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on February 27, 2002
This heavily edited version of Nanny Ogg's Cookbook made me wish for the days when I was in Ankh-Morpork with me mum and she'd ...
OK, so that's going a bit too far. Please forgive me.
The recipes are all in metric units but that's no real trouble for a resourceful American cook! I have tried several, they came out quite well! The honey mixture for the porridge is delicious. I also liked Rincewind's potato cakes. The gumbo recipe was amazing! Technically, I suppose that I have also had the Librarian's recipe but that is quite probably splitting hairs.
But odds are that you aren't buying this for the recipes. You're buying it for the wit and wisdom of Terry Pratchett. You get that in spades! The way Leonard of Quirm makes a cheese sandwich had me laughing out loud! The sections on etiquette were divine. My personal favorite was about Death but then again, I've always loved that character.
Check it out! You won't regret it!
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VINE VOICEon November 12, 2003
I've read all the Discworld novels -- so far, since that's a moving target when dealing with a prolific author like Terry Pratchett -- and have been jonesing for additional Lancre witches material. When I saw this book in my local bookstore, I felt compelled to pick it up.
The book is a compilation of recipes inspired by Discworld -- a wider variety than perhaps might be plausible, but bringing in the Ankh-Morpork city watch, wizards of Unseen University and other characters broadens this book's focus and appeal -- along with Nanny Ogg's advice on life and etiquette. The recipes are very British -- some of the ingredients are either unfamiliar to American audiences, or have names that will be unfamiliar -- but all look servicable enough.
The book shines in the sections later on, where Nanny expounds on life and love. While she keeps her infamously dirty mind relatively in check, the casual arrogance of the Lancre witches is good for quite a few laughs, with the not-so-subtle message that witches (and to a lesser extent, wizards) are above etiquette given that they can ruin the lives of anyone who would object. Not that they would, dearie. It's an amusing reminder that even the relatively benevolent Nanny is something of a terror to the mere mortals around her.
Ultimately, however, this is a small amount of new material for the price -- readers who thought "Eric" was a thin work will find this book to be positively anemic in comparison.
Recommended mostly for Pratchett fans who have read all his other works, and can't wait for his next novels to come out.
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on September 28, 2001
To all those Discworld fans out there, especially to the ones that love the witches, buy this book! If you've always wanted to serve Dwarf Bread to your guests (or beat them over the head with it) this is the book for you. I bought mine from the UK and the measurements are often in the metric system (I'm not sure about this one) but overall it's easy enough to understand.

Some of the stories will have you rolling... Carrot and Oyster pie comes to mind, which Mrs. Ogg helpfully annotates: "Carrots so's you can see in the dark and oysters so you have something to look at!"

Pick this one up for page after page of fun. The more knowledge of the Discworld you have (and its cusine), the more you will laugh.
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on February 17, 2005
My most recent discovery is from the Science Fiction / Fantasy section of the bookstore, "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook" by Terry Pratchett. The author of the book is the author of a fantasy series entitled Discworld, where elves and witches inhabit the world, with a largely satirical approach. Nanny Ogg is one of Discworld's main character witches. The cookbook is very funny and mainly British cuisine, which may explain why this book was so hard to find in the USA. The recipes are entirely in metric and some of the ingredients would be unknown to the average American cook. Yet, the book is lovely! There is even a section on the table manners of dwarves, pixies, trolls and scarecrows! Some of the recipes in this book that you may be interested in trying are: Mrs. Gogol's Clairvoyant Gumbo, Traveller's Digestives, Strawberry Wobbler and Sergeant Angua's Vegetable Stew With Dumplings. If you are a fan of Discworld, or are interested in an amusing, yet interesting stab at being a cookbook, then try this one.
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on January 22, 2009
There have been quite a few spin-off books from Pratchett's Discworld series in the years that he's been doing them. Various maps, the Science of Discworld books, plays, films and now this. And I think we can all agree that spin-offs are never quite as good as the original.

Oh sure, there are laughs to be had - it is Nanny Ogg, after all. If you don't know who she is, then you need to go through a few of the books in the Witches track of the Discworld series. If you don't have time for that, then let me sum it up for you.

