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180 of 193 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2010
This cookbook is geared for children and young adults but it will please readers, cooks, and Harry Potter fans of all ages. My kids (ages 14, 12, and 8), have finally found an activity they can all agree on - cooking and sampling savory Harry Potter recipes. This book covers every single recipe that appears in all seven of the Harry Potter books. Ever wonder what Pumpkin Juice tastes like? Or Treacle tart? Well, you're about to find out!
Just crack open this book for easy to follow recipes, that have been authenticated and thoroughly researched and tested. Adults and children will delight in tracing their favorite Harry Potter delicacies back to the original source, while recreating some of these magical moments.
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218 of 262 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
* Recipes: Some of the recipes are a little bit silly and overly simple (I'm thinking of the recipe for bacon... Ingredients? Bacon). Some of the recipes sound disgusting to this non-foodie American, like Haggis or Steak and Kidney Pudding.

Most of the recipes fall into the category of VERY simple, like mashed potatoes and buttered peas, or VERY complicated, like the Herbed and Spiced Fried Sausage Patties that call for ingredients like veal (?!), grated lemon zest, and dried marjoram.

Still, I've tried a few of the recipes, and the Cinnamon Pull-Apart Breakfast Rolls are seriously delicious, as are the Cheesy, Chivy Scrambled Eggs.

* Not really party food: Almost all of the recipes in this book are for sit-down meals. If you're looking for a book that has more fun-sized treats and appetizers for a Harry Potter party, I'd recommend The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book: From Monster Books to Potions Class!: Crafts, Games, and Treats for the Ultimate Harry Potter Party, which includes more of the party-food type of recipes.

* Biggest Annoyance: No pictures. It's really hard for me to tell if something is appealing enough to make without seeing a picture first. Some of the recipes in here are for things I've never heard of, so I would have no idea what it should look like, like mince pies.

* No Butterbeer: I assume because of trademark issues. Too bad.

Here's my favorite butterbeer recipe of the many I've tried:
1 can of Cream Soda
1 teaspoon of Rum Extract
1 teaspoon of Butterscotch Extract
1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
1 cup of Vanilla Ice Cream

It's delicious and very frothy - it looks just like beer.

Overall, I think this is a fun and useful cookbook. I'll be pulling it out at holidays, especially Christmas.
Any Harry Potter fan would be happy with this cookbook, but they might have to look up pictures for some of the more foreign recipes.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
My nine-year-old Harry Potter fan grandson is greatly enamored with this cookbook, but I'm not so enthused. The format and recipes follow the books well and he instantly lit up at the thought of having Cauldron Cakes for breakfast among other things he recognized and was eager to try. I'd hoped he could make the recipes himself but they are much more elaborate than I expected. Some require roasting nuts, tempering eggs, boiling sugar, deep-frying or using the food processor, for example, not things I want a nine-year-old trying. Many of the processes seem needlessly complex like making a sugar syrup for lemon pops instead of just whisking the sugar into the cold liquid until it dissolves (which we did and it worked fine).

I did appreciate that my grandson was interested enough in tackling some recipes that he was willing to learn about kitchen gadgets and processes. He learned how to measure and what various terms meant and was proud of his results, but I changed some things to facilitate his being able to work more independently. He learned about substitutions because a number of the ingredients were not available in my well-stocked kitchen. I actually had a pie pumpkin for example (for pumpkin juice) and turbinado sugar but don't keep things like dried currents or mincemeat on hand all the time. I usually cook from scratch so have raw ingredients, but many recipes still required a trip to the store. I was surprised more shortcuts weren't included to appeal to kids or inexperienced cooks who wanted to try their hand. Some of the recipes had two pages of instructions and most of the book is in miniscule font that I had trouble reading.

On the good side, the layout of the book was great fun for my grandson. Each recipe starts with a paragraph about where the dish was included in the stories, who made it, etc. Then there was an interesting sidebar with history of the dish in English cuisine (interesting to me anyway :). There's a good index at the back and the book starts with a table of contents that lists chapters with descriptive names. The recipes are sometimes grouped chronologically and sometimes by food type, like the first chapter `Good Food with Bad Relatives' refers to things Harry ate with the Dursleys, while a later chapter is `Desserts and Snacks at School'. It's not so easy to find the recipe you want that way, but lots of fun for the fan to read by those groupings.

Bottom line: There's a lot good about this cookbook, but it's not for kids to cook from except for a few recipes. It is great reading for fans, both young and old, and would be fun for adult fans to cook from if one doesn't mind fairly involved processes. Things are described well, a great help for less experienced cooks, and we've enjoyed everything we've tried so far although I don't think we'll be trying the Steak and Kidney Pudding (where would I find the lamb or ox kidneys anyway) or the Black Pudding or Stewed Tripe and Onions :). Still they make for fun reading. A great plus for me is that the whole idea of eating 'Harry Potter food' is beguiling enough to tempt some timid young eaters around here to try something new. I just wish the recipes weren't quite so elaborate.
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216 of 264 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2011
Heard about this from a well-known fansite and immediately put it down on my wishlist. Well, whilst the idea is good, the execution is very disappointing. As a Brit, I have already eaten a good number of the recipes mentioned and have made quite a few of them. However, the recipes in this book seem terribly over-complicated for even me to follow. And as far as things like trifle are concerned, the main wow factor is the presentation, which must be very hard for those who have never seen these foods before. Photos would have made it better.
Not to sound harsh, but I don't think the author herself has actually been to the UK and sampled these foods from restaurants or peoples kitchens. To really demystify them for non-Brits, you can't just experiment and hope for the best; you need to compare them to the real thing and then try to adjust them to suit whatever products are sold in America.
As for the example pages shown, I have never heard of two rashers of bacon being called a "gammon". They're just rashers. It might be a regional thing, but I've asked others and they don't call them that either. Gammon is meat from the hind legs of a pig. I might be nitpicking, but if you're going to add in interesting asides, they have to be accurate.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2010
This book is great! A lot of the treats are really nice to make around the October, November, December months since that's when a lot of the ceremonies go in the Harry Potter books that include lots of food. Plus, a lot of the food just has an autumny feel. I also read someone's previous comment about there not being any Pumpkin Juice or Butterbeer recipe. This is only half true. There is a Pumpkin Juice recipe listed on page 40 in the book. Butterbeer is not included, however I found the recipe for Butterbeer here & it's supposed to taste almost exactly like Universal Orlando's Butterbeer. Here is the recipe [...] . I'm actually in the process of making a recipe page for Butterbeer so people can print it out & tape/paste/staple the recipe into the book.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 14, 2010
All you wannabe wizards and witches out there, listen up: Use your wand and point to this book in the bookstore and say, "Accio!" (The summoning spell), because you'll want this on your bookshelf in your kitchen.

