unoffical harry potter cookbook

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: a chat with the Author

We were so excited this week to chat with Dinah Buckholz, author of the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Dinah is a busy mom of 5 with a passion for literature and for food. She talked with us about her inspiration for the project, her challenges and successes in getting the book published, and some of her personal thoughts on the recipes.

Dinah is a food columnist and the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook published by Adams Media (over a million copies sold) and The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Expanded Edition. She started out with a degree in English, went on to teach the subject, and followed that up with an editing job for a magazine publisher in Manhattan. Today Dinah prefers to cook and write and take care of her family (and also sing, much to the consternation of her household members). Dinah resides in Philadelphia with her husband, children, and Mrs. Cat.

Butter Beer
photo credit: Harry Potter Wiki

Of course before we could get into chatting with Dinah, we had to have her MousekeCocktail recommendation. Straight from her cookbook, Dinah shared her recipe for Butterbeer. Be warned, this is not the sweet concoction you’ll share with your kids at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. But, Dina did her research. She poured over (see what I did there) and tested ancient British recipes until she finally settled on her version of a 16th century libation. So what’s in it? Beer, Brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, but also butter and egg yolks. It’s served warm. May sound strange, but after hearing Dinah describe it, we’re all in.

Dinah used a similar process in developing all her recipes for this book, as she did for the butterbeer. She studied the Harry Potter book series for food and drink, from feasts to treats. As such an integral part of the story, food seemed to her to be a character in itself. Once she discovered all the possibilities, she meticulously researched, created, and tested recipes. 

So how did this idea come to be in the first place? Dinah tells the story of the exact moment when the idea struck her. She was in the car and the words “Harry Potter Cookbook” flashed in her head. As a self-proclaimed foodie and bookworm, Dinah has had literary-based cookbooks in her home. So, when the idea hit, she wasn’t sure it hadn’t been done.  When she discovered she would be the first, she began the process: writing letters, experiencing rejections, networking, overcoming potential legal issues, and of course, writing recipes and text for the book.

We are all so glad it worked out, that this book got published, and that Dinah is so good at what she does. You will find not only over 150 recipes to help you conjure up a Great Hall Feast, but read about how the recipes tie into Harry Potter and a little history about the foods in the Muggle world.

pumpkin pasties
photo credit: The Domestic Geek

Naturally, we were dying to know if Dinah had a favorite recipe. She said it would be “like choosing a favorite child”, and we get it. She did confess that she’s partial to the sweets, though. After speaking with her it is clear that this book was a labor of love. She has a personal connection to each of the recipes. After some pressing, she did divulge that the one recipe that MUST be present at any Harry Potter inspired table are the Pumpkin Pasties. Yes please.

Dinah’s cookbook is a must-have for any Potterhead. After all, food is an integral part of the stories, so what better way to bring the story to life in our own homes. We learned so much in talking with Dinah and really loved hearing her story. Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode for more about Dinah Buckholz and the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Copies of the book are available on Amazon.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *