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In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the kids and Arthur get to The Burrow from Privet Drive and Molly is cooking and raging about Fred and George's shenanigans, the following occurs:

Mrs. Weasley slammed a large copper saucepan down on the kitchen table and began to wave her wand around inside it. A creamy sauce poured from the wand tip as she stirred.

In Deathly Hallows, Hermione says that this is not possible:

“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—”

So how was Molly causing sauce to pour from her wand, seemingly out of thin air?

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    I'm sure I read somewhere that Molly had a little bit of sauce in the pan already and simply made more of it, just can't think where I saw it now! Jun 22, 2015 at 0:38
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    I don't think this is a dupe. The answer in the other question says "I don't know" re: Molly producing sauce from her wand. That is not a useful answer. As to JKR being inconsistent, that, too, is not that case. She has always been clear that you cannot create food from thin air, but you can summon food that already exists (i.e. Hogwarts food for its students) from Point A to Point B. Neither are the questions asking about the same thing. I say it's not a dupe -- just my $0.02. :) Jun 22, 2015 at 0:48
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    Actually, they can make food out of thin air. It will just disappear in a few hours, and have zero nutritional value. Makes a great filler without the fat afterwards.
    – user16696
    Jun 22, 2015 at 6:02
  • Fair call @Slytherincess ;) Jun 22, 2015 at 6:47
  • "I ordered my hot sauce an hour ago" - The Protagonist
    – Möoz
    Feb 1 at 22:35

4 Answers 4

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Since we know that real food can't be created from nothingness, that leaves us with a few options:

  • Molly is summoning the sauce from somewhere else, presumably elsewhere in the kitchen (decidedly possible. We see this happen repeatedly in the Hogwarts Dining Hall).

  • There was already some sauce in the pan and she's using a spell to make it expand (unlikely, given how clean she likes to keep them).

  • She's transforming something else in the kitchen into the sauce (like how a trek-style replicator works).

Or my personal favourite explanation;

  • Like Leprechaun gold, food that is created using magic will evidently dissipate after a while. Molly is conjuring a magic sauce to bulk out the real food (perhaps a low quality meat). As long as there's some nutritious content, when the sauce goes 'poof' they won't starve. This also explains why Ron and his brothers are so skinny despite everyone in the family taking second servings.

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    Your final answer is also inkeeping with the poor financial situation of the Weasleys, which makes it seem like the most logical answer to me. +1 Jun 22, 2015 at 7:57
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    I think it's the opposite. What chef or health minded person wouldn't want all the flavor and sensation of fancy food without the negative health aspects. In real life it would be a luxury not a poor man's option.
    – user16696
    Jun 22, 2015 at 12:25
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    @cde - I rather suspect it would explain why so many wizards seem so dammed unhealthy. Why buy quality steak when you can buy donkey and make it taste like steak?
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2015 at 14:13
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    to be fair, all food that was cooked eventually goes back to its original form (ie constituent nutrients, not donkey steak turning back into real donkey, that is!). BTW horse meat (or donkey, one presumes) is just as much meat as beef, but quite a bit less fatty.
    – gbjbaanb
    Jun 22, 2015 at 15:14
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    Why so negative regarding donkey meat. Originally salami was, and in some places still is, made of donkey meat. And as gbjbaanb mentioned horse meat is the healthier, and in my opinion tastier, choice than beef.
    – Thomas
    Jun 23, 2015 at 13:14
36

Gamp's Elemental Law of Transfiguration does not allow a person to conjure food from thin air. It does not allow food to be made from that which did not exist before. However, J.K. Rowling has made it very clear that food that already exists can be summoned from one place to another. Molly likely summoned the sauce from another area, and channeled it so it poured from the end of her wand into the pot.

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  • "Accio sauce!"
    – SQB
    Jul 16, 2021 at 14:59
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We see characters absorb things into their wands, for example when Hermione cleans spilled ink off of someone's homework. It is sort of sucked into the wand tip. I always suspected that Molly made a sauce earlier and, as many mothers might freeze food for later, absorbed it into her wand for use when she was cooking.

I don't recall much being expelled from a wand in this style, though warm air is used from the wand to dry clothes etc. Though I'm not saying they sat by a fire once absorbing warm air for use later.

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    Good point. Can you think of an example where we see them expelling it afterwards? That would turn this from an okay answer into a great one.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2015 at 20:55
  • Edited to feature the only expelling I can think of.
    – ThruGog
    Jun 22, 2015 at 21:01
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    Ooh! That might explain scifi.stackexchange.com/q/33468/4918
    – b_jonas
    Jun 23, 2015 at 13:03
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Food is a rather imprecise term.

Magic can conjure things a person can swallow, and can surely alter the taste of something. We even know that magic can even conjure things that are healthy to consume, such as water.

It is not a stretch to imagine that the sauce, while delicious, does not count as food in the relevant technical sense.

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