“Potterversity” Episode 29: “Pondering Pumpkin Pasties: Food in the Wizarding World”

It’s the holiday season, so it’s time for the magic of food on this month’s episode.



Food has a special role at this time of year – and in the Harry Potter series. Katy, Emily, and Louise Freeman talk about the food of the wizarding world: pumpkin pasties, Cockroach Clusters, butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, and all things wizard food. We look at how food operates as a metaphor and how it develops mood and setting in the series.

In the Harry Potter books, food serves important purposes in providing social opportunities for the magical community. Food is conspicuous in the Potter stories, even from the very first chapters. It’s used for humor, worldbuilding, and character-building across the series. The quality of food available to Harry often mirrors the quality of his life at various moments, representing alternately deprivation and abundance.

Food fellowship also pervades the series, from Harry and Ron’s first meeting on the Hogwarts Express to Weasley family dinners and Hogwarts feasts. Ron particularly has a hard time with food scarcity in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the catalysts for his leaving Hermione and Harry. We also talk about where food is portrayed as morally “good” and “bad,” its use to signal nationalist or ethnic identity, food symbolism in myth and ritual, dangerous foods, and the tantalizing questions about magical creatures as both predators and edible prey.

What wizarding world foods would you want to try? What would you like to hear more about from our podcast? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at PotterversityPodcast@gmail.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Laurie Beckoff

My Harry Potter journey began in 2000 when I was six and continued through a bachelor's thesis and master's dissertation on medievalism in the series. I'm a Gryffindor from New York City with a passion for theatre, fantasy, Arthurian legend, and science fiction.