It may have been mentioned before on this blog that I belong to a Harry Potter book club. Specifically, it is called the Harry Potter Book Club, or HPBC, and its motto is “No Quitters!” The club’s lore goes back a few years to an initial core of 5, dedicated to rereading all 6 existing Harry Potter books before the release of book 7 and discussing each in turn. (Book 7 came out on my wedding day and if that was not fortuitous, I don’t know what is.) As you are likely aware, JK Rowling finished the series and we had to move on to–gasp–other books. Which we did, and ultimately adopted some new members and sometimes have social functions with a larger group of friends.
Sadly, the HPBC is about to suffer the (geographic, not emotional) loss of one of its founding and most active members, who is moving away to the Muggle-ridden city of New York. It was in honor of this member that the club threw a surprise going-away-Harry-Potter-Hogwarts-themed party last night. Because frankly, a Harry Potter themed party was long overdue this group and we were just waiting for a momentous occasion.
My first sight of the decorations convinced me that we had outdone ourselves. Not only had store-bought HP themed merchandise (tablecloth, plates, an exciting banner reading “A Magical Day!”) been procured, but one member had created the most realistic rendition of the Sorting Hat that I could imagine. It was even a pinata, but none of us could bear to destroy it, so the candy remains inside. Another member expressed a strong talent at imitating the voice of the Sorting Hat, and sorted all of us– a nervewracking moment to be sure. (I took a quiz online that had me in Ravenclaw, if you must know, but I’m lobbying for Gryffindor and the hat agreed.)
When planning the event, we had come to the idea of having themed food, stuff you might eat at Hogwarts, or things actually mentioned in the books. Butterbeer, chocolate frogs, pumpkin pasties. And somehow as we were volunteering for tasks, I ambitiously volunteered to make a bit of the food. Dessert and beverages had been delegated elsewhere so I mainly had to come up with the “dinner” portion of things– sounded simple at first, then I heard the head count was at 10 people and the most I’d ever cooked for was 6, and then I kept looking up British cuisine and just finding things like mincemeat, or kidney pie, or bread puddings that sounded very thematic but not very appetizing. Also things seemed geared unanimously toward cold weather, and it is blazing summer. Also while you get a lot of results if you Google “Harry Potter recipes”, they’re mainly for sweets. Though I almost suggested to the group that perhaps pizza would be better after all, in the end, 2+ days of cooking (plus trial runs eaten by my husband and other friends) culminated in the following (recipes, actual; Hogwartsish named, made up on the spot) :
Seamus’s Irish Beef Pie*
*Seamus’s Irish Beef Pie was dictated to me over the phone by my mother and so I don’t have a link to it– leave a note if you want it emailed to you. Also, the stuffed mushrooms can be done dairy-free by using olive oil instead of butter and leaving out the cheese. I did that and also used store-bought breadcrumbs rather than making them.
The coup d’etat were cupcakes custom ordered from Sweet in Harvard Square…
Basically, we were a bunch of happy wizards. I (strangely) don’t have any worthwhile pictures of the food I made, but if anyone who was there contributes better/additional pictures I can add them. My camera was on the fritz and I was a bit busy. I should mention that our hostesses’ kitchen was a REAL kitchen– not a tiny galley like I normally cook in– and when I walked in there to get set up and make food, I felt like I was on Top Chef or something, and had this amazing space and equipment all to myself. Kitchen heaven! Good friends! Golden Snitches!
…No quitters! Even in New York!