There are several new books just out this spring that deal with magic by way of cooking. It’s a delicious thought, isn’t it? Find a recipe that you can follow to get some magical results! It made me think about what other cookbook magic is out there…I remember reading a couple when I was a kid; I think my favorites were Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, by Mary Nash and a bunch of different books by Ruth Chew. Sadly, they’re no longer in print and our library doesn’t own them. (If you’re interested though, you can find used copies online.)
So if you’re a fan of cooking shows, or you’d like to have a little magic spicing up your kitchen, try one of the books on this list. I think you’ll find them to your taste!
* * *
A booklist of some magical recipes and extraordinary cooks!
Ames, Mildred. Is There Life on a Plastic Planet?
Hollis is miserable with her life. She hates her name, her mother keeps bugging her to eat healthy food, her cousin Addison makes her life miserable. Then Hollis meets Ms. Eudora, who manages a shop that sells dolls, and serves Hollis yummy éclairs while she listens to her problems. It’s Ms. Eudora who comes up with the plan…substitute one of her dolls for Hollis, and Hollis can spend her days at the shop with Ms. Eudora and her magical éclairs. But is it all too perfect to be real..?
Bosch, Pseudonymous. This Book is Not Good for You
Between the pages of this book lies the secret to the best-tasting chocolate in all the world. I promise, your taste buds will tingle. Your palette will sing! Oh no, have I accidentally tempted you to read this book? I will warn you, however, the most delicious things are never good for you…and this story is particularly scrumptious! In this tooth-rotting adventure, Cass’s mom has been kidnapped by the evil dessert chef and chocolatier, Señor Hugo! The ransom…the legendary tuning fork. Can Cass and Max-Ernest find the magical instrument before it’s too late? Will they discover the evil secret ingredient to Señor Hugo’s chocolate success? If you’re tempted, take a taste, but just remember…this book is not good for you.
Callaghan, Cindy. Just Add Magic
Take three friends. Add an old cookbook. Combine with cute boys and a pinch of magic…and see what kind of chaos ensues! When Kelly Quinn and her two BFFs discover a dusty old cookbook while cleaning out the attic, the girls decide to try a few of the mysterious and supposedly magical recipes that are inside. To their surprise, the Keep ’Em Quiet Cobbler actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and the Hexberry Tart puts a curse on mean girl Charlotte. Is it possible that the recipes really are magic? Who wrote them and where did they come from? And most importantly of all, when boys get involved, what kind of trouble are the girls stirring up for themselves?
Catling, Robert. The Chocolate Touch
John Midas loves chocolate. He thinks chocolate is better than any other food! But when John finds an odd coin, he buys a tiny piece of chocolate at an odd little shop. It’s the most chocolaty chocolate he has ever tasted. The next morning, John discovers that everything that touches his lips turns into chocolate—rich, sweet, smooth chocolate. Toothpaste tubes squirt chocolate. Water fountains at school spout streams of chocolate. This is a dream come true! But even greedy John finds that too much of a good thing can quickly turn from a dream into a nightmare—especially when he kisses his mother and turns her into a chocolate statue. Is there anything John can do to reverse this horror?
Connor, Lexi. The Chocolate Meltdown
Eleven year-old Beatrix, B for short, is a witch with a quirky talent. When she spells out words, magic spells take shape! B’s dad’s job at Enchanted Chocolates has always been a great thing — who doesn’t like free candy and special tours of a chocolate factory? But when something goes wrong with the new batch of treats, there’s nothing sweet about it! Everyone seems to be losing their magic touch — can B whip up a solution, or could this spell the E-N-D of witches?
Corbalis, Judy. The Ice Cream Heroes
Oskar’s mother is a famous mountaineer, off on a trip to explore the Himalayas. When he discovers that she’s forgotten her favorite ice pick, Oskar and his new friend Henrietta (a girl who wears a gorilla costume because of her job delivering gorillagrams) set off to deliver it to her in person. Along the way they meet a tribe of abominable snowmen; are held captive in a palace made of magically flavored ice cream by the henchmen of The Controller, a demonic thief with a cohort of mad scientists; and meet the Great Khone, an ice cream maker searching for the world’s stolen ice cream supply.
