Fiction Reviews

Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook

(2016) Joanna Farrow, BBC Books, £14.99, hrdbk, 159pp, ISBN 978-1-785-94052-1


Talk about gilding the lily, or more appropriately, over-egging the pudding, but the BBC have just gone and brought out Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook. However, believe it or not, this is not their first attempt at something like this, because back in the day when Doctor Who was restricted to annuals, Target novelisations of storylines and the odd special edition to commemorate the 10th or 20th anniversaries, there was a 1985 Doctor Who Cookbook but let’s leave that consigned to the history bin along with other '80s 'things' like over-produced pop songs, strange hair styles and women’s clothes with power shoulders.

This time round, food writer, Joanna Farrow, has produced a glossy affair containing '40 wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey recipes'. After an introduction, the book unfolds into several sections, such as 'Speed of Light Bites', 'Tardish of the Day', 'Eggs-Stir-Mix-Bake', 'Hello, Sweeties,' 'Tea-Time Lords', and 'Timey-Wimey Templates'.

The very first recipe is 'Atraxi Snax' with something that is supposed to look like an alien spaceship, but looks more like a clock that would be placed against woodchip wallpaper in the 1970s. 'Cybermelts' are actually slices of bread with cheese and cucumber and radishes, cunningly put together to resemble the head of a Cyberman. So easy to make, even I can do it – 'I’m melting,' whines a Cyberman as their head warps out of shape. This is followed up by things like 'Timey-wimey' watches, a vegetarian version of a sonic screwdriver, even a portion of fish fingers and custard, which one Doctor was fond of – come on, own up, which one of you was it? Actually, it was Matt Smith who enjoyed this dish with a young Amy Pond – where was her social worker at the time? We continue in Matt Smith mode with 'pasta bow tie' salad.

Dishes move up a gear in 'Tardish of the Day' with the amazing-looking (but oddly, or maybe oodly repulsive-looking) 'Ood Head Bread'. The Slitheen make an appearance thanks to a combination of potatoes, peppers, and olives - scary - and the stretched out Lady Cassandra O’Brien Dot Delta Seventeen is recreated in pizza form. 'Zygon Pie' is never going to replace 'Shepherd’s Pie', and while 'Inside a Dalek' salad, looks amazing or disgusting depending on your point of view, you probably don’t want to eat one. But it wouldn’t be Doctor Who without his old enemy in the form of an 'Extermi-Cake' followed by the 'Dalektable Army' – okay, basically upside down cupcakes. Other baddies appear in cake form like the Silence, and those jaggy-toothed Christmas Snowmen.

'Hello Sweeties' if you haven’t guessed is about the sweeter side of time-travelling-eating, so we have fruit salad eye stalks' which would be at home on a Dalek’s head, then we have the green-tinted 'Exterminated Jelly Skeleton' before pavlovas, brownies, soda drinks, and bananas get the Time Lord treatment.

If the sugar rush hasn’t gone to your head by this time, it is 'Tea Time Lords' time, with recipes for cookies that look like all the Doctors – really? Well, don’t look too closely, and the early Doctors seem to suffer more than their more recent regenerations, but the cookie K9 is more like it, and so is the TARDIS cake. There is even room for 'Captain Flapjacks' among other things.

The cookbook is nicely round off by some handy templates to help get those monsters into the right shape.

This is a highly-produced book, full of pictures of Doctors, companions and baddies. and is probably critic-proof as the real proof is in the pudding, or the cooking, baking, and eating. Children will have great fun trying to make these recipes and turning the kitchen worktops into sticky, flour covered battlefields worthy of wars on Skaro, while I can just imagine a bunch of adult Whovians getting together for a bake-off. Extermicake!

Ian Hunter

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