Over the years, I have acquired more than a few cookbooks, particularly Disney-themed ones. But there is always room for one more, isn’t there? And this new cookbook, Disney Enchanted Recipes by Thibaud Villanova, is definitely one every Disney fan will want to make a space for on the bookshelf.
Here you’ll find more than 40 recipes inspired by films ranging from the Disney classics like Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Cinderella, to more contemporary Pixar favorites such as Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Monsters, Inc. There’s even a nod to one of my personal unsung favorite films, The Great Mouse Detective!
And when I say “inspired by,” I mean that the author imagined what the dishes and beverages consumed by characters in these films actually would taste like. In fact, each recipe starts with a short description to remind you which scene in the movie features the particular food or drink. I found it great fun just to page through the book reading each of these notes — you’ll be surprised to find how seamlessly cooking and dining have been woven into all of these movies that you love so much. For example, I had completely forgotten about Mrs. Judson’s Crumpets from The Great Mouse Detective, but now I’m looking forward to making them myself!
Thibaud Villanova, a French chef and consultant who goes by the name “Gastronogeek” in culinary circles, is no stranger to creating recipes based on fantasy worlds — he also authored Star Wars Cantina, an official cookbook of the Star Wars saga, several years ago. For this new collection, he says he tried to create colorful yet accessible recipes that “let the ingredients sing” while keeping in mind master chef Gusteau’s advice to little Remy in Ratatouille: “Anyone can cook!”
Scattered throughout 144 pages are gorgeous, full-color photographs of such savories as Remy’s Soup from Ratatouille (potato leek soup with Boursin) and Aunt Cass’s wings from Big Hero 6. Now I finally know what’s in those Kanine Krunchies (vanilla and cinnamon biscuits) that intrigued me when I was a little girl watching 101 Dalmatians. And I don’t know about you, but I have wanted the recipe for Kronk’s Spinach Puffs (spinach and sheep milk cheese turnovers) since the very first time I saw The Emperor’s New Groove. I can not wait to gasp, as I run to the oven to retrieve them, “My spinach puffs!”
The recipes range in difficulty from very quick and easy to prepare (most take under 30 minutes to assemble), to moderately challenging — if you decide to tackle Abuelita’s Tamales, inspired by a scene from Coco, expect to spend 45 minutes on preparation, and 90 minutes cooking. Overall, though, the instructions are clear and straightforward and most of the ingredients are items that can be found in any well-stocked kitchen (although I expect you will have to make a special trip to buy the octopus if you attempt the sushi dish, Harryhausen’s Chef Special, pulled from Monsters, Inc.).
In addition to the main recipes, the cookbook also has plenty of helpful cooking tips, like how to cut and shape croissants and how to make a good vegetable stock. There is also an entire section on commonly used herbs (the “Herbarium”) for those who may be unfamiliar with them.
In short, there is something for just about everyone in this rather unusual cookbook that captures the imagination with a culinary flair. As the author notes in his introduction, “If you’ve always wondered how a certain dish in a Disney film tastes, this book is for you.”
“Disney Enchanted Recipes,” published by Insight Editions, retails for $29.99.
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