Cookshelf- Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook

If you only buy one fantasy themed cook book this year……

A long time ago, in a galaxy about three and a half miles away, a young girl was in the running up team in the local school’s debate contest, and she took home a ten pound book token (remember those!) as reward for her general argumentativeness.
Based on the recommendations of a then considered hot boy, this token wound it’s way to Red Lion Books in merry Colchester, and was exchanged for not one but two Terry Pratchett novels.
‘Mort’ to this day remains one of my favourite books in the history of ever and I have it in paperback, hardback, pocket size and graphic versions. It’s a laugh out loud funny and ever so slightly ridiculous story telling the story of Death (you know tall chap, carries a scythe) taking on an unlikely apprentice in order to have a little bit of downtime with the finer things in life. It’s wonderful, and it introduced me to the addictivley brilliant Discworld series by Mr Pratchett. I shan’t harp on too much, this blog is about edibles not readables, but one of my favourite things about the Pratchett novels is that despite the involvement of dragons, wizards, six foot dwarves and were-police ladies- it’s is all so recognisable. You can really realate to it. Perhaps because the most basic of human features issue in all characters and stories (especially the un-human ones) or more likely because Discworld is so complete in it’s creation- down to the cuisines of the various districts of this flattened fictional realm. Fans will be all too familiar with the ‘red hot ice cube’ consistency of a Klatchian Curry, or the dubious greasiness of some of Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler’s dodgy street food which is almost always served innabun.
No great surprise that someone made a cook book from it really, and as shameless merchandising goes, it’s bloody well done. Any Pratchett reader will love the little editor’s notes and communications with your marvellously naughty author, Nanny Ogg. You could happily read this from cover to cover with no intention of ever cooking or eating any of it, it’s a fun read. Similarly if all the in jokes and references mean nothing to you, there are some really cracking recipes hidden away in all this genre geek compendium.

It goes from the stupidly simple Special Nibbles to the day long saga of preparing Wow Wow Sauce, something for any level of cook and plenty of clever jokes in between. And there’s variety- hot stuff, sweet stuff, bakes and even a hangover draught, it’s a lovely little book. If I have to choose one favourite, it must be Lord Downey’s Mint Humbugs, a shockingly easy recipe for making your own hard boiled sweets which are really good fun to put together. As long as you leave out the arsenic. Ok you’ll get that joke when you buy the book, which you should. A must have for Pratchett superfans, and a really interesting and different addition to the kitchen arsenal of serious and recreational cooks alike.

Check it out.



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