Cue the music: A long time ago in a kitchen far away….just kidding! But no. Seriously. Who doesn’t enjoy the Star Wars movies — at least the first three? My favourite will always be The Empire Strikes Back namely because two of my favourite screenwriters Leigh Brackett (think: The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye) and Lawrence Kasdan (think: Body Heat, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill) wrote it resulting in a really dark, yet nuanced and dramatic story. It’s not just a Sci-Fi film, it’s really so much more but you didn’t come here for my thoughts on movies! Part of why I’m excited for The Star Wars Cookbook by Lara Starr is because it’s an imaginative take on what a Star Wars-themed cookbook could be like. Did I mention it comes with themed sandwich/cookie cutters? As you’ll see from my pictures I’ve made good use of the Millennium Falcon and Chewbacca cutters.
The physical cookbook isn’t very big — measuring 8.5 x 6.5 x 1/4” — I think it makes a really great cookbook for older children, teens and adults. The recipes have been written in a way so that they’re accessible for younger home cooks. While some recipes such as the Hyperspace Energy Sandwiches need to be made using a food processor and the stove, this is a book that can be used by parents and kids so that they can enjoy their time together in the kitchen. Starr’s Introduction does a really great job of explaining helpful kitchen guidelines in a very Star Wars-like way: “The calm and steady mind of a pilot will enable you to prevent most mishaps in the kitchen.”
In the remaining five sections — Breakfast, Snacks, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert — there are a host of really, inventively-named recipes for cooks to enjoy. I must admit I got a real chuckle from names like the Ham Solo, Scruffy-Looking Nerf Burgers, and the “Punch It!” Pudding. The resulting meals are really recognizable — sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, onigiri rice sandwiches, quesadillas, cookies, pies, even the common childhood favourite: the PB and J sandwich. Since this is a Star Wars-based cookbook that PB and J looks like the Millennium Falcon after using the special cutter.
Speaking of those cool cutters, I found they worked fairly well. If you’re using the pre-cut white bread for your sandwiches they work perfect. If you’re using a full-seed or whole wheat I found the cutters worked better on bread that was toasted first — as it was for the Hyperspace Energy Sandwich. The cutters also worked well for the handpies and the cookies. The cutters can be used in a variety of recipes from the book (even if it’s not shown in the cookbook’s photos — Starr often suggests using the cutters “if so desired.” I could have used them to cut out shapes when I made the Quesogreedos but opted not to).
One of the surprising things about this cookbook was how tasty all of the recipes I tried are. I guess I had assumed that the emphasis would be placed on the theme not on the food but Starr really presents some delicious recipes that I’d definitely make again. The black bean patty for the energy sandwich had some really good seasoning — sage, thyme, ground mustard — that made me think of the meaty, sausage version I used to enjoy before I was a vegetarian. I also learned that when you make quesadillas if you butter the sides of the tortilla that will touch the pan, then press parmesan into the butter, when it cooks it will develop an insanely, crunchy crust! The extra texture here really adds to the quesadilla (I’ve since been told that you can use this same technique for grilled cheese sandwiches).
Sourcing ingredients can sometimes be a chore but I found that the ingredients used in this book were mainly pantry staples and I didn’t have to buy anything special (except for the pre-made frozen pie crusts for the handpies). Also, the book uses a variety of plant- and animal-based ingredients making it useful to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians (the focus of the book is Star Wars so there isn’t much emphasis placed on vegan/paleo/Keto/Gluten Free diets so it’s up to the home cooks to adapt the recipes if needed). Since this book is geared towards younger home cooks Starr ensures that the ingredient list for any given recipe is modest — so key when making recipes accessible for kids or young adults (which is not to say that as an adult I didn’t love cooking from this book because I did!).
The Star Wars Cookbook advantageously uses the Star Wars theme to make cooking from this book interesting and very fun, which is especially important if you’re looking to get kids interested in home cooking. Angie Cao’s styling and photographs pay close attention to detail and I found myself really enjoying each vignette. As always if you’re curious about what else I’ve made from this cookbook then checkout my custom Instagram hashtag: #starwarsistotallyshipshape. I think with the holidays coming up in a few months this cookbook could make the perfect gift for that Star Wars-lover in your life!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Raincoast Books and Chronicle Books for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.