More Than Two Decades Later, Robin Davis’ Star Wars Cookbook Delights Fans of All Ages
Twenty-one years ago, in a conference room far, far, away—well, in San Francisco—Robin Davis sat down with the team at Chronicle Books to brainstorm what would become The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes. The biggest challenge of this mission? To write a cookbook in six weeks, without a single misstep, that would please even the most ardent of Star Wars fans and stand the test of time.
The fact that Davis was able to accomplish her mission without any major snags, and write a cookbook that people still ask her about over two decades later, can only be explained by one thing: The force is strong with this one.
We caught up with her this year for Star Wars Day to reminisce about her blockbuster hit cookbook, the recipe that made the book famous, and more delicious behind-the-scenes secrets.
Was the book a tough sell, or an easy pitch?
Actually, Chronicle Books kind of pitched it to me! They were doing a package with Lucasfilm. At the time I was working for the San Francisco Chronicle food section and they came to see if I was interested.
There were a couple of caveats though. One of them was that we had to turn it around in six weeks which is an insanely short amount of time. I was dumb enough to say sure! I had never written a cookbook before and this one was kind of a no brainer.
What was it like to come up with Star Wars recipes? Did you have a geek squad to help?
We sat down on a Friday afternoon and brainstormed things we wanted to include. So much of the book are these funny rhymes like Wookie Cookies and Yoda Soda. And then from there we were like, ‘what are some other things we could do?’ It was all a lot of fun. I remember spending a couple of hours laughing hysterically.
There wasn’t anything complicated in this particular book and we wanted it to be kid-friendly. In the many years since it’s been published, I have had people tell me they use it as a basic cooking book too. All of the recipes needed to be things that were simple, easy to understand, and written for non-foodies, kids, or people who just wanted to cook.
What were the recipe shoots like?
I wish I had been on set when they were shooting this book. We had rights to use the figurines and that was fantastic. All of the artwork was done for real. No Photoshopping. I always talk about the Han-burger, which had a piece of yarn with paint on it that was supposed to look like ketchup. All of the things we can do on a computer now, they actually did in a studio and it was very cool. That is the most brilliant part of the book— the art.
The Star Wars fanbase is famously intense. How did they respond to the book?
I’m going to sound so old. It was 1997. So we didn’t have that instant tap-in to people that we have now with social media. Clearly it struck a chord with people, who really loved it and now there are entire new generations that use it. I’ve done a lot of things in my career and it’s still the number on thing that people will bring up to me. Any feedback we have gotten has been really positive. I haven’t gotten a character wrong or anything like that.
Is there a runaway fan favorite recipe in the book?
Most certainly the cookies. What I love now is that the audience right now is very young audience. I did a cooking demonstration and a book signing a few years ago, and the 3-4-5 year olds, were blown away by the idea of the Wookie Cookies. Once you learn the characters, that’s something that they know. Cookies are pretty universal.
My personal favorite though is Yoda Soda. I made it last summer when we were having a cookout. It’s limeade with a scoop of sherbet. We made it adult with a little bit of vodka.
How would you update the book if you wrote it today (if at all)?
I would keep everything pretty much the way it was. It could be due for another book thought because there’s so much more that’s gone on in the stories. You could do it a little bit differently for different fans. Make some recipes adult version— I’m not sure I would change the original but I think you could add to it. That might be a whole series of cookbooks to deal with.
Will you ever get sick of talking about this book?
No, I think it’s so much fun! I’ve done a lot of local TV in Columbus—there’s always someone who wants to talk about it. There is a very serious, group of people that just love May the 4th. How can you not get behind that?!
What does Kylo Ren make for a midnight snack?
OMG. Probably his own version of puppy chow. But I don’t know what that would be. Maybe it would be kind of minty, and chocolatey.
What’s the secret to making blue milk at home?
Well, food coloring is the secret! Gel instead of liquid. You can try to do it with natural dye but blue doesn’t exactly exist in nature the way it does in gel. Get a good gel food coloring and put just a few drops.
We asked Robin to describe off-the-top-of-her-head some of her favorite Star Wars recipes:
- Wookie Cookies: “I think of warm, fuzzy comforting goodness.”
- Yoda Soda: “Wise refreshing happiness.”
- Obi-Wan Kebabs: “Delicious, substantial, and something that will give you energy to fight through your day. “
- Sandtrooper Sandies: “Sandy and sweet and cute and fun.”
- Dark Side Salsa: “A little spicy, but you need a little bit of the dark side to bring out the goodness. “
- Jabba Jiggle: “How can you not love something that’s green and jiggles? Everybody’s food they hate but you love to hate.”
- C3PO Pancakes: “Happy and sunny and bright and conversational.”
Thank you Robin!
- Find Robin’s Star Wars cookbook at Amazon: The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes, $10.79 for hardcover spiral edition or spring for the Kindle edition right now so you can bake Wookie Cookies today on May the 4th.