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Pam Brandon reveals her recipe for the perfect Disney cookbook

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Pam Brandon reveals her recipe for the perfect Disney cookbook

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Time was that people went to the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts just because they wanted to experience all of the rides, shows & attractions and/or stay on-site at one of their hotels.

Remy's on board the Disney Dream is the new gold standard when it comes to a
first-class dining experience at the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Photo by Matt
Stroshane. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But over the past 10 - 15 years, another reason has emerged for folks to make special trips to Anaheim, Orlando and/or on one of Disney's cruise ships. And that's because they began enjoying the world-class cuisine that could now be found at Disney Parks & Resorts.

"Seriously, when Guests began flying down to Walt Disney World just so they could then go to dinner at Victoria & Albert's, that's when we knew that people's perceptions of the place had changed. At least when it came to the  quality & the variety of food that was now being served at the Parks & Resorts," said Pam Brandon.

The Chef's Table at Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And trust me, Pam really knows when it comes to Disney food. As the author - along with the Disney Chefs - of "Delicious Disney," "Delicious Disney Deserts," "Chef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault and Delicious New Favorites" and "Cooking With Mickey," Brandon has spent literally hundreds of hours backstage. Chatting with the Chefs & their staff in Disney Parks and Resorts kitchens. All as part of Pam's ongoing effort to make sure that the Guests can take a little Disney culinary magic home with them after they wrap up their Disneyland, Disney World and/or DCL vacation.

"Of course, the challenge here is that - when you're working with the Disney Chefs ... Well, they don't really write recipes. They create dishes. More to the point, when they're working in their kitchens, these Chefs will create a hundred servings of a particular dish. Rather than the six or so servings that a typical family needs when it sitsdown to dinner," Brandon explained. "Which is why it can sometimes be tricky when you're compiling a recipe, listing all the ingredients necessary to prepare a dish which will then taste just like it does whenever it's served at a Disney restaurant."

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, Pam faced an additional challenge with her most recent book, "Delicious Disney: Just for Kids" (Disney Editions, March 2011). Given that every recipe listed in this 48-page hardcover had to be one that a child could then prepare with a little adult supervision.

"We started with 100 recipes and then winnowed those down to 30-40 candidates," Pam recalled. "And then - from there - it was all about the testing. We cooked each of these dishes three times. Not only to make sure that the final product was Disney quality, but also to make sure that this recipe was actually something that a kid could cook."

Draining the pasta is a key part of the preparation for
the Cooking Place's Macaroni & Cheese. Photo by
Gary Bogdon. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

So - yeah - as you page through "Delicious Disney: Just for Kids" - you'll find some of the types of recipes that you'd typically expect to find in a kid-friendly cookbook. Like the Macaroni & Cheese that's served at Jiko - The Cooking Place at WDW's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Or the No-Bake Granola Treats that Disney's Contemporary Resort bakery makes.

But then there are the dishes that surprise. Like the BLT Tomato Soup that's long been a Guest favorite at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Or - better yet - the Ratatouille that's served at the Crystal Palace at WDW's Magic Kingdom Park.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Those sorts of choice were deliberate. You have to understand that kids' palates are far more sophisticated these days," Brandon continued. "So we wanted to feature some dishes in this cookbook which then reflected that change."

Well, I don't know about kids palates. But I have to tell you that - as I paged through 'Delicious Disney: Just for Kids" - I saw a lot of recipes that  appealed to my palate. Theme park favorites like Big Thunder Ribs. Which Disneyland fans have been chowing down on ever since these savory meat treats first appeared on the menu at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

As for Ms. Brandon, if she had to pick a favorite out of this new cookbook ... Well, it would be pretty hard for her to choose.

"I mean, I love the African Fruit Fool - which is so easy to prepare and so good for you too. But I also like the stuff that's really isn't good for you - not in large amounts, anyway - like the Florentine Cookies and the Potato Gnocchi," Pam laughed.

Getting ready to cut those freshly-baked Florentine Cookies. Photo by Gary Bogdon.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And while "Delicious Disney: Just for Kids" is expected to get a great response from Guests when it finally hits store shelves later this week ... To be honest, Ms. Brandon's already gotten the response that really counted.

"When we were doing the test cooking for all of the recipes in this book, what made me happiest was that the kids who were helping us out with the cooking couldn't wait to eat the food," Pam stated. "They just couldn't wait for these dishes to come out of the oven."

Chowing down on some Big Thunder Mountain Ribs. Photo by Gary Bogdon.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And while it would be nice if Pam could take some time to appreciate all of the accolades that will soon be headed her way ... To be honest, Ms. Brandon and the Disney Chefs are already hard at work on the next book in the "Delicious Disney" series. Which will celebrate all of the food that's served at Disney Parks and Resorts over the holiday season.

"And we're not just talking about Christmas. This cookbook will feature recipes which will be suitable for serving up on Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day and Hanukkah," Pam concluded. "So this next one should be a fun & informative cookbook as well."

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But for now ... Hey, don't let that "Delicious Disney: Just for Kids" name throw you. Because - to be blunt -- there are enough dishes in this cookbook which appeal to both kids & adults (like that Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast which is served at the PCH Grill at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort) that this new Disney Editions publication is well worth adding to your home cookbook library.

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