A recipe for dissection

18 Apr 2008 14:58:00.000


Jamie Oliver transformed school dinners, Delia Smith taught us how we can cheat at cooking and through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall we've learnt to live off the land. Now a University lecturer has devised a cookbook to teach his students about anatomy.

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Biomechanics expert Dr Donal McNally, from The University of Nottingham, devised the cookbook to help students who have missed out on the opportunity to study real organs at first hand. The culinary guide, which is featured in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), includes photographs and diagrams, medical and health tips and links to word definitions.

Dr McNally, Scientific Director of the Institute of Biomechanics, said: “If you are prepared to think about your food in a radically different way, your kitchen can become a fun place to learn anatomy. You even get the bonus of a really tasty meal at the end.”

The anatomy cookbook: a dissection guide with recipes opens with a recipe for Maple Glazed Ribs. Dr McNally suggests this is an ideal start to the study of the ribs and costal cartilages as well as the muscles of the thoracic wall.

Before reaching for the oven the book guides the cook through the anatomical detail of the ribs, spine, knee joint and bones of the lower limbs, the liver, heart and kidney.

Dr McNally says this is not an alternative to a standard anatomy text book — but it will be useful as a laboratory supplement. He said: “This book uses easily available cuts of meat to enhance my teaching and the course textbook. It highlights textures, 3-dimensional structure and even the smells of the body, making anatomy so much more memorable and enjoyable.”

As well as being distributed free to his students Dr McNally's cookbook is now on line through U-Now — The University of Nottingham's open courseware initiative. U-Now makes samples of e-learning material from across the University freely available to individuals and organisations outside the institution. The cookbook can be found at


The book is a creative teaching tool and not a commercial venture. Dr McNally said: “There are many fantastic textbooks, software packages, models and websites. However, none of these resources can communicate the full three dimensional deformable nature of the body structure.”

Read more about Dr McNally's cookbook in the BMJ at


Brady Haran, filmmaker-in-residence for Nottingham Science City, also features Dr McNally's anatomy cookbook on the Test Tube website. For more on this go to


— Ends —

Notes to Editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for three years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Story credits

More information  is available from  Dr Donal McNally  on +44 (0)115 8466375, donal.mcnally@nottingham.ac.uk or Media Relations Manager  Lindsay Brooke  in the University's Communications Office on +44 (0)115 9515751, lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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