Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not big on cooking. Yes, I can cook decent and nutritious meals, but I’m often too lazy to do so and end up just microwaving a Lean Cuisine or shoving a frozen pizza in the oven instead. When I do cook properly, any attempts to be creative end in tears, so I usually just follow the recipe or directions exactly. This means I’m not the sort who would normally have any interest in a cookbook, but when I walked into EB Games the other day and saw The Pokemon Cookbook by Maki Kudo sitting on the shelf, I bought it without hesitation.
The Pokemon Cookbook is only $23 at EB Games, and probably cheaper online if you’re willing to shop around. As you might expect, it’s aimed at children, so the first few pages give some pretty simplistic explanations of healthy eating, safe food handling and cooking tools. Throughout the book are a few pages that tell you how the recipes in the book can be adapted into other characters and useful ingredients you might like to have around.
The majority of the book is, of course, full of recipes. Every few pages there’s a picture of two or three dishes arranged in an appetising display, followed by a full page spread for each individual recipe. A full ingredients list is provided, along with a description of any ingredients western audiences may not be familiar with (some are difficult to find outside of Japan) and possible substitutions if you can’t get those particular ingredients.
The instructions themselves present the steps as a numbered list, and each step is described in simple, straight-forward language. The recipe page includes a picture of the finished dish, as well as detailed diagrams showing how to prepare various aspects of each recipe, such as cutting and arranging ingredients into the required shapes or preparing it for cooking. It also tells you how many serves you get from each recipe, but since the book is aimed at children, I’m assuming these serving sizes are relatively small; you’ll probably need to adjust and cook a bit more if you’re preparing the meal for adults.
The index at the back of the book is split into two sections; one lets you search meals by food type, while the other lets you search by Pokemon name. This makes it easy to quickly find your favourite Pokemon or pick a recipe if there’s something in particular you’re in the mood for.
There are 36 recipes in the book. Some are a little similar, and a couple show you how to make different character versions of the same dish, but overall there’s a good variety of dishes you can make from the book. You can make meat and vegetable dishes, bread or rice-based meals and a number of desserts. The only complaint I had (and it really is a minor complaint) was that I would have liked to see a greater variety of Pokemon represented in the recipes; there were three Pokeball recipes and six Pikachu recipes, and most of the Pokemon were lesser known ones from later generations of the games, so I found myself missing beloved characters like Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff and Gengar (and as a die-hard Eeveelution fan, I was sad that not one of them made it into the book, though their character designs would probably be complicated to turn into food). Still, once you’re familiar with the recipes, it’d be pretty easy to use some of the tips for adapting the recipes the book gives you to make your favourite Pokemon.
Once I’ve attempted a few of the recipes in the book, I’ll update this post with some photos of my Pokemon culinary adventures, but after reading it from cover to cover, I would definitely recommend it to any kids (or grownups!) who love Pokemon and want to learn to cook a few new recipes. Most (if not all) of the recipes in the book are healthy and the prospect of being able to cook and eat their favourite characters (yeah, I know it sounds bad when I put it that way) is sure to encourage people of all ages to try out more nutritious meals.