The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook by Ashley Craft

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook is a fun one, starting with a map of the park and a description of the culinary specificities of each area. Not living in America, and therefore not likely to enjoy the rides or the foods there, this is the next best thing for me!

I’ve only ever been to Disneyland Tokyo and Paris. But for those of us who like to feel like kids again, it’s fantastic. I’m not one for scary roller-coasters so Disneyland reaches my perfect level of fright and I do hope that when the kids are a little older we’ll be able to bring them to one of the Disney parks around the world. For the time being, let’s look at the book.

In it you can mainly find snacking foods, savory and sweet, from the most simple 3 ingredient recipes, like the turkey leg, to the most sophisticated multi stepped ones, like the mickey macaron. Those by the way look particularly delicious and I definitely intend to try them out. Some recipes do have many steps and require the skills of a more seasoned cook, but they are well explained. I like making recipes from scratch, so I am fond of that. But a good number of recipes also have shortcuts and require such ingredients as vanilla ice cream, cake mixes, frozen tater tots… which is handy when you want to be quick. Obviously don’t expect healthy meals, that’s not the point, this is the height of party food.

There is a few general American classics that most people will probably have a recipe for already, like churros, caramel pop-corn, clam chowder, funnel cake, sugar cookies. But then again it’s good to have everything in one spot. Those are very much some of the park’s favourites and make sense in the book. What I’m particularly curious about, though, are the very specific recipes and Disney dishes like grey stuff gateau, Lefou’s brew, the Star wars green and blue milk as well as the Avatar Night blossoms. Those are the ones I am most curious about and want to try.

My criticism though, is that there is only about 1 picture for every 4 recipes, and for someone like me who had not been in the original American park it makes it hard to know what the final result should look like, and how to best present the dish. I also think more pictures makes for a more attractive and useful cookbook. I know that I often forget my picture-less book in favour of the ones which show me what I am aiming for. I find pictures more inspiring and I have a better idea as to what I can replace in recipes and how to present it if I do. A Disney cookbook is more of an occasional thing for me, as I’m a pretty health conscious cook, and most of the appeal of the book comes from how pretty the food inside is. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a picture for every single recipe.

But apart from that I do think this is a perfect gift for Disney and fairground fans, and I know I can very successfully pick a great birthday party menu for my kids in there. I really look forward to using it.

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