Corbett, Scott. The Great Custard Pie Panic
On a walk through the fog Nick and his dog discover a wonderful bakery that makes magical pies. Unfortunately, the owner turns out to be his archenemy, the evil magician Dr. Merlin! (Early Chapter Book)
Corbett, Scoll. The Lemonade Trick
A mysterious potion mixed by Kerby with his chemistry set has a beneficial effect on the neighborhood bully but also wreaks havoc at the Sunday School pageant. Try the rest of the series too…Kerby’s chemistry set has quite a few magical recipes in it!
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. All they have to do is find the golden ticket. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life! As he tours the magical candy factory, what will Charlie find there?
Dahl, Roald. George’s Marvelous Medicine
George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma’s in for the surprise of her life—and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture! George decides that his grumpy, selfish old grandmother must be a witch and cooks up some marvelous medicine to take care of her. (Early Chapter Book)
Dunbar, Fiona. The Truth Cookie
Lulu Baker’s dad is getting ready to marry his new girlfriend, world-famous model Varaminta le Bone. Everyone thinks Varaminta is fabulous. Everyone, that is, except Lulu. She knows that her stepmother-to-be, not to mention her awful son Torquil, is cruel, deceitful, and just using her father. But how can she make her dad see Varaminta and Torquil for who they really are? When a magical recipe book called The Apple Star finds its way into Lulu’s hands, she finds that some very unusual ingredients and some help from her friends just might do the trick.
Graff, Lisa. A Tangle of Knots
In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent!
Hashimoto, Meika. The Magic Cake Shop
Emma Burblee couldn’t be more different from her parents if she tried. She’d rather dig for treasure in a park than try the latest fashions or discuss their favorite subject: themselves. When Emma mortifies her parents, her punishment is to spend the summer with her Uncle Simon—a loathsome man with a huge appetite for food and get-rich-quick schemes. Although Emma’s days revolve around cooking and cleaning, there is one bright spot. Her uncle’s sweet tooth means she gets to visit the town bakery, Mr. Crackle’s Cake Shop, all the time. Mr. Crackle is as charming and kind as Uncle Simon is vile. But then Emma discovers a plot by Uncle Simon; he has set his sights on ruining Mr. Crackle and the entire dessert making industry! Can Emma stop their evil plan?
Kennemore, Tim. Circle of Doom
One day, Lizzie Sharp decides to concoct a potion to cast a spell on her family’s only neighbors, the unbearable, ancient Potwards. The very next day, Mrs. Potward breaks her hip and the couple disappear forever. It could be just a coincidence, but Lizzie is convinced of her own magical powers, and the temptation to involve both her younger brothers in her ambitious spellmaking plans is irresistible. As one potion leads to another, all three Sharp children become ridiculously entangled in a web of secrets, conspiracies, and misunderstandings.
Konigsburg, E. L. Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth
Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She’s also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is… different. She’s read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says “please” or “thank you.” And she says she is a witch. It’s not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw ends and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That’s when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that’s when trouble starts to brew.
Kramer, Stacy. Karma Bites
Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders. Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma. Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up. But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways. Ouch!
Lindsay, Norman. The Magic Pudding
The Magic Pudding is a pie, except when it’s something else, like a steak, or a jam donut, or an apple dumpling, or whatever its owner wants it to be. And it never runs out. It’s magic! No matter how many slices you cut, there’s always something left over. But the Magic Pudding is also alive. It walks and it talks and it has a personality like no other. A meaner, sulkier, snider, snarlinger Pudding you’ve never met. So Bunyip Bluegum (the koala bear) finds out when he joins Barnacle Bill (the sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (the penguin bold) as members of the Noble Society of Pudding Owners . This madcap childhood classic recounts the adventures of the three friends as they defend the pudding from thieves.
Littlewood, Kathryn. Bliss
Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. Aunt Lily rides a motorcycle, wears purple sequins, and whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, non-magical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun. So Rose and her siblings experiment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?
