The fever surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens is hard to miss. Like, really hard to miss. It’s everywhere, from TV to Twitter to this very site. And, if you’re going shopping at the grocery store, you’ll see Stormtroopers, lightsabers, and Kylo Ren’s masked face plastered all over packages. It’s nuts.
On a recent fact-finding mission to Target, The A.V. Club found all sorts of Star Wars branded processed food, some of which hardly makes any sense. Sure, there’s your usual items like cereal, but now there are things like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, Popchips, and even Go-Gurt (blue raspberry ice-flavored yogurt with glow-in-the-dark packaging, anyone?). As our cart ran over with all these goods, we knew we had to do something weird. So we came up with a challenge: Could we—or, specifically, The Pizzle’s Dennis Lee—cook up a whole meal using nothing but Star Wars food?
ThinkGeek was kind enough to send The A.V. Club some Star Wars branded cooking equipment, including light-up lightsaber chopsticks, Millennium Falcon cutting boards, and R2-D2 measuring cups.
May the force be with Dennis Lee. More specifically, may the force be with his mouth, intestines, and general well-being.
Appetizer: Partially constructed Death Star Chex Mix tear-away bread with tauntaun cheese dipping sauce
The first thing I did was blitz traditional Chex Mix, the party-bowl favorite (or alone-time-eat-the-whole-bag favorite), in a blender until it became a flour-like powder. Since I was aiming for a crisp texture, I simply blended the pulverized snack with water until it came together as a Chex Mix dough. To cook it, I put it in a Death Star waffle press, and let that go for a full 20 minutes. With all my experience with home cooking, I never thought my life would lead me to a Star Wars episode of Chopped.
Then, using a box of Star Wars branded Kraft macaroni and cheese, I reconstituted the cheese powder with hot water and melted butter, to turn it into a thick cheddar powder dip.
The Chex Mix bread was surprisingly not too salty, with a hint of Worcestershire sauce flavor, and dipped into the savory cheese powder sauce, it ended up being pretty good, although I’m not sure I’d serve this at a party, unless I wanted to lose the respect of my friends.
Grade: B. Boring, but okay.
I started with Campbell’s Star Wars light side chicken soup concentrate, strained, and mixed it with the strained sauce from Spaghettios (a phrase I never thought I’d write), and let it simmer on the stove. As that heated up, I pureed the remaining pasta from the Spaghettios until it was a pasta mush, and returned it to the soup to thicken it up. Traditional bisque is usually thickened with rice, but listen, I was working in a made-up culinary world, so step off! I finished it off by topping it with cheddar-flavored Chex Mix.
Was it any good? It depends on what your definition of “good” is. If you like cafeteria soup that tastes like strange Spaghettio sauce, then this is the soup for you. Thankfully, the cheddar Chex masks the flavor of the sickly sweet tomato sauce with a pop of salt and autolyzed yeast extract. Autolyzed yeast extract is what food manufacturers use to avoid putting MSG on the ingredients list; it has a lot of those savory MSG qualities without being called MSG. Since the Sith are nihilistic assholes and hate everyone, I’m pretty sure those guys would serve this at a dinner party. I bet they hate good food too. Jerks.
Grade: C. Cafeteria-style soup is edible, but only if there’s no other options at the cantina.
Entrée: Post-torpedoed Death Star space waffles with shroomchip-encrusted nerf tenders, topped with grain-mush gravy
This is really a horrible take on chicken and waffles. I tried my best. I made the Kraft macaroni and cheese from the instructions on the box, and put the mixture into the Death Star waffle press.
Since Subway is the official food partner of Star Wars, I took an oven-roasted chicken breast patty, breaded it with crunched up barbecue-flavored Popchips, and pan-fried it. After that, I attempted to make a gravy, using more powdered Chex Mix as the base of a roux, to thicken the concentrated chicken broth from some more chicken soup. It miraculously worked, and I added some Coffee-Mate R2-D2 French vanilla non-dairy creamer to give it a silkier texture, against my better judgment. I’ve committed a lot of culinary crimes, but this one is up there with the time I made empanadas out of Play-Doh.
Grade: D-. Most food is supposed to stay down, not come back up.
One word of warning: Waffle makers release a scalding amount of steam, so be sure to wear your enormous Stormtrooper oven mitts to protect your hands. These oven mitts also have the added benefit of absorbing blaster rifle beams in the kitchen.
If this dish sounds horrific, that’s because it was. Kraft macaroni and cheese doesn’t waffle well, mainly because there’s no real cheese binding the noodles together, so everything comes out in a crumbled mess. The waffle press dries out the cooked pasta and returns the raw pasta texture. But Barbecue Potato Popchips do make a great breading for chicken, and they gave the mushy chicken a good boost in crunch. French vanilla chicken gravy bound with Chex Mix is one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten, however. Even though I didn’t add much creamer, it was enough to give the entire dish a horrible artificial vanilla flavor. And it wasn’t so much a gravy as it was a gruel, and I think American society is beyond gruel now.
For the record, the Death Star waffle maker works just fine if you use it for its intended purpose (see the photo above). Plus, it gives you the deep nooks and crannies you want for a whole gallon of Aunt Jemima.
I took Star Wars Reese’s Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and bound them together with melted Yoda-shaped Star Wars Complete Multi-Vitamin Sour Gummies (apple flavor) and butter—sort of like the way you’d make a Rice Krispie treat. Then I studded the top with marshmallows from the Lucky Charms-style Star Wars cereal for color. As I did this, I felt my alignment moving towards the dark side and prayed for Obi-Wan Kenobi to save me from the ether of the Force.
For the lightsaber popsicles, I dissolved Star Wars Betty Crocker fruit snacks, Pez, and more Yoda gummy vitamins in some water, and when it cooled, I squirted in some blue raspberry ice Go-Gurt, because that’s Go-Gurt’s main delivery method: squirting. I put that odd used-bathwater-colored liquid into the lightsaber molds ThinkGeek sent and let that set up in the freezer.
Later, when everything firmed up, I took a bite of each. At first, the Star Wars cereal treat tasted great—turns out Cinnamon Toast Crunch pairs well with Reese’s Puffs—but it quickly become awful when combined with sour apple-flavored vitamins. The metallic flavor of the gummy vitamins quickly takes over, and that iron and sour apple taste ruins everything. Thanks for nothing, Yoda.
The lightsaber was actually all right, with a silky texture and an artificially fruity flavor, but since I was a dumbass and added more vitamins, the same metallic sour apple taste remained. If I’d put a real lightsaber in my mouth, I’d probably be dead. But putting a deadly lightsaber in my mouth seemed like the right way to end a galactically bad meal.
Grade: D. It’s both for “vitamin D,” and for “deadly lightsaber in your face.”