Eat What You Watch

Book by Andrew Rea

Reviewed by Danielle Housenick

I have a confession. I’m addicted to cookbooks. The uniform lists of ingredients, measurements, step-by-step instructions and glossy photographs of tempting foods pull me in and show me what is possible if I only julienne, broil, whisk or sous vide. Only one problem – I don’t cook. Oh, I can cook – I just don’t. My husband does (yup, I am a lucky lady). Luckily, he is brave enough to accept the culinary challenges I cull from my collection of cookbooks.

Eat What You Watch by Andrew Rea offers over 40 recipes inspired by cinematic scenes. This time I was convinced I would be the chef. Now to choose what to make. Should I choose based on movie? Main ingredient? The book features foods from a few of my personal favorite movies: a Hawaiian burger from Pulp Fiction (if only it was a Royale with cheese), blueberry pie from Stand By Me (no cherry flavored PEZ?). Tough choice. Ultimately, I chose to make a recipe that my whole family could appreciate – butterbeer… non-alcoholic, of course. My husband and I are huge Harry Potterheads and my daughters are engrossed in the series now as well. We visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year, so I was excited to see if a homemade version of the sweet, foamy confection could measure up to the real thing.

Butterbeer is one of the simpler recipes in the cookbook. It calls for just six ingredients. Basically, cream soda is topped off with a creamy, buttery, foam that smells as heavenly as it tastes. Now it was time to find out what my experts thought of the homemade butterbeer. When I asked my family if the butterbeer tasted like the drink we had at the Wizarding World, I got two answers: “Yes!” and “Totally.” When I asked them how my version from Eat What You Watch tasted they answered with just one word: “Awesome!” Their declaration was confirmed as they slurped the last dregs from the mugs and wiped away sticky butterbeer mustaches. No doubt, there are other versions of this recipe out there, but I had to agree this one was pretty magical and easy to make.

For me, food is all about connections. It is a connection to my family history, new memories with my daughters, and places I visit. The fact that I can make one of the dishes featured in a movie provides one more connection. So, what should I make next? Giant pancakes inspired by Uncle Buck? Beef bourguignon from Julie & Julia? Probably not the breakfast dessert Pasta from Elf. But a date night with Roman Holiday and some hazelnut gelato just may be on the menu soon if my personal chef is up for it. In the meantime, I must agree with my favorite character, Sirius Black:

“That’s right, come on, let’s all … let’s all have a drink while we’re waiting. Accio Butterbeer!”

~ Sirius Black

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