imagine a woman so heartless that she wouldn't ever, ever bake - or at least buy - a birthday cake for her motherless nephew. But such is indeed the case for Harry Potter, who meets his first birthday cake when he turns eleven, courtesy of Hagrid (see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 4). Then in the margin, there's a brief history of chocolate and how it came to be the chocolate that we know and love today. I'm amazed at how much research and work must have gone into this book - the recipes include pretty much every food item that was ever mentioned in the books or movies.

Over the next couple of years, I'd like to work my way through the entire book and try every single recipe, just to say I did, plus there's not really anything that I wouldn't be willing to try. Things I want to try the most: pumpkin pasties, treacle tart (Harry's favorite dessert), Knickerbocker glory, Petunia's pudding, strawberry and peanut butter ice cream cones, crumpets, pumpkin juice, chicken and mushroom pies, Kreacher's French onion soup, beef stew with herb dumplings, Irish soda bread, over-sized blueberry muffins with crunchy tops, Molly's meatballs with onion sauce, herby roast chicken with onion-garlic mashed potatoes, cinnamon pull-apart breakfast rolls, Yorkshire pudding, glazed carrots, shepherd's pie, peppermint humbugs, chocolate éclairs, banana fritters with caramel sauce, no-bake chocolate-bottom pumpkin tart, creamy dreamy chocolate gateau and Christmas trifle.

For me, the only thing that's missing from this book is a recipe for Butterbeer, which is mentioned often in the books and movies. I was kind of disappointed about that, but luckily I've found recipes for it around the internet and I plan to give it a try.

The recipes in this book are easy to follow and most of them include items that people probably have readily available in their fridge and cupboard. The majority of the recipes are great for kids to help adults with (my eight-year-old nephew loves this book as much as I do), and then other recipes that have both adult and children versions (for instance, the kid's version of the "Guinness" stew uses cola instead of beer), and recipes that require deep frying or boiling sugar that are only recommended for adults to do so the kids don't get hurt.

I can't include the actual recipes here for obvious copyright reasons, but as I try the recipes, I'll review them and post my results. If you're interested, feel free to bookmark this page and check back often. If you buy the book and try the recipes yourself, I'd love to hear what you think and what your favorites are!

Making pumpkin bread from an easy recipe in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
Making pumpkin bread from an easy recipe in the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook | Source

Pumpkin bread

So far, the only thing I've had time to try from this book was the pumpkin bread. I'd been given a can of pumpkin purée ages ago, and it just sat in my pantry until I finally decided to try this recipe. It was easy to make - about 10 minutes prep time and an hour cooking time, and the results were delicious - tasty and moist - definitely the best pumpkin bread I've ever had.

Note: If you buy a can of pumpkin purée to make this recipe and you're looking for a way to use the rest of the can, why not try my own personal recipe for simple, delicious pumpkin pancakes.

Finished pumpkin bread
Finished pumpkin bread | Source

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading Cookbook Review: The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz. If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please vote it up, rate it, and/or leave a comment - you don't have to be a member of HubPages to leave comments. If you'd like to learn more about me and read my other articles here at Hubpages, you can visit my profile page. I love writing for HubPages, and would recommend it to anyone who's interested in writing online. If you'd like to join (it's free to join and a great way to make money online), you can sign up here.

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    • ExpectGreatThings profile image

      ExpectGreatThings 

      21 months ago from Illinois

      Love all things Harry Potter. I'm guessing there's no recipe for Hagrid's rock cakes either ;)

    • profile image

      Torn 

      3 years ago

      So excited I found this article as it made things much quckeir!

    • profile image

      Midnyte Reader 

      6 years ago

      I have not seen this book before! It looks awesome. I want Butterbeer!

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I hope you're able to get a copy, Pia, it's an amazing book! My 8-year-old nephew loves mine! :-)

    • profile image

      pia baldonado 

      7 years ago

      hi i am just nine but i love hp very much so i just wanna say that i want too have a copy of that aaaaaaaaaaahh unofficial hp cookbook

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks awesome Denise, thank you, I really appreciate that! :-D

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Marie-This is amazing that you wrote a hub about this cookbook. I mentioned it in a hub I wrote about cookbooks for kids, but only as one of the many books available. I'm going to link my best cookbooks for kids hub to this one, ok?

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It's a terrific book, and great for kids, Fay. I'd say that at 5, he'd be able to help quite a bit, like with the stirring, measuring, etc. My nephew's been helping me cook since he was 4 or 5, he loves to be my helper!

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      What a wonderful concept. My grandson would love this. Just one question...will he be able to cook? He's 5.

      up/useful

    • SweetMarie83 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marie Landry 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Well, as you know, I aim to please, so glad I could help with the procrastinating. No wait, that's a bad thing, isn't it? Damn! I'll move the Knickerbocker Glory up on my list just for you. ;-)

    • Keith Worth profile image

      Keith Worth 

      7 years ago

      I am anxiously awaiting the Knickerbocker Glory review. Or I could, you know, buy the book and make it myself but I'd rather see your commentary on it first.

      Good stuff, now I'm hungry so I win twice because I now have my excuse to procrastinate for the moment.

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