Why yes, yes I did squeal when I heard about The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook. Then I squealed louder when it arrived on my doorstep.
See, I have a thing for Narnia. (Both of my boys are named after C.S. Lewis in some form or fashion.) Every year (in July) I host the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge over at Reading to Know. I look forward to returning to Narnia every year. More recently I have had the pleasure of bringing my children along for the adventurous ride. What better way to indulge my reading passions than by cooking up dishes inspired by or taken from the Narnia books themselves?!
This fantastic cookbook is absolutely lovely. Hard bound with embossed letters, it simply looks magical. As the subtitle informs, there are over 150 recipes included inside, each with a brief explanation of where you can find the inspiration or reference for the dish. (Yes, Turkish Delight is most definitely included!) The recipes range from easy to complex. For instance, the “Marching Towards the Battle: Battle Biscuits” are relatively easy. Eel Stew, on the other hand, is a little more complex.
As author Dinah Bucholz explains in the Introduction, not all recipes are particularly suitable for children. Some recipes do call for alcohol and so she explains that it is up to the parent to decide when a substitution is called for. While some recipes can be prepared by children, the majority of them require adult oversight. (And, in some cases, adults should be the ones preparing the meal.) Regardless of what age is more appropriate to handle the knife, it is a sure fact that all ages can enjoy the imagination involved in eating a meal straight from Narnia!
Dinner with the Beavers? There are recipes for fried trout, boiled potatoes with butter, homemade bread, a “gloriously sticky marmalade roll” and, of course, tea. Shasta’s breakfast with Duffle the Dwarf and his brothers? Bacon, eggs and mushrooms, porridge and cream, toast and butter and spiced brown sugar coffee. Or perhaps you are in the mood to create a multi-course feast such as would be found at Cair Paravel? You might be making anything from fried spinach to small game birds. No recipe for Marshwiggle. Stringy, you know.
The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook is just plain fun. My imagination is on fire at the moment, trying to think out and plan how I shall create feasts for us to enjoy as a family, especially in July when we spend time reading through Narnia. I think it might also be fun to throw a Narnia-themed party and invite some friends to join in on the fun and frolic with us. I love the idea of bringing Narnia more to life through the senses – the smell and the taste of Narnia. (Minus the eel soup.) It promises grand times and I’m so happy to be in possession of this book!