“Potterversity” Episode 39: “Considering Cockroach Clusters: Food in the Wizarding World – Part Two”

Return with us to the realm of refreshment in the wizarding world!



Following up on Episode 29, Katy and Emily continue our conversation about the food foundations of Harry’s magical universe, joined by guests Louise Freeman and Emma Nicholson. Australian Emma shares her different interpretation of wizarding foods based on her cultural heritage, including her expectations about butterbeer (why so sweet, America?). We ponder whether wizard butterbeer might have alcoholic content and consider the role of alcoholic beverages in the series, including firewhisky and (perhaps) Felix Felicis. On the subject of beverages, we explore the cultural and symbolic significance of tea, tea shops, and tea leaf reading, as well as pumpkin juice.

Emma also shares with us her thoughts on foods associated with Norse mythology, like mead, and how this opens up associations between characters and specific Norse gods (Dumbledore and Odin, Hagrid and Thor). She points out connections between food abundance and Norse myths, and we wonder, where do house-elves shop for food? Sweets not only seem to provide an entrée into wizarding society (“Happee Birthdae Harry”) but also signal rebellion in the series (“Have a biscuit, Potter”).

Potter fans make a lot of wizard food, and Emily asks, “Why do we want to eat these books?” Louise points out that the theme of food is central to the Potterverse, and also the Cormoran Strike series and The Ickabog. We Muggles have attempted to replicate the drinks, sweets, and staple foods of the wizarding world, and you’ll hear about ones we’ve tried and how we rate them. Food has an immersive quality that engages all the senses and allows us to feel more a part of this magical realm, but the characters’ reactions, and the foods’ dangerous and edgy qualities, also make us want to join in the fun.

In our special segment, we visit the Hogwarts kitchens to share Emma’s recipe for Cockroach Clusters (revolting and delicious!) and Louise’s experiment in competing butterbeers. Give these a try and let us know what you think!

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.

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.