NANNY OGG'S COOKBOOK

by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs, and Paul Kidby

Doubleday

0-385-60005-4

176pp/12.99/November 1999


Cover by Paul Kidby

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

When a book has the name "Nanny Ogg" and the word "Cookbook" in the title, the reader can expect to find a book filled with odd and amusing recipes.  In this case, the reader would be half right.  The first half of the book is in fact filled with recipes for such gustatory delights as dried frog pills (p.88) and C.M.O.T. Dibbler's Sausage Inna Bun (p.51).  However, half way through, the recipes give way to Nanny Ogg's etiquette advice.

For the most part, the recipes look interesting and tasty and they warn the reader when to leave out a specific ingredient (see Lord Downey's Mint Humbugs, for an example).  Other recipes are clearly in the book for entertainment purposes, such as the Librarian's recipe for Bananas (p.80).  Nearly every recipe includes a good chuckle or laugh.  Even the section of Dwarf cookery includes some tasty items.

The second half of the book focuses on the rules of etiquette on the Discworld, and by extension in our own world.  Although Nanny Ogg writes thoughtfully on the best way to treat specific individuals, such as Granny Weatherwax, the suggestions she makes can apply equally well to many individuals people know in day to day life.

In many ways, Nanny Ogg's Cookbook is more humorous than many of the Discworld novels.  Pratchett and Briggs are not confined to the necessities of a plot when throwing out their jokes, resulting in more laughs per page than plot and characterization would normally allow.  Of course, a familiarity with the characters and settings  does increase the humor of the book.

Since Nanny Ogg's Cookbook is a British publication, the recipes are given in British measurements and use British terms, which might throw Americans who decide to purchase the book.  However, whether you purchase the book to actually prepare the food described or simply to read through, Nanny Ogg's Cookbook is an excellent addition to the world of the Disc.


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