Chatting with Author/Chef Jenn Fujikawa of Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook

Last week, I got a jump on my holiday cooking and baking with the new kitchen tome from Insight Editions, Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook. Filled with colorful, and tasty Force-ful concoctions, this is the only holiday recipe guide any self-respecting Star Wars and Life Day fan can use to get through the jolly season.

I was offered a chance to exchange missives with the author/chef Jenn Fujikawa about the book, recipes, and Star Wars and found a kindred spirit. Check out our interaction:

The Mind Reels: How did you decide to write Star Wars: Life Day Cookbook?

Jenn Fujikawa: I’ve always loved Life Day because I always found it so heartwarming to see Wookiee culture portrayed in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Getting a peek into life on Kashyyyk and watching Malla cook along with Gormaanda seemed like tons of fun. So to get the opportunity to make Star Wars recipes that celebrate the holiday was a dream come true.

TMR: How do you go about crafting recipes that fit into the Star Wars universe?  Were you inspired by the films, or use some of the characters as launching points? Or did you imagine yourself visiting the galaxy far, far away?

JK: If I’m doing character recipes I study the creatures, droids, etc to get a feeling of their characteristics and how that would translate into food. I also get inspired by locations; planets, cantinas, anything that can be related back to in-world food. I watch the films over and over, almost daily, and use a lot of Star Wars books as reference too. I even go to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland regularly just to get a feel for being on a planet to see if that sparks any inspiration for creating in-world food that other fans will find interesting.

TMR: How do you come up with the names for the recipes? Were there some names or recipes that didn’t make it into the book? 

JK: I always make sure that the recipes relate to something real in Star Wars. For instance it’s known that millaflower is red, so I used that as a starting point to create food of that color. I do my best to research the planets to get the flavors and spices that might be aligned with that area of the galaxy. It’s probably over the top, but I want to make sure that fans feel like they’re actually cooking and eating food from within the Star Wars universe.

TMR: Is there one recipe in the book that you are most eager to have people try out?

JK: I think I’m most excited to have people try the Bantha Surprise. After all, that’s the original Life Day recipe that Malla made in the Star Wars Holiday Special and I think it’s a fun way for fans to connect to the holiday. 

TMR: Is there one or two recipes in the book that you think are particularly good for entertaining?

JK: It’s important to me to always include a variety of allergy-free recipes in all my books so that everyone can enjoy Star Wars food. While most of the recipes can be adjusted, I created some that were specifically allergy-friendly, like the Kebroot Parcels, which are essentially vegan tamales. Tamales are a traditional holiday food and these are great to make in a big batch for a family party. The other recipe I’d recommend for entertaining during Life Day is the Joh Blastoh Punch. I named it after the festive Huttese holiday song. It’s colorful, delicious, and great for drinking while you sing along during Life Day.

TMR: As a fan, what is your strongest Star Wars holiday/winter memory?

JK: Growing up, every Christmas my brother always received the most amazing Star Wars toys; figures, ships, anything and everything, and I always wished I got them too. The major one being when he got the large scale AT-AT. I wanted that so bad. Not that I couldn’t play with it but it was definitely his. When I grew up I finally got one for myself. Now that I’m older I can buy all the toys I want and don’t have to covet my brother’s! 

TMR: If you had to spend a Life Day in the Star Wars galaxy, what planet would you choose to be on and with who from the Star Wars Universe and why?

JK: Hm, probably Kashyyyk since there are so many traditional Life Day celebrations that happen there. Or maybe Endor. They really know how to party. 

TMR: Now that you’ve done this Star Wars cookbook – is there another pop culture cookbook you’d like to do next? 

JK: I actually have five cookbooks coming out next year in 2022 and they are each ones that I’ve always wanted to do, so I was honored to be asked to write them. You’ll have to wait to find out what they are!

See what I mean?! Total kindred spirit! Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook now sits proudly in my kitchen, ready to be called into action as Life Day approaches, and there are a few I’m looking forward to whipping up. Pick one up for yourself, and give all your holiday celebrations the Star Wars touch they need.

Star Wars; The Life Day Cookbook is available now from Insight Editions! Check it out here!

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