According to Hermione in DH, food is one of the Five Exceptions to Gamp's Law on Transfiguration.

Yet, in CoS, Professor McGonagall is able to give Harry and Ron a plate on which sandwiches appear continously. One can object that some sandwiches cannot be considered as food, but they still are. The same can be said about Molly Weasley making sauce from her wand in GoF while grumbling about how the twins abuse magic.

Is there any canon explanation on how McGonagall and Mrs Weasley created food from nowhere?

By canon, I mean anything coming from the books, Pottermore, or JKR quotes.

  • You could just as well ask how Professor Dumbledore has created the food for the start of year feast in PS.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 6:46
  • @b_jonas actually, that point was explained in GoF, when Harry & co. went to the kitchen with the house-elves. I don't recall the exact words, but I'm sure that the fond apparition is explained
    – Orlahm
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 6:49

1 Answer 1


McGonagall doesn't create the sandwiches with magic, and neither does the plate. She essentially summons/displaces a plate from the Kitchens or Great Hall, which is magically linked with identical plates in the Kitchens. The House Elves make the sandwiches, place them on the plate in the Kitchens, and then they're magically transported to the paired plate elsewhere (usually on the tables in the Great Hall).

There's a description of the kitchens in Goblet of Fire, Chapter 21 - The House-Elf Liberation Front:

he [Dobby] seized Harry’s hand and pulled him off into the kitchen between the four long wooden tables that stood there. Each of these tables, Harry noticed as he passed them, was positioned exactly beneath the four House tables above, in the Great Hall. At the moment, they were clear of food, dinner having finished, but he supposed that an hour ago they had been laden with dishes that were then sent up through the ceiling to their counterparts above.

As far as Mrs. Weasley's wand producing sauce, I really don't know how that works. That happens in Goblet of Fire, and Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration doesn't appear to be mentioned until Deathly Hallows (three books later). Here's what Hermione says about it:

“Your mother can’t produce food out of thin air,” said Hermione. “no one can. Food is the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfigura—”

“Oh, speak English, can’t you?” Ron said, prising a fish out from between his teeth.

“It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some—”

It could just be a case of JKR being inconsistent, and not having thought up Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration (and its exceptions) prior to that point. Not being able to magic up food was important to the plot (it was one of the things that created tension between the trio) during Deathly Hallows, but hadn't been at any point before that since they'd always been at Hogwarts eating (usually) three meals a day.

  • This makes sense, but how about Molly Weasley's sauce ? She doesn't have House-Elves to create sauce to help her...
    – Orlahm
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 15:53
  • @Vrashnak That one I'm not sure about, will need to find the relevant quotes. Give me half an hour or so. Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 15:54
  • Go on :) I'm not that impatient to get my answer
    – Orlahm
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 15:55
  • The general point is that Molly simply could not have created the sauce, as it is a food. More likely, she transported it from some jar at home. Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 17:34
  • 8
    Speculation (I know very little about HP) - maybe she has a small amount of sauce somewhere, transports a teaspoon of it into the bowl, then "increases the quantity".
    – Paul
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 18:16

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