23 April 2013

Say "Cheese"

If there is one thing that changes in Walt Disney World more than the parks, it would have to be the food. We all have favorite dishes that we’d love to see stay on a given menu, or spread to other menus so we can have it more often, forever, but that’s not the nature of the culinary cabaret that is Walt Disney World dining. Even the most mundane item, like chicken fingers, isn’t safe from revamping.

Since the Vacation Kingdom opened its doors, guests have been able to request recipes of their favorite dishes in order to recreate the magic of dining in Walt Disney World at home, and to hold on to those dining memories long after their favorite treat or cut of meat had been discontinued. In 1986, however, Walt Disney World got wise to the cooking at home trend and offered up Cooking with Mickey around Our World. The cookbook sourced all of the restaurants of Walt Disney World to find the most sought after recipes and placed 350 of them in one easy to read volume. Of course, easy to read and easy to prepare are two entirely different things!

Cooking with Mickey covered a dozen categories, from beverages to sauces and desserts to poultry and seafood, no corner of the pantry was safe with these dishes. No corner of Walt Disney World was safe either! The recipes came from far flung resort restaurants, such as Crockett’s Tavern, and popular dining spots in and around the parks alike, including King Stephan’s Banquet Hall. These days it allows home cooks to recreate memories from the dining days gone by, it also allows us to try and craft dishes that we may have never tried at the time. Just like postcards and guide maps give us an accurate record of what the parks and resorts looked like in those early days, Cooking with Mickey gives the Walt Disney World historian a glimpse into what the parks and resorts tasted like in those formative years.

I know it is only a part of the 1986 marketing campaign for the book, but I love this picture of Mickey Mouse perusing through Cooking with Mickey in front of Cinderella Castle. I can almost imagine him trying to select the perfect dish with which to woo Minnie with. Of course, the simple fact that Walt Disney World thought the book warranted its own publicity photo tells you what a big deal they thought it was at the time.

Whether you are looking for the perfect recipe for your upcoming dinner party (I did mention they had cocktails in the cookbook, right?) or you are just strolling down memory lane, Cooking with Mickey around Our World has a ton to offer!

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