Interview: Dinah Bucholz, author “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook””

0 Submitted by on Sun, 07 August 2011, 00:02

Author Dinah Bucholz. Courtesy photo.

By Sandra Kraisirideja

Author Dinah Bucholz first began baking at 9 years old and said she is happiest when she’s puttering around the kitchen. After she got married she dreamed of becoming a pastry chef, but having four small children made it difficult to make that dream a reality, she said. Luckily Bucholhz found an alternative outlet for her love of cooking as the author of “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” and then “The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Kit.”

Listen to the full-length audio interview here.

The first three “Harry Potter” books had been published by the time Bucholz’s oldest daughter was born and the idea for the cookbook came about after the fifth book was published, Bucholz said. A cookbook seems like a perfect way to capitalize on the “Harry Potter” phenomenon but copyright issues made it hard for Bucholz to sell her idea, she said. It would take her two-and-a-half years to secure an agent and publisher.

Bucholz said it sounds cliche, but the inspiration for the cookbook came to her a flash when the words “Harry Potter Cookbook” lit up in her mind.  She immediately took to Google and searched for “Harry Potter recipes” and while hundreds of thousands of recipes appeared there were no published collections.

It turns out much of the food in the “Harry Potter” series, such as Treacle Tart, actually exists and is not made up. While the recipes are her own Bucholz said they are based on research she did in British cookbooks and online culinary sites. One of the nicest touches in the cookbook is a brief explanation of when the food appears in the books and a reference to where it can be found in the series. Peppermint Humbugs, for example, shows up in chapter 7 of  ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

The success of “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” prompted the release of “The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Kit” which gave Bucholz the opportunity to include a recipe for butterbeer, called Butterscotch Brew in the Sweet Shoppe Kit for copyright reasons. Bucholz said the most disappointed reaction from fans of the cookbook was the fact that there wasn’t a recipe for butterbeer.

The kit includes 35 recipes for treats like Treacle Fudge, Coconut Ice and Pumpkin Juice. There are also broom-shaped lollipop sticks, glassine bags with ties, and a tray for making chocolate lollipops that include nine different molds for frogs, brooms, flies and owls.

For now Bucholz is putting her dream of becoming a pastry chef aside and continuing her journey as an author. She is currently working on “The Unofficial Narnia Cookbook” based on the “Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis.

To view photos of some of the foods in the “The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Kit.” visit www.unofficialharrypottercookbook.com.

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