I just can't seem to get enough of Lillian Jackson Braun's "Cat Who' mystery series. I've
read most of the 22 cozy mysteries in the series and have started a collection of the books so I can someday read them from
in order from the beginning. In fact, my very first epinion was what was then the latest book in the series, "The Cat Who
I'm not alone in my enthusiasm. There are millions of fans around the world for the series about a prize
reporter turned columnist, Quilleran, and his two cats, KoKo and Yum Yum. After moving to a quaint, small town in Mooseville,
Quill gets involved in community life and makes friends, which leads to awareness of local mysteries. With the help of his
feline companions, the curious Quill then gets involved in solving the crimes. Guess who actually solves each book's mystery?
The Cat Who...Cookbook is a must for any Cat Who fans and collectors of Braun books. The companion book to
the series includes 200 recipes, including ones that are as much a part of the series as Yum Yum, such as Nasty Pastys.
Braun is NOT the author of this book. Mother and daughter Julie Murphy and Sally Abby Stempinki wrote this cookbook. They're
both college professors who are also Cat Who fans. According to the book's flyleaf, the two became quite well known in their
area for hosting parties with Cat Who themes.
The arrangement of this book would make it easy
for readers to plan their own Cat Who parties with appropriate menus. The organization is unusual for a cookbook but perfect
for this book. Cat Who fans will be delighted that it's organized by book, starting with the first down to the latest, "The
Cat Who Robbed A Bank". Each section begins with a menu for a complete meal found in the corresponding Cat Who book. Each
menu is followed by an a la carte section with recipes for individual dishes mentioned in the corresponding book. These are
beverages and foods served to Quillern and his friends or ordered at a restaurant. The last chapter, Feline Fare, contains
recipes to prepare for cats.
Each chapter begins with a plot synopsis of that particular book. Then there's a menu
for a complete meal found in the corresponding book. Recipes are preceeded by an excerpt from the book where the dish is mentioned.
There are a total of 220 recipes in this book. I personally prefer READING this book rather than putting it to practical
Practicality As A Cookbook
In my opinion there are many more books that are more useful as a cookbook
than this one is. My reasons come from a number of factors, such as:
...no pictures or even drawings of the dishes. I
would love to have seen even one two spread layout in color of some of the dishes like the famous pastys.
doesn't lie open flat for use on a kitchen counter while you're cooking.
...The pages are printed on a beige/tan colored
paper. This color is attractive, especially in conjunction with the cute cat drawings throughout the book, but it lacks the
high contrast of black and white and primary colors that are easiest to read when following instructions. In addition, the
type is sized for reading rather than the larger type found in some of the pure cookbooks like the Better Homes and Gardens
...a subjective reason involving my personal preferences. I don't usually eat or prefer to cook the kinds of food
that Quilleran and his friends would like. There are a number of recipes for basic dishes like chef salad but I already have
a standard way that I prepare most everyday fare and probably wouldn't change.
However, my eating habits probably
aren't shared by other Cat Who fans. I'd best describe my culinary preferences as regional, more specifically--Texas. For
me the basic food groups consist of barbecue, mexican food, chili and fried (like chicken fried steak). See what I mean? So,
don't go by my preferences. Instead, here's a partial list of some of the recipes in the book, so readers of this review can
see if they might actually use this as a cookbook:
with potatoes and mushrooms
stracciatella alla Romana
veal rib chop with wine and mushroom sauce
tarka dal (spiced lentils)
sea scallops in saffron cream sauce
black forest cake
I chose the above list of recipes very unscientifically,
but fairly, I think, by flipping through the book at random. Cat Who fans can predict the type of recipes in this cookbook
as it contains all those mentioned in the books of the series. The recipes range in difficulty and ingredient availability.
For example, a recipe for divine cinnamon buns, served to Quilleran by Aunt Fanny in the book "The Cat Who Played Brahms"
includes the standard ingredients: rolled oats, sugar, flour, dry yeast, salt, milk, water, sour cream, shortening, cinnamon
and margarine. A recipe for breaded baby squid derives from "The Cat Who Lived High" when Quill and his female escort are
served squid at the Casablanca. This is one of the strange ingredient recipes (I don't normally buy squid); however, the recipe
isn't very difficult and includes just eight ingredients. The directions are clear but not detailed enough for new cooks.
(As I updated this review with this info, I didn't have the book in front of me but I plan to add an example of the directions
as soon as possible.)
However, even if you don't prepare every single recipe in the book or even very many, if you're
a Cat Who fan, I can't imagine you not enjoying this book.
Besides owning all the books in the series, those who like
the cookbook will also want other Cat Who companion books, like:
The Cat Who...Companion
by Sharon A. Feaster
Lillian Jackson Braun: A Reader's Checklist and Reference Guide
by Checkerbee Publishing
book is $15.36 at Amazon but the site also has it used for $9.99.
Update; If you'd like to read my
first epinion, it's titled 'X-Files in Mooseville?" and is at http://www.epinions.com/book-review-2F0E-9F4B175-38AAB9E6-prod2
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