This is a bewitching brew of a book, a collection of recipes by Dinah Bucholz whom I suspect has worked behind the scenes at the Hogwarts kitchen. The publisher has wisely published this as a hardback, and gone to great lengths to give it an aged look--the paper simulates parchment printing, and the sidebars are comprised of parchment scrolls. The hardback book also lays flat, which is essential: don't you hate it when recipe books flop shut?

Throughout the book, where specific dishes have been mentioned in the Harry Potter novels, Dinah explains the connection; for instance, in a recipe for Vol-au-Vents: "Mrs. Weasley is really an amazing cook. To prepare all the food for her son's wedding, especially such elegant, classy savories as vol-au-vents, is just simply, well, impressive, to say the least (see HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, Chapter 6.)"

Vol-au-Vents are puff pastry, in case you didn't know.

What makes the recipes themselves fun is that the sidebars tell the story behind the recipe: its historical basis, and some fun facts.

Dinah clearly knows her way around a kitchen and can ladle it out--150 recipes that cover everything from breakfast foods to after-dinner deserts, a mouthwatering selection of food that will leave you hungering for more. (The book is 239 pages.)

If you are a cook or know anyone who is a cook and wants to try some traditional English dishes specifically mentioned in the seven Harry Potter novels, this book is a "must" buy.

I suspect it'll find its way on Muggles' kitchen shelves worldwide, and over time their copies will be splashed upon with ingredients; it will be well-thumbed, and dog-eared, until it's worn out from use--at which time one should buy a replacement copy.

I wish the publisher's budget had included an 8 to 16-page section of color photos, but the publisher had to draw the line somewhere as to costs. (Maybe they'll eventually relent if we all send our owls with letters saying we want color photos.)

Even without the omission of photos, this is a first-rate cookbook, sure to please even the most finicky diner.

Note: I did contribute an introduction to this book because I thought so highly of it.

George Beahm, author of MUGGLES AND MAGIC, and FACT, FICTION & FOLKLORE IN HARRY POTTER'S WORLD.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2010
I just received this book and the recipes look great (aside from one served at Nick's deathday party), but I was very disappointed to not find a recipe for butterbeer. Other treats were included such as pumpkin juice, pumpkin pasties, Hagrid's rock cakes, acid pops, Harry's first birthday cake, treacle fudge, treacle tart, lemon drops, peppermint humbugs, canary creams, and also many meals made by Mrs. Weasley or at the Hogwarts feasts, which unfortunately I cannot eat because I am a vegetarian and they are nearly all meat-based. Anyway, great cookbook! =)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I admit it, I adore tie-in cookbooks. Redwall, Discworld, even Fanny Flagg's Whistle Stop Cafe cookbook...you find me a cookbook that ties in with a series I enjoy and I'll snap it up, lickety-split. That's why I was so excited to find The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Even since I first read the books, the food mentioned in them fascinated me, not just the traditional British food (which, due to my Anglophilia, I've long been interested in), but the strange and wonderful wizard food, food which I wondered how it could be translated into real-world equivalents. It's obvious from Dinah Bucholz's writing that she, too, is fascinated by those dishes mentioned by Rowling and it's also apparent that she's given a lot of thought and put a lot of effort into creating the dishes listed in this cookbook. Each one is headed by a synopsis of the scene in which the dish appears and most have sidebars full of trivia related to the dish or the ingredients used. Tips, techniques and ways to make some of the dishes more like those in the books (especially as applies to the food served by Hagrid) appear at the end of many of the recipes. The instructions are clearly written, as they should be seeing how this is directed more towards young cooks, book and web sources are clearly listed, and the index is extensive, making it easy to find a particular dish. I haven't had the opportunity to test any of the recipes out; should I do so and meet with success, I'll be sure to add another star to my rating.

Note: Due to the unofficial nature of this cookbook, being unaffiliated, licensed or endorsed by J.K. Rowling or Warner Bros., some famous recipes, most notably Butterbeer, aren't included due to their licensed state. However, a quick web search will garner you several takes on Butterbeer as well as many other Potter treats which might be missing from this book, although, considering the extensive number of recipes contained in this book (over 150), there can't be that many.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2010
I bought this book for the recipes, but love it most for the explanations of all things British. When I read the Harry Potter books I used my imagination to try and picture the food J.K. Rowling was describing. This book clears up the mystery of what exactly foods such as treacle, pasties, and bangers are. The author also explains the origins of the food in a fun way.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2010
If you're a Harry Potter fun-this cookbook is for you! The cookbook has a lovely appearance and the recipes are mouthwatering-so even if you haven't read the Harry Potter books you will enjoy trying some of the unusual foods listed inside.
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