In the mountaintop village of Lancre, people still do things in the old ways. They have no real need for modern contrivances or newfangled ideas or, well, change. So in that way, they still see the need for witches where the rest of the world has decided that they're really nothing but interfering old biddies. Of course, they would never say so to their faces....

Lancre is the home to three witches. At least, there used to be three. One of them decided to trade it in to be a queen, leaving the elder witches to look after Lancre on their own. Granny Weatherwax is the elder of the two witches, and she is everything you expect in a witch. She's hard as nails, brooks no nonsense, and is the scariest thing in the mountains. She lives alone in her isolated shack, and takes great pride in people knowing that she was one of those people who didn't care what people thought.

At her side is the more amiable, but no less powerful, Nanny Ogg. She's usually described as having a face like an apple left in the sun for too long. Unlike Granny, she's a matriarch, the head of a vast family of Oggs, and lives among the people. She has an infectious laugh, chats on and on, and is always ready to try new things.

So, of the two, Nanny Ogg is the one who would naturally want to write a book.

It's a cookbook, certainly, and contains a great many recipes. I may try some of them sometime, actually, as they are real recipes. The fictitious publishers take great pains to remind us that many of the original ingredients are either inedible or offensive, so while the dishes contained therein many not be authentic, they at least will probably not cause you any discomfort. The recipe I am most eager to try out is Mrs. Whitlow's Artery-Hardening Hogswatch Pie, although the Patrician's recipe for bread and water is tempting, as is Leonard of Quirm's method of making a cheese sandwich.

There is a back half of the book as well, dealing mostly in the realm of etiquette and proper behavior. It's very amusing, and covers every situation from weddings to birth to death to visitations by semi-sentient scarecrows. What you really take away from it is that you should certainly be polite to everyone, and you should be especially polite to any witches you might come across. If you know what's good for you, anyway.

I will be the first to admit that I'm a huge fan of Pratchett and his Discworld, but there are bigger fans than myself, and it is really for those people that this book was written. For some readers, the original books will never be enough, and they will clamor for any additional content to make the world they love more real. Thus things like the Harry Potter spin-off books, the Dark Tower companion books, and the various additional Discworld texts. If the original books were deficient in some way, if they added extra depth and substance to the characters, then I would collect them all.

But this book doesn't really add anything to the Discworld because that world is already vivid and deep, a living world that the novels have brought to life over the last 25 years. I don't need a recipe book to tell me more about Nanny Ogg, and this recipe book doesn't tell me anything about Nanny Ogg - or any other Discworld characters - that I didn't already know.

This book is an entertaining gimmick, and I hope that the rabid fans who love this kind of thing have found it to be the kind of thing that they like, to paraphrase Lincoln. But it doesn't inspire me to buy any more non-novel Discworld books. But that's just me.
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on April 27, 2007
This is a hysterical read, especially for Terry Pratchett fans. Nanny Ogg's is so much more than a cookbook, and there aren't that many recipes, but what recipes they are! Although they've been heavily edited (by the Vice Squad, probably), the inferences are still there for those with sufficiently filthy minds - yet it's all in surprisingly good taste. There's lots of additional information on etiquette with various species, advice to young ladies on courtship matters, etc. all with Nanny Ogg's, shall we say, robust attitude towards life. Truly a funny book.

