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Cooking Space

May 19, 1999|CHARITY FERREIRA | Special to the Times

"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" is unlikely to make anybody's list of favorite food movies, although the dull clink of plastic as Luke scoops up that futuristic puree in Aunt Beru's kitchen still elicits an odd twinge of hunger from my stomach. Whether the film is a food movie or not, "The Star Wars Cookbook" (Chronicle Books, $15.95) by Robin Davis promises that the power of the Force is as present in our refrigerator as it is on the desolate ice planet Hoth. The kid-friendly recipes have undeniable appeal for kitsch-loving adult fans who know that there is no such thing as too many Star Wars product tie-ins.

Scenes from the trilogy are reenacted in 20 color photographs by Frankie Frankeny, with the help of what looks like an original collection of action figures. In the photo of "Twin Sun Toast," a plastic Luke gazes up at the Tattooine sky, which is mostly taken up by an enormous piece of toast with two hard-cooked eggs in the center. Yoda levitates a glass of "Yoda Soda" (lime sherbet and soda water) over the Dagobah swamp. A Tuskan Raider stands threateningly in a sand dune made of mashed "Tuskan Raider Taters." Rowdy Mos Eisley aliens belly up to the rim of a bowl of "Crazy Cantina Chili." Hanging off of a Millennium Falcon model, Han Solo blasts a stream of ketchup at two Storm Troopers, catching a "Han-Burger" in the cross-fire.

Trekkers seem less inclined to play with their food. The "Star Trek Cookbook" (Pocket Books, $20) by Ethan Phillips and William J. Birnes takes a more scholarly approach--think of Paula Wolfert making a guest appearance on "Star Trek: Voyager." Neelix, the Voyager's chief cook, describes the thrill of traveling around the Delta Quadrant, "sitting down to eat something I couldn't name, couldn't recognize, biting into a new, alive, exotic taste."

The book includes recipes for the foods eaten by characters from every Star Trek series and movie. The recipes are accompanied by Neelix's descriptions of hard-to-find local ingredients like Fargonian finger apples, Nezu candy-tufted mud fungus, Bolian tingle butter and a "tomato with see-through skin and seeds that sing" as well as suggestions for substitutions. (If you can't find crushed Bothan brain fluid, soy sauce will do as well.) There are also extensive notes on how recipes--like one for a chocolate cake that bakes for nine years and is made with nuts from a planet that is several lifetimes away--were adapted for 20th century Earth kitchens.

Reflecting the universe in the 24th century, the "Star Trek Cookbook" recognizes no national or planetary boundaries. Recipes for Scotty's haggis, Dr. McCoy's Tennessee Baked Beans and Captain Jean-Luc Picard's madeleines take their places alongside Klingon Throat Stew and Borg Tricorder Pie.

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