07 January 2012

Weekend Cooking: Novel-Inspired Cooking 2

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


It's been almost a year since I last did a novel-inspired Weekend Cooking post. Today I have two newish cookbooks and two I've had for a while. Let's take a look.

I enjoy a good cozy mystery, and I get a kick out of those that have a foodie tie-in. Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series is great on both accounts. Hannah lives in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and owns The Cookie Jar, a bakery that specializes in, well, cookies. Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook includes recipes contributed by some of the series' characters as well as every recipe that appeared in the first ten mysteries. You'll find a few savory dishes (such as chicken salad), but the majority are for baked goods. Besides the delicious-sounding recipes (Chocolate Highlander Cookie Bars and Molasses Crackles, for example), I like Fluke's notes: She tells us which character loves which cookies and offers plenty of helpful tips to help make our day in the kitchen a success. Extra fun: short stories about Lake Eden and a colorful map of the town.

Okay, who could pass up Dianah Bucholz's The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook? Not me. Bucholz has done a great job collecting food quotes from the Harry Potter series and then developing or finding recipes so we can make treacle pudding, one of Harry's favorites, and Mrs. Weasley's beef and Guinness stew. Each recipe introduction includes the character who does or doesn't like the dish plus the Harry Potter book (with chapter number) that mentions the food item. Extra fun: short boxes with food history and facts and cooking advice. Note that there is a newer unofficial cookbook written by Gina Meyers.

Who knew Suzanne Collin's Hunger Game series could be the inspiration for a cookbook? Emily Ansara Baines's The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook is a must for all fans (like me). The recipes run the gamut from the jewel-colored mint jelly that Katniss eats in during the opening ceremonies in Catching Fire to the raisin nut bread Peeta gives Katniss in The Hunger Games. Extra fun: recipe introductions that place the dishes in the context of the books and lots of "Tips from Your Sponsor" with food facts and recipe variations.

The last book Lillian Hellman ever wrote was this co-authored memoir and cookbook. Lillian Hellman and Peter Feibleman's Eating Together: Recollections and Recipes is as interesting to read as it is cook from. The book is divided into two sections by author, and Hellman gets top billing. I loved the essay about her childhood birthdays in New Orleans (and the recipe for lobster salad) and her many descriptions of Paris and the people with whom she shared a meal. Feibleman takes a more casual approach, and we join him for a picnic on the beach (a clam bake for two) and steak sandwiches on the sailboat. Almost all his food memories seem to be tied to the water, whether on Martha's Vineyard, in a fishing village in Spain, or on the beach in California. Don't pass this up if you're lucky enough to run across a copy.


Uniflame 1/7/12, 6:30 AM  

This sounds like so much fun!! I would love to look through that Harry Potter inspired cookbook! :)

TheBookGirl 1/7/12, 7:11 AM  

As much as I love foodie cozy mysteries, for some reason, I have never picked up the Joanna Fluke books. I have to fix that soon.

I love the sound of the Lillian Hellman book. I didn't realize that she had written this. Food-related essays are a favorite of mine, as well as things related to the beach, so this is a win on both accounts for me. Now the problem is finding a copy!

caite 1/7/12, 7:28 AM  

I would love to check out Peeta's raisin nut bread. ;-)

Heather @ girlichef.com 1/7/12, 8:20 AM  

I've read through those first two, but I'm definitely going to have to hunt down the Hunger Games one and get in the kitchen with my son (who's a fan). And the fourth one is going on my list, as well...thanks!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 1/7/12, 8:30 AM  

I don't know the Hunger Game series but I think I'd like the cookbooks. I had no clue Lillian Hellman wrote a cookbook. Have to check these out, you really find some interesting reads for the kitchen!

bermudaonion 1/7/12, 8:50 AM  

I have the Joanne Fluke book and want to try one of the recipes in it. The Harry Potter cookbook looks like fun - you could use recipes from it for a movie watching night.

rhapsodyinbooks 1/7/12, 8:55 AM  

Wow, I had no idea about The Hunger Games cookbook. What fun! Did you ever read Miriam's Kitchen? That's a wonderful memoir/cookbook although I've never actually made any of the recipes, but now that I've just reminded myself I may go look it over!

Julie P. 1/7/12, 9:08 AM  

I love cookbooks that are tied to books. I didn't know Joanna Fluke had one. I've read a few of her books over the years.

Col (Col Reads) 1/7/12, 9:34 AM  

I love cookbooks tied to books, or movies. But the Hunger Games? I have to think about that one. Glad you enjoyed it, though.

Margot 1/7/12, 9:34 AM  

I liked the few Fluke books I've read. I'm going to search for her cookbook. I like these posts. You always seem to find the ones the rest of us haven't found. Thanks.