Littlewood, Kathryn. A Dash of Magic
Rosemary will do anything to get back her family’s magical Cookery Booke, even challenging Aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris. If Rose wins, Lily will return the Cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses . . . well, the consequences are too ugly to think about. But Lily isn’t playing fair—she’s using a magical ingredient to cheat. The only way for Rose to compete is for her to find magical ingredients of her own. Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and her brothers race around Paris to find the magical ingredients that will help her outbake—and outmagic—her conniving aunt. She has to win or the Bliss Cookery Booke will be lost to her family forever.
Loftin, Nikki. The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy
Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy—Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones—and might even pick them clean! Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you’ve got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy.
Lowe, Natasha. The Power of Poppy Pendle
Ten-year-old Poppy, born to ordinary parents, inherits her famous Great Aunt Mabel’s genes—GAM was a famous witch. In Poppy’s world, witches work for good and are much valued, with powers both coveted and praised. But Poppy does not want to be a witch—she wants to be a baker, and she is extremely good at baking. Her parents insist Poppy follow in the footsteps of her great aunt, but Poppy has plans of her own. Part magic, part adventure, and wholly delicious, this spirited story includes more than a dozen recipes readers—and budding bakers—can try at home.
Magnin, Joyce. Cake: Love, Chickens and a Taste of Peculiar
Wilma Sue seems destined to go from one foster home to the next—until she is sent to live with sisters and missionaries, Ruth and Naomi. Do they really care about Wilma Sue, or are they just looking for someone to help raise chickens and bake cakes? As Wilma Sue adjusts to her new surroundings and helps deliver ‘special’ cakes, she realizes there’s something strange going on. On her search for secret ingredients, she makes a new friend, Penny. When Penny and her mother hit a rough patch, Naomi decides to make her own version of cake—with disastrous results. Then tragedy strikes the chickens, and all fingers point to Wilma Sue—just when she was starting to believe she could at last find a permanent home with Ruth and Naomi. Will the sisters turn her out, or will she discover what it feels like to be truly loved?
McGowan, Keith. The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children
When Sol and Connie Blink move to Grand Creek, one of the first people to welcome them is an odd older woman, Fay Holaderry, and her friendly dog, Swift, who carries a very strange bone in his mouth. Sol knows a lot more than the average eleven-year-old, so when he identifies the bone as a human femur, he and Connie begin to wonder if their new neighbor is up to no good. In a spine-tingling adventure that makes them think twice about who they can trust, Sol and Connie discover that dangerous secrets lurk in even the most pleasant neighborhoods.
McGowan, Keith. The Witch’s Curse
A shadowy witch, a cursed hunter—it’s tricky business for Sol and Connie as they face off against this awful pair. The kids narrowly averted being eaten by the last witch after them, and this time it doesn’t look any better. It’s a long way through the accursed valley, they’re running out of food and water, and that lodge on the mountain side with the collection of animals inside isn’t exactly comforting. Who can save them? The All Creatures Manager? A heroic woodthrush? The Camper Lady? The Know-It-All Cube? Or will they have to save themselves? And here’s the worst of it: little do Sol and Connie know that the ancient child hunter is about to wake up—thanks to the witch’s curse.
Mull, Brandon. The Candy Shop War
Welcome to the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream and Candy Shoppe, where the confections are bit on the . . . unusual side. Rock candy that makes you weightless. Jawbreakers that make you unbreakable. Chocolate balls that make you a master of disguise. Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon meet the grandmotherly Mrs. White, owner of the Sweet Tooth, and soon learn about the magical side effects of her candies. Then the ice cream truck driver, Mr. Stott, arrives with a few enchanted sweets of his own. The danger unfolds as the kids discover that the magical strangers have all come to town in search of a legendary treasure—one that could be used for great evil if it fell into the wrong hands. The kids, now in over their heads, must try to retrieve the treasure first. And so, the war begins . . .
Mull, Brandon. Arcade Catastrophe
In the sequel to The Candy Shop War, Nate and his friends meet Mrs. White’s brother Mr. White, who owns Arcadeland, a local amusement center. At Arcadeland, kids can play games and earn thousands of tickets, which are redeemable for one of four kinds of stamps jets, tanks, subs, and race cars. Could it be true that these stamps allow kids to fly through the air? Or breathe underwater? Or run faster than a car? But Mr. White is hiding a secret: when all four clubs are filled, he will be able to retrieve perhaps the most powerful talisman ever. For Nate and his friends, it will take more than candy to fight and win this war!
