Meet Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, author of the recipes making up the upcoming Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook published by Insight Editions. Chelsea has authored seven different fantasy-based cook books ranging from World of Warcraft to Game of Thrones, and Firefly to Star Wars. We caught up with Chelsea to talk with her about this and her other cookbooks. Read it below!
The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook interview!
THS: When writing the recipes for the Galaxy’s Edge book, did you have free reign to do what you like, or were you given specific galactic boundaries to stay in?
CM-C: Thankfully, I had pretty wide freedom to add what I liked the sound or idea of. I worked with my co-author, Marc Sumerak, to really build the connections to the galaxy at large, so everything feels like it has a place in the world of Star Wars.
THS: Are these the same recipes used in Galaxy’s Edge parks, or do they have different ones?
CM-C: There are a few park recipes in there, with slight allowances and changes made to downsize it to non-park portions. But a lot of the park food and drink is still pretty secretive, and not even my Bothan spies could get me further intel.
THS: Dang those Bothan spies! If it’s that hard to get these secret recipes, then how would you grade the overall difficulty of these recipes to make?
CM-C: They should all be pretty approachable—I don’t have any wild professional training, and I’d hate for someone to not be able to make something because it’s just too complicated. I always try to keep things pretty simple, but still fun. I played a lot with color and unusual flavor pairings for this project, and it was a lot of fun.
“For (The Black Spire Outpost Cookbook), the strangest ingredient perhaps is a tea made out of blue butterfly pea flowers. It gives this really gorgeous blue color without the need for any additional food coloring.”
THS: Which recipe are you most proud of? Meaning, which one did you create and just say, “That’s just the best thing ever”?
CM-C: One of the recipes most exclaimed over during the photo shoot, and one of my personal favorites, was the Nectrose Freeze ice cream with nectrose crystals on top. It’s super fun and easy to make, but you get this unusual no-churn ice cream out of it, flavored by the toppings. After we got the shots we needed, the whole team pulled up some spoons and dug into the bowl with much happy murmuring. It was a great moment.
Nectrose Crystals are first mentioned in Battlefront: Twilight Company, a canon novel written by Alexander Freed and published in 2015. Nectrose are a type of edible crystal that are found throughout the the galaxy. When sprinkled into water, they add sweetness and fruitiness.Wookieepedia
Check out Kat’s Food Guide: The Galactic Food Guide To STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE
THS: Are there any obscure ingredients that might be hard to find? Any quests chefs need to go on to get them?
CM-C: For Galaxy’s Edge, the strangest ingredient perhaps is a tea made out of blue butterfly pea flowers. It gives this really gorgeous blue color without the need for any additional food coloring. I live in a pretty rural setting, so it can be hard to find some ingredients locally, but I figure if it can be ordered online, it’s fair game. As with the difficulty level, I always try to keep my recipes as approachable as possible in terms of ingredients, but for something like Star Wars, you want a few strange things in there.
THS: Rey’s 1/4 portion bread… did you try to create a recipe that would insta-rise like in the film? If so, how did that turn out? (or not turn out?)
CM-C: I gasped out loud when I watched that part of the movie! I definitely wanted to include some insta-puff, if possible. The effect in the film was a practical effect, but not edible, so far as I know. But the effort that went into getting that one shot really stuck with me. I didn’t have a space cooker, so I had to make do with a microwave!
Let’s talk about your other Fantasy-based cookbooks
THS: What gave you the idea to start doing recipes for fantasy-based foods and cookbooks?
CM-C: Hunger! All this wackiness started back before the Game of Thrones show came out. A friend and I had been rereading the books, and thought it would be fun to make something described there for dinner. We tackled lemoncakes and some meaty pie, I think, but when we tried to find historically-based recipes for those dishes, came up with mostly a blank. So we rolled up our sleeves and delved into some pretty hefty research, falling in love with historical foods along the way. We started a blog with our findings, and the rest is history!
Then again, I did have a Redwall feast with friends when I was about twelve, so that’s probably where it actually started!
THS: Of all the books you’ve done recipes for, what is your favorite?
CM-C: I’m probably most proud of the really in-world cookbooks, like the one for Game of Thrones, Warcraft, Skyrim, and Firefly. I think those are the most true to the original sources, and because of that have really resonated with other fans.
THS: Were there any recipes that just wouldn’t turn out, or didn’t taste as intended?
CM-C: The worst one I remember was from WoW, and involved crocolisk and salmon, served in what looked like a pumpkin. I really did try to make that work, but it got the better of me. I’ll have to find something else to serve up in a pumpkin!
Related Article: World of Warcraft: Classic Coming Soon
THS: A follow up to that question: were there any that came out better than expected?
CM-C: A lot of the historical recipes are consistently surprising. You can read through the ingredients and think, “Uh, nutmeg and cream and artichoke hearts? Gross!” But unless you try it, you can’t know for sure that it isn’t delicious and awesome. One of my favorite notes to get from people is when they have rediscovered a lost family recipe on the blog, something their grandmother used to make, for example. There are so many amazing recipes that have fallen out of favor, and I’d love to see more of them brought back into the light.
THS: Creating fantasy recipes has to generate some interesting fan stories from your recipes, like “This one time I tried to make…”, etc. Any interesting fan stories you’d like to share?
CM-C: I think the most rewarding thing to hear is that fans, no matter the world or recipe collection, are really leveling up their own cooking by experimenting with foods from worlds that they love. For some people, it means making dinner from scratch, for others, it means only baking their own bread every week. It’s just fantastic to know that people are interacting with and enjoying what I’ve put out there.
THS: Your website is Inn at the Crossroads, and you’ve written a Wow-inspired cookbook. Is that based on the Inn at the Crossroads outside of Stormwind?
CM-C: It’s actually based on the one in Westeros, from the Song of Ice and Fire series, but inns of the same name crop up in a number of other settings, including Witcher. In my mind, the blog is really the digital meeting place for all of these different realms. So, you could order some meat rolls from Pern, chase it with marzipan dragonflies from the Gentlemen Bastards series, then wash it all down with butterbeer from Harry Potter.
Related Article: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Cookbook Coming to a Kitchen Near You!
That Hashtag Show would like to thank Chelsea for taking the time to speak with us. We wish her, and Insight Editions, the greatest success on the book release. The Official Black Spire Outpost Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Marc Sumerak hits shelves on November 5th. Pick up a copy, try a recipe, and tell us how it came out! Remember, it didn’t happen unless you send pictures.
For more information on this and other titles, check out the Insight Editions website here.
To keep up with Chelsea and her latest food adventures, check out her blog, Inn at the Crossroads, here.
As always, stick with That Hashtag Show for all your Star Wars and geek pop culture news and features!