The recipes themselves are not the real draw, and the traditional ones are a bit heavy for me (like Clooty = suet dumplings). But some of the recipes, such as the infamous Strawberry Wobbler, must absolutely be tried, preferably at your next Girl's Night Out get-together. And the cartoons! the drawings alone will have you in fits of giggles. This is a must-own book, and that's high praise coming from someone too cheap & short on cash to buy very many new books.
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on December 19, 2007
So we all know he is a great author, but who would have believed he could cook too? Well I for one am now thoroughly convinced. As long as you avoid any recipe by B. S. Johnson, that is. I have tried a few of the recipies in this book, and they were a big hit everywhere I took them, especially the spotted dick. The ingredients were unusual in some cases, but if a military commisary can have them, mine did, then most any large grocery store will. The lessons on life in the back of the book were funny, and not entirely unreasonable. This is truely the perfect book for anyone who wants to make their life more like those who live on Great A'Tuin.
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on June 26, 2007
I found this book to be very enjoyable. My husband and I both read Terry Pratchett's Disc World series and I thought this would be a great addition to the collection. I was right. Some of those obnoxious foods mentioned in the books actually have recipe's listed here! There are some great short stories in the book and it is just an enjoyable read when you want to get away from it all. The illustrations are wonderful too. I was pretty close on a lot of them but a few did surprise me.
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on April 10, 2015
I was at first slightly skeptical about this. I mean, how worthwhile is it to purchase a cookbook that you don't actually use for cooking? (My assumption at the time.) But, I kept coming back to this book, and I kept finding myself wanting it. Let's face it, the late Terry Pratchett was an absolute literary genius whose books are modern masterpieces. Few authors have ever made me laugh so hard while also thinking deeply about my place in society, my responsibilities, or even my motivations behind doing good. Pratchett was an utterly amazing man with words. And that led me to decide that this cookbook really needed to join my collection of his works.

First of all, this is the first cookbook (and probably will remain the only cookbook) to ever make me snort coffee up my nose in a humiliatingly unladylike, un-charming manner in a coffee shop (add to that the fact that I'm a westerner currently living in China, and you can well imagine all the curious and concerned stares I got . . . thanks, Nanny Ogg!). I have since learned, for my own safety and pride, not to read this book while consuming hot -- make that any -- liquids. Nanny Ogg is hilarious enough in novels, but she really comes into her own when she's narrating a cookbook!

Secondly, you can actually make several of the recipes! The dwarf bread is an altered recipe that won't do you as well as a offensive weapon as ordinary dwarf bread, but many of the recipes are actually rather tasty. And, being blessed as I am with so many bookish friends, I am looking forward to using this book to create my own Discworld-themed party later this year.

Finally, this makes a great book for anyone who finds their life peppered with lots of short periods wherein you want something fun to read, but can't allow yourself to get sucked into a novel right then (bus rides, waiting rooms, airplanes on the runway before they annoyingly and for no good reason force you to turn off your electronic devises, meetings where you ought to be paying attention but frankly couldn't care less, tedious phone conversations with those particular friends who just need an "mm hmm" to think they're having a conversation . . . ).

RIP, dear, wonderful, brilliant Sir Terry Pratchett.
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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2008
I would say a "Must Have" for any Discworld fanatic, but unfortunately it's not a "Must Have"... what it is however is a very fun, whimsical cookbook assembled by our favorite dirty minded witch of Lancre - Nanny Ogg. Though this book does contain recipes (and most of them appear fairly legit) the reason to buy this book is for the old fashioned wisdom that used to come in cookbooks. The more of the Discworld books that you have read, the more you will recognize the names and people mentioned in the recipes. Everyone from the Patrician, to Nobby's Mum, to The King of Lancre have contributed their favorites (Even CMOT Dibbler has contributed his "Sausage-inna-bun recipe). There are also a series of "Ethnic" foods from Klatch, Quirm, Lancre, and many other of the Discworld lands including multiple Dwarven recipes which (include the ever popular "Dwarf Bread.")

Throughout the cookbook you will find not only recipes, but also Nanny's quips, and advise, as well as notes from the "editors" who are very concerned about Nanny's tendency towards the vulgar. It is safe to have around the house because the kiddies won't get the references as Nanny always states them with double meaning and a wink. At the end of the book there is a section on life and etiquette which is absolutely hysterical. Having just been married two years ago, the section on weddings nearly had me in tears, specifically the instructional part about how to have the obligatory wedding fight among the guests.

Note to those of you wavering about the purchase of this book. It's cute, it's funny, but it is by no means a novel. If you plan to sit down with it and read it as a book, you will be done in less than an hour and will probably be disappointed. If you are the type who has a few "Discworld junkie" friends, this is the perfect help to any party... you can all get together and make dwarf bread and see who's flies the farthest. This would also make an excellent gift for a Discworld fan. If you are planning to put it in your kitchen with the rest of your cookbooks, I would advise getting the hardcover version.
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