Ryan, Margaret. Magic Mistakes!
It’s the start of the autumn school semester and the fairies are learning a new subject—cooking! Who can make the best pudding? Airy Fairy is determined to do well in cooking class, but with Scary Fairy around to stir up trouble, things are bound to go wrong once again. Airy Fairy might be the clumsiest, most messy little fairy in town. Her wand is bent, her wings are patched with bandages, and her magic spells have a way of going wrong. Even so, she’s a lovable little fairy whose adventures have quickly become favorites among young readers.
Parker, Richard. M for Mischief
When they move into a new house, Andrew, Milly and Peg find a little round structure in the garden, complete with a stove inside. The stove looks like a normal one, except for the strange “M” on the dial. And then there’s the “Magical Cook Book” they find with the stove. Could it really be true? Andrew and his sisters can hardly wait to try it. Carefully, they set the stove dial to M. Then Andrew cooks an egg and eats it, following the directions. He can see himself perfectly fine though. But his sisters can’t. Andrew has disappeared! Now they have a magic stove and a whole book of spells to try. Can they keep their stove secret and keep out of trouble?
Rylant, Cynthia. The Van Gogh Café
At the Van Gogh Cafe, anything can happen. Clara’s dad owns the cafe, and she’s seen it all—from food that cooks by itself to poems that foretell the future. This award-winning collection of vignettes by Newbery medalist Cynthia Rylant is a treat to be relished. So bring your appetite for the unexpected, because at the Van Gogh Cafe, your order of tea and toast comes with a side of magic! The Van Gogh Cafe, located in Flowers, Kansas, has magic in its walls, causing strange and mysterious events to occur there.
Saunders, Kate. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop
Welcome to the most magical house in London. The family of eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long ago, the shop’s famous chocolate-makers, who also happen to be Oz and Lily’s great uncles, were clever sorcerers. Now evil villains are hunting for the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying powers of this magic chocolate have the ability to destroy the world. Soon, Oz and Lily are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat, and the ghost of an elephant. It’s up to them to stop the villians and keep the magical chocolate recipe out of harm’s way. Their family and the world depends on it.
Smith, Robert Kimmel. Chocolate Fever
Henry Green is a boy who loves chocolate. He likes it bitter, sweet, dark, light, and daily; for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; in cakes, candy bars, milk, and every other form you can possibly imagine. Henry probably loves chocolate more than any boy in the history of the world. One day, Henry finds that strange things are happening to him. First he makes medical history with the only case of Chocolate Fever ever–Henry breaks out in brown bumps which cause a series of events ending in a hijacking and a realization about chocolate and family.
Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins in the Kitchen
Get a unique glimpse at the famous Poppins cast as the spit-spot English nanny and the Banks children take over the kitchen for a week. With the help of familiar visitors like the Bird Woman, Admiral Boom, and Mr. and Mrs. Turvy, Mary Poppins teaches her irrepressible young charges the basics of cooking, from A to Z. And young readers can re-create the week’s menus by following the thirty different recipes. Kitchen adventures were never so much fun!
Weeks, Sarah. Pie
When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the Pie Queen of Ipswitch, passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily fat, remarkably disagreeable cat, Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice. Suddenly, the whole town is wondering how you leave a recipe to a cat. Everyone wants to be the next big pie-contest winner, and it’s making them pie-crazy. It’s up to Alice and her friend Charlie to put the pieces together and discover the not-so-secret recipe for happiness: Friendship. Family. And the pleasure of donig something for the right reason.
Wrede, Particia. Sorcery & Cecelia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot
Cousins Kate and Cecelia have always been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, they are forced to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with English society. At the initiation of a magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. Kate refuses the drink and the witch disappears as chocolate burns through her dress. Strange forces convene to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns.
* * *
As it turns out, magical cookery books seem to be very popular! Most of these titles were out when I made this post. If you’d like to place a book on hold in the Minuteman system, simply click on the title link and you’ll find yourself on that page of our catalog. Just place a Hold Request from there!
Enjoy! And if YOU find a mysterious magical cookbook, please bring it in and share with our staff! Everyone here would like a turn at some cooking magic! 🙂