Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Narnia Cookbook

The Narnia Cookbook: Foods From C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

Commentary by Douglas Gresham

Illustrations by Pauline Baynes

1998, Harper Collins Publisher

128 pages

This book is a wonderful companion to the Narnia books and/or movie. C. S. Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, wrote the foreword and the commentary that accompanies each recipe. He explains the origins of the recipes as well as how they fit into the world of Narnia. Quotes from the books also accompany the recipes.

I was surprised to find that this book is currently out of print. With the release of the new movie, you would think that Harpers Collins would have re-released it. Used copies are selling for $150 to $200, so borrow it from the library.

In making several of the recipes with my children, I found the book to be a great teaching tool. For example, when one child exclaimed, after trying the Turkish Delight, "This is what Edmund sold his soul for?" I reminded him that the Turkish Delight was laced with Magic. The White Witch made it so that Edmund became obsessed with getting more Turkish Delight. This led to a wonderful discussion about modern culture's obsession with getting more material belongings which led to another discussion about Lewis' genius in making his point without hitting you over the head.

Note that some of the recipes are more for an adult pallet and many American children are not used to old fashioned English cooking. We passed on the Stewed Eel and Chicken Livers Calormene. Yet, it was fun to try some of the recipes that were completely different from anything that we had ever experienced, such as Scotch Eggs.

The book ends with a few menu ideas so that you can create your own Narnian dinner party. Sounds like a great homeschool activity to me.

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