This unofficial cookbook is well-themed to everyone’s favorite holiday movie, “Hocus Pocus,” and is dedicated “to 90’s kids, and ’90s kids at heart!” It’s also a beautiful cookbook, filled with genuinely delicious recipes — well-suited for autumn dining — with clever names, and plentiful photographs. Each page is printed in full color, with a parchment style background, and fun and engaging layouts and design, with lots of overlays and lovely full-page photographs of many of the recipes. The paper and binding are top-notch, and I love the satin finish on the cover.
The book divides its delicious recipes into six chapters. The first section, Life-giving Fall Favorites, includes recipes for Bridget Bishop’s Baked Apples, Autumnal Pumpkin Bread, Black Magic Beef Stew, and a delicious pumpkin soup topped with roasted pepitas.
“Recipes for Salem Townsfolk” features recipes like Baked Witch Casserole, Gingerbread Witch’s House, and Mischief Night Pasta, which includes homemade pasta, bits of ground sausage, broccoli, butter, garlic, cream, and Romano cheese for a quick and delicious meal that won’t interrupt Halloween festivities.
Other sections include “The Witches Spellbook,” which includes spooky recipes for a Halloween party, two chapters on beverages hard and soft, and chapter for extras and desserts, “Odds and Ends.”
While a few classic recipes take some effort, most are easy as can be. My children’s favorite recipe is the Brown Butter Booook Blondies (with an “eye” on the “cover,” while my husband’s is Mother’s Scorpion Pie, a molasses and pecan pie that is truly scrumptious. My favorite, I have to say, is the Soul-warming Hot Chocolate, with almond milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and (optional) amaretto.
Other stand-out recipes, for my family, include the Witch’s Hair Pasta, a chuck roast Bolognese, rich with flavor, and the Life-potion Soup, a creamy zucchini soup, which is both inventive and delicious. Each recipe includes an engaging description, each running “amuck” with tie-ins to the movie. For this soup, the description reads, “You don’t need an enchanted song, a decent singing voice, or even the devil’s own book to make this next recipe. Just as you don’t need to suck the lives out of little children to stay healthy and strong – this life potion soup gives you a nice big serving of vegetables that will help keep you looking young… well, younger.”
This surprisingly well-written and designed cookbook is also a fun way to celebrate Halloween and the entire Autumnal season. I think it would be a great gift for any 90’s-minded family, like mine, gathering together on windy Fall evening to watch our favorite Halloween film, “Hocus Pocus!”