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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bites From the Bookworms: Cookbooks Inspired by TV Shows Part 3

Posted by Alana T.

In this last post about video inspired cooking, we visit some of the best, recent cookbooks.

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook by J. Gelman and P. Zheutlin.  An exhaustive introduction to 1960s beverages, party food and overall social atmosphere of the times.  Included with recipes are ties to specific episodes and descriptions of important restaurants.  If you grew up in the 60s or have a fondness for that time period, these dishes are spot-on.  Recipes range from Turkey Tetrazini to Macaroni Salad to Cheese Fondue.  This is the perfect cookbook for planning a themed party or kicking back with a tasty cocktail.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding by Emily Baines.  My favorite part of this cookbook are the short paragraphs about food customs of the Edwardian era.  In fact, I could do without most of the recipes and be happy reading about etiquette.  The recipes are arranged by courses, so you can choose from the selections to recreate your own 7-13 course meal.  There are a lot of rich and fancy foods (as you might expect) and I felt the everyday dishes (for downstairs staff) were neglected.  Each recipe is tied to a character or scene and the language is a bit melodramatic; however the recipes seem pretty tasty. Recommended for cooks who like elegant, fancy foods.

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Castle and Sariann Lehrer.  The forward to this cookbook is written by G.R.R. Martin (the author of the Game of Thrones novels) and he writes about the importance of food in setting mood throughout his books - authenticity is very important to him.   The authors of this cookbook clearly have similar feelings about food and have researched and presented an admirable selection of dishes.  Although the recipes are arranged by geographic region from the novels, they are based on historical Roman, Medieval and Elizabethan examples.  Original recipes are provided (often with odd language and ingredients) along with an easy to understand translation and a second interpretation for modern palates and techniques.  This book would be an excellent introduction to authentic historical cooking, but don't be scared away by that - these recipes are amazing.  Hands down, this was my favorite cookbook of the lot.

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