Zibilee 1/7/12, 10:40 AM  

Ok, I NEED the Harry Potter and Hunger Games cookbooks. I really NEED them! This was a great review on these amazing books! Off to see where they can be had!

Joy Weese Moll 1/7/12, 10:52 AM  

What a great collection of books. I love the cover of Eating Together, such a pretty, convivial scene.

Peppermint Ph.D. 1/7/12, 11:02 AM  

I love literary themed cookbooks!! I have The Cat Who Cookbook as well as the Mitford Cookbook...I'm adding these to my WishList. There is a new bio of Lillian Hellman on NetGalley...have you seen it?

Esme 1/7/12, 11:23 AM  

These sound fun-Eating Together sounds like my kind of book. Thank you.

Amanda 1/7/12, 11:27 AM  

I got the Harry Potter cookbook last year around Christmas and love it!! We've only made a few recipes from it, but they're so much fun to make. Laurence in particular likes to look through it (though I think this Christmas' "Bacon cookbook" has supplanted it now).

One of these days, I'll have something to post for Weekend Cooking again!

Jesse 1/7/12, 11:28 AM  

I love this post! I have a friend who is newly married, doesn't know her way around a kitchen, and LOVES Harry Potter. This book would be a great gift for her. And for me? I think I'd really enjoy Eating Together.

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/7/12, 11:41 AM  

All these books sound like so much fun! I used to run a huge used book sale and Joanne Fluke's books always caught my eye, but I confess I never read any. Maybe I'll start with this one.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 1/7/12, 1:07 PM  

When I was in high school I made butterbeer with my cousins. It was delicious! I'd love to try Mrs. Weasley's beef and guiness stew, too!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 1/7/12, 1:51 PM  

Ha! Really? There's a Hunger Games cook book? ;) I have Table of Contents (author inspired cookbook) but haven't yet cracked it open--thanks for the reminder that I need to do that!

Heidenkind 1/7/12, 2:16 PM  

I will definitely keep an eye out for Eating Together; it sounds great!

I wonder when we're going to get a Twilight cookbook? ;)

Beth S. 1/7/12, 3:55 PM  

I downloaded the HP cookbook to my classroom Nooks since it was free but I haven't actually tried to make anything with it yet. I've heard there's not a recipe for Butterbeer in that one. If there's not, I call foul!

Hmmmm... a Hunger Games cookbook, eh? Definitely going to have to check that one out but I'm not entirely sure I'll want to make anything from it.

Anonymous,  1/7/12, 4:11 PM  

Cozies are not for me, but a bakery devoted to cookies. All right! -Fay

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/7/12, 5:17 PM  

Very fun! I know a certain quartet of children who will really enjoy the Harry Potter cookbook(s)!

Sharon Galligar Chance 1/7/12, 7:31 PM  

I loved that Joanne Fluke included a little story along with her wonderful recipes in her cookbook! It was a fun read! Hope you are having a Happy New Year!!

Unknown 1/7/12, 8:05 PM  

I totally forgot the Joanne Fluke cookbook was out. I've liked several of the recipes that I've made so I'm going to get a copy of this one.

Christine 1/7/12, 8:24 PM  

Fun post!
We have the Unofficial Harry Potter cookbook, but so far we just read it and haven't yet cooked from it. We'll have to change that!

I had no idea about the Hunger Games cookbook!

Vasilly 1/7/12, 8:50 PM  

The Hellman book sounds lovely! I'm going to try and get a copy of it.

Stacy at The Novel Life 1/7/12, 10:07 PM  

OOOO I must get the Harry Potter and Hunger Games cookbooks! What fun! Thanks for reviewing these and bringing them to my attention!

Peaceful Reader 1/7/12, 11:42 PM  

Cookbooks for The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Lillian Hellman-it's almost too much to imagine. What fun!

I'm really trying to remember what interesting foods they ate in The Hunger Games?

Julie Goucher 1/8/12, 11:42 AM  

I love the cozy mysteries, but not read any of these - must rectify this.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 1/8/12, 1:15 PM  

Oh!!! I have to get my hands on that Harry Potter cook book! Seriously!

Molly 1/8/12, 5:03 PM  

I have several foodie cozies ( or would that be cozy foodie) mysteries on my TBR shelf with great plans to read them someday. I am definitely committed to reading through the Harry Potter series in 2012 and maybe then I will appreciate the cookbook :)

Marg 1/27/12, 10:35 PM  

I didn't realise that Joanne Fluke had done a separate cook book. I wonder if it repeats the recipes that are already in the books or all new ones.

There is a website where someone cooks up recipes from books. Will try to find the link

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