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I must admit that I am not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world but both my daughter and close friend are mad about the boy wizard. They take fandom to the extreme including designing and making their own robes, making butterbeer and organising a Harry Potter party for Halloween. They have a couple of recipe ideas for the party but needed more inspiration so I decided to buy the "Unofficial Harry Potter Muggles to Magic Cookbook" by Gina M Myers for £9.99. There is a second book with a very similar title written by Dina Bulchoz with a single 5 star review on Amazon but this is currently out of stock and is not the book I am talking about in my review.
This is a softback paperback with a mere 80 pages of recipes. The pages are around A4 size making this a very flimsy book indeed. The print is large text, there are a few extremely amateur looking black and white photographs of the completed dishes which don't exactly inspire me to rush out and make them. There are a total of 77 recipes in the book, 27 pages are devoted to savoury dishes whilst 50 are devoted to sweet treats.
The savoury dishes are an eclectic mix ranging from lasagne to a corned beef sandwich to Christmas coconut soup. What have those dishes all got in common? Well apart from the fact that they have absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter then absolutely nothing. There is a general English food theme for some of the dishes, boiled cabbage and corned beef (yuck!) and Yorkshire puddings fall into that category whilst the author thinks that sticking a character's name onto other dishes somehow makes them relevant. We have Hagrid's hearty potatoes au gratin and Dumbledore's delightful dumplings falling under this description. There was no mention of either of these in the books and since Hagrid could barely cook at all it is hard to imagine him rustling up a French dish in the kitchen of his wee hut.
Now onto the sweet treats and here we do see some things which have genuinely featured in the books. We have Butterbeer, cockroach clusters, licorice (typo copied from book) wands, rock cakes, Berty Botts every flavour bean and ton tongue toffee. Unfortunately the recipes for these items leave a lot to be desired. The jelly beans page is simply a list of all the different types of beans, the cockroach clusters are nothing like the ones featured in the books and the wands simply involve dipping liquorice sticks into chocolate and a bizarre mux of toppings.
As with the savoury section, Myers simply adds Harry Potter prefixes to a few recipes like Luna Lovers Lemon Meringue Pie, Hermione's precious potion or chocolate and apricot torte of Little Hangleton Village. A smattering of rather bizarre American Halloween recipes like ghost decorated cupcakes or ants on a log (celery filled with cream cheese and dotted with ants) completes this section.
The cooking level on the recipes varies from the absurdly easy (use ready-made cupcakes and decorate) to difficult (make toffee using a sugar thermometer). There are many ingredients which would be almost impossible to get hold of in the UK like canned pumpkin, nutter butter biscuits or red hot candy.
This is a book designed for American "cooks" (decorating ready-made cupcakes or adding cans of soup doesn't count as cooking in my eyes) so the recipes use American weights and measures. It is easy enough to translate a quart into pints but the cup measure is a unit of volume so you really need American measuring cups to measure out things like flour.
You might have guessed I was not impressed with this cookbook but it gets even worse. There are a few typos in there (Hermione becomes both Hermiome and Hermomine for example) and a series of nonsense facts about England interspersed amongst the pages including telling us that Yorkshire puddings are a traditional English dessert!
The "Unofficial Harry Potter Muggles To Magic Cookbook" by Gina M Myers is a truly awful book, a shameful case of somebody writing a garbage book to cash in on the success of Harry Potter; the ministry of magic should call the author up and send her to Azkaban for crimes against the wizarding world! The author has also written a series of books about Twilight and I am recommending those are avoided too.