This review is really an acknowledgement that there’s a nearly inifinite number of writings about Doctor Who done by the fans of the show over the past fifty years. Yes there’s fanfic where they’ve created their own stories, some using existing characters in new stories, some creating new characters in new situations. And then there are, err, cookbooks. Seriously you can’t be surprised that someone did did this, as I’m sure that there’s a Harry Potter cookbook or two out there. One moment… H’h — I found eighteen listed for sale right now on Amazon with such a culinary bent .
I’m not sure if these two cookbooks are actually fanfic but they come damn close. With the exception of the last two series, I’m reasonably sure I’ve seen every episode of Doctor Who that still exists and has been broadcast over the past forty or so years. Now I must I admit other than the Fourth Doctor, Tom Barker, and the jelly beans that he offered to damned near everyone, I don’t remember food being mentioned at all on the series, let alone enough to compile a cookbook!
Well, A Whovian Feast: A Doctor Who Inspired Cookbook for Discriminating Fans doesn’t actually bother with basing anything on the actual text of the series itself, but riffs off the idea that well, let’s show you:
TIME VORTEX TARTLETS Season 9, Story 64, “The Time Monster”
MARSH MINNOWS Season 23, Story 143b, “Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp”
WEEPING ANGEL FRUIT SALAD Don’t blink, or it will disappear into another dimension. A paradox, for sure. Series 3, Story 186, “Blink”
No explaining at all for how the recipes have anything to do with the episode. The recipes themselves seem to be workable though a little on the mundane side, and the author favors enough sugar to cause diabetic comas in individuals who aren’t diabetic: the Weeping Angel Fruit Salad calls for both one cup (225g) white granulated sugar and a half cup (100g) powdered sugar (icing sugar)! That’s for six to eight servings. If you’re a Whovian, there’s little in this work that recommends it to you. No, let me correct that: there’s nothing here that a Whovian will find interesting unless you need a lot of boring, mundane recipes you get anywhere.
Chris-Rachael Oseland’s Dining with The Doctor is rather different. First is she herself to the new series: ‘This book includes a recipe for every episode of the reboot. I did my best to keep each recipe genuinely relevant to the episode, so yes, there are spoilers in every single recipe. I’m not too worried about this since it’s safe to assume anyone who owns this cookbook loves the show as much as I do. However, if you’re a new fan, stop reading before you reach your latest episode. You’ve been warned.’
Second , even if many of her recipes really don’t come from episodes, some do and she does have a great affection for both the characters and the series in a way that Maguire,for example, might well take the same recipes and create a Harry Potter cookbook or even a Hobbit one with just a wee bit of tinkering. She’s Whovian through and through.
Her Wartime Cheese and Potato Dumplings with Fried Spam Slices riffs very nicely a Rose and Second Doctor scene in “The Empty Child/ TheDoctor Dances” episodes, where there’s a bountiful banquet set, which she notes couldn’t occur given wartime realities. So her recipe gives what would be on the table.
Another recipe for British style custard has this charming note: ‘Most Americans have never had the kind of pourable custard The Doctor drinks. The closest thing we have is vanilla pudding. To Americans, “pudding” is kind of like a less eggy, more sweet custard made so thick it’ll hold a spoon upright. The Doctor’s dessert was just as mysterious to us as real Root Beer is to you. Sure, you’ve heard of it. You’ve even seen it on television. But taste and texture are still a mystery.’
It’s a slim volume at just a hundred pages but a fun, tasty read. It’s available pretty much everywhere in both traditional hardcopy and as an ebook. I’d certainly recommend as a read if you like to cook and are a Who fan.