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Sunday Brunch

January 23, 2011

Sunday Brunch: A Taste of the Disney Theme Parks' Cookbook

by Reuben Gutierrez

Author's note: After much deliberation, I'm delaying my planned entry for this week's Sunday Brunch simply because the original was too long and essentially covered two separate topics.  While both are exciting Disney Food reads, the latter, which will premiere next week, will be more satisfying after reading this one, so I thank you for your patience and hope you enjoy this week's Sunday Brunch!


(Image source: http://www.disneynewsarchive.com/images/covers/Scanned%202000%20Fall.JPG)
One of the things I missed most after the end of Disney Magazine was the "Specialty of the Mouse" column.  Sometimes the writers provided a restaurant review with recipes to follow and other times DM would publish readers' recipe requests from the Disney Theme Parks.  Fortunately, if you are dining at the parks or resorts and you absolutely cannot leave home without the recipe of what you just feasted on, the cast members will gladly provide any recipe you desire.  If you just couldn't make it to a Disney dining venue that year and you were yearning for a Disney recipe, you could always turn to Disney Magazine. 

In 2005, the lack of readership due to the dawn of the Internet age caused the 40 year old publication to cease printing new issues, taking with it, the resource of Disney recipe requests.  Thankfully, before the demise of Disney Magazine, the company finally answered the call of continued recipe requests by publishing a terrific book in 2004, Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs.  I have wanted this book for years, especially now that I am a culinary student, and thanks to an AMAZING Secret Santa, I finally got my wish! 

At first glance of the recipes, it seems to be organized rather confusingly since the recipes for desserts, appetizers, soups, main courses, etc. seem to be in no particular order at all.  Though confusing for chefs at home, to us Disney Fans, the recipes are organized by where in a Disney park they came from since guests will first remember where they had a certain dish.  Included are the Walt Disney World Resort (broken down into its respective theme parks, then the resort hotels), the Disneyland Resort (broken down like WDW), and the Disney Cruise Line. Upon closer look, you will see that within each category, the recipes are ordered by the time of day in which you would enjoy them: breakfast items first, followed by lunch items (sandwiches), appetizers, dinner courses, and finally desserts.  The book publishes the most requested recipes ranging from such classics tastes from The Plaza Inn Disneyland to the exotic flavors of Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Each recipe has been reduced from the large volume restaurant version to a size suitable for serving at home.  The recipes begin with a small description describing the final dish, where it came from in the world of Disney, and also gives a little history.  For example, "Chris' Cold Pie" is a lemon chiffon pie named for Christopher Disney Miller, the son of Diane Disney Miller, and Walt Disney's first grandchild.  It was named such because Christopher thought the pie was too cold.  The recipes are written with home cooking units (cups, tablespoons and Fauna's favorite: "tsps.") and understandable instructions.  Some recipes come with suggested wines where appropriate and others are sprinkled with "Cook's Notes," providing tips for improving flavors, serving instructions, where to find things in the supermarket, and other helpful tricks for making the recipe the best you can.

So far, I have tried out one recipe in this book and the results were quite successful.  In working with the book, I found the recipe very easy to follow as each step to the recipe is clearly explained in terms the average person understands.  In culinary school, you're taught a lot of culinary vocabulary and techniques that help you become a fancy pants chef, though chances are,  you've unknowingly done those techniques out of a cook book such as this one!  For example, the recipe for New Orleans Square's Choux Fritters (remember Tiana's famous beignets?) seemed very familiar as I read it; I realized that the first part of the recipe described the method for making pate au choux, the pastry batter used to make eclairs and creme puffs. The one thing the book lacks is photographs of the recipes.  It would be very helpful to have a visual of what you should be ending up with, especially if you've never had the chance to enjoy and see the dish at the Disney parks.  Overall, Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs certainly lives up to its name in providing a great variety of recipes from the parks and resorts and making it entirely possible to do it at home.

After last week's mouthwatering entry on getting a magical Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bar in your own neighborhood, I figured what better way to follow up than to invite you into my kitchen to cook up an actual Disney treat on your own.  With the help of Mickey and the Disney Chefs, come back next week for cooking up Disney Recipes with Reuben!

              

You can find Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs anywhere in the Disney Theme Parks where books or kitchenware are sold.  Some examples include the Yankee Trader in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, Mouse Gear at Epcot, and the World of Disney in Downtown Disney WDW and Disneyland.  You could also find the book online at laughingplacestore.com  or directly at http://www.laughingplacestore.com/Product-3474.asp. 

 

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