Life Day is coming around again, and we all know what that means: conversations turning into arguments turning into screaming matches turning into frantic calls to the Banthabutterball Hotline over the best way to prepare a succulent, juicy Baby Yoda. Brining? Spatchcocking? Wrist-mounted flamethrower brûlée? There are nearly as many different ways to cook Baby Yoda as there are midi-chlorians in a glass of Baby Yoda blood, and, executed properly, almost all of them can yield a mouthwatering, delicious Baby Yoda your family will be talking about for parsecs and parsecs to come. So instead of making an argument for or against any particular cooking method, inadvertently supplying ammunition for a war that has been tearing families apart for far too long, this year, we’re taking a look at some of the ways people have approached the important task of slaughtering, cooking, carving, and eating Baby Yodas throughout Galactic history. Here are some of the most important Baby Yoda recipes ever written.
Baby Yoda With Gravy, The Forme of Yafulkee, 587 BBY
This famous rancor-leather scroll, compiled by the chief master cooks in the palace of Motta the Hutt nearly 600 years before the Battle of Yavin, is the oldest surviving cookbook written in Galactic Basic. It can be difficult to reconstruct a usable recipe from the text—the frequent annotations and corrections and bloodstains indicate a high turnover among the kitchen staff—but the Baby Yoda recipe is relatively clean, most likely because it was rarely prepared due to its difficult-to-find ingredients. Today, the flashiest, Canto-Blightiest element here would obviously be the Baby Yoda, but in Motta’s day, the showstopper was the onions. Motta ruled during the Galactic Onion Trade Federation’s infamous Galactic Onion Trade Blockade, so the reference to “a gode qn̄tite of Oynons” in the gravy indicates both Motta’s obscene wealth and the vast reach of Hutt smuggling networks. The Onion Blockade, of course, came about because of a dispute over the taxation of Galactic Onion Trade Routes to the outlying star systems, and you know what? Nobody wants to get into the details of galactic tax policy, so here’s the recipe:
FOR TO MAKE A BABIE YODYNG IN GRAUEY.
Take Babie Yodyng, pulle of the ſkyn, ſmyte it to pyces, and frye hem in white grece tyl broun. Caſt hem in a Pot do þto in a gode broth half wyne and half wat̄, and boyle tyl tendre. And do þto a gode qn̄tite of Oynons and erbest and boyle it and the fleſsh þwith. Flō it w ſuḡ and ſalt and sūe it forth.
Baby Yoda’s Head, Republic Cookery for Outer Rim Families, 124 BBY
By the second century BBY, gourmet food was no longer the province of Hutt crime lords alone. As the growing Galactic middle class developed a taste for once-esoteric ingredients like tomatoes and Kowakian monkey-lizards, there was a need for recipes written with home cooks in mind. Enter Elzara Ak-T’on and Republic Cookery for Outer Rim Families, the text that more or less invented the modern cookbook. Ak-T’on’s many, many innovations include ingredient lists, precise cooking times, and chapters sorted by main ingredient, from “Fish” to “Space Slug.” But the biggest difference between Republic Cookery and the cookbooks that preceded it is the tone: Ak-T’on doesn’t assume the reader has any special knowledge, providing straightforward, jargon-free instructions for everything from braising nerf shanks to negotiating with representatives of the Galactic Onion Trade Federation. Baby Yodas get an entire chapter, naturally, and Ak-T’on’s recipe for Baby Yoda head is a great example of the way Republic Cookery approaches cuisine. Although we’ll never know exactly what it tasted like—Alderaanian wine is not so easy to find anymore!—most modern recipes for Baby Yoda head are adaptations of Ak-T’on’s classic preparation.
TO TAKE THE HAIR FROM A BABY YODA’S HEAD WITH THE SKIN ON
Put the Baby Yoda’s head into plenty of water which is on the point of simmering but which does not positively boil, and let it remain until it does so, and for five or six minutes afterward, but at the first full bubble draw it from the fire and let it merely scald. Then lift the Baby Yoda’s head out, and with a knife that is not sharp scrape off the hair as closely as possible. The butchers have an instrument on purpose for the operation; but we have had the Baby Yoda head look quite as well when done in the manner we have just described, as when it has been sent in ready prepared by them. After the hair is off, the brain must be taken out, and the Baby Yoda head washed with the greatest nicety. If it cannot be cooked the same day, it must be wiped extremely dry before it is hung up.
Baby Yoda’s Head, The Warder’s Way
(An excellent Receipt.)
Boil the Baby Yoda’s head until tolerably tender; let it cool, and bone it entirely; replace the Baby Yoda’s brain, lay the Baby Yoda’s head into a stewpan, and simmer it gently for an hour in rich gravy. From five-and-twenty to thirty minutes before it is dished, add half a pint of mushroom-buttons. Thicken the Baby Yoda gravy, if needful, with rice flour or with flour and Bantha butter, and serve plenty of Kowakian monkey-lizard forcemeat balls round the head. For dishes of this kind, a little Alderaanian sweet-basil wine, or a few sprigs of the herb itself, impart a very agreeable flavor. When neither these nor mushrooms are within reach, the very thin rind of a small but fresh jogan fruit may be boiled in the gravy, and the strained juice added at the instant of serving.
Boiled for 1 to 2 hours; stewed 1 hour.
Obs.— The skin, with the ear, may be left on the Baby Yoda head for this receipt, and the latter slit into narrow strips from the tip to within an inch and a half of the base; which will give it a feathery and ornamental appearance. The Baby Yoda head may then be glazed or not at pleasure.
Stuffed Baby Yoda’s Heart, Le Droïde Culinaire, 56 BBY
The polar opposite of Republic Cookery, XCOF-EA’s legendary guide to haute cuisine was written by and for professional chefs, so readers who aren’t fluent in the binary language of EA-series culinary droids know it only in translation. Even then, XCOF-EA’s heavy reliance on droid shorthand can make his recipes bewildering for organic readers—his Yoda Bébe roti recipe reads, in its entirety, “Roast Baby Yoda in the usual way”—and his frequent cross-references to other recipes can be difficult for anyone without an onboard ingredient coprocessor to follow. Still, Le Droïde Culinaire’s historical importance cannot be overstated: it revolutionized and redefined cooking across the galaxy, at least in the parts of the galaxy where people could afford twelve-course tasting menus. We’d never recommend anything that ambitious for family occasions, which are stressful enough already, but with just a little extra prep-work, you can bring a touch of Coruscanti fine dining to your Life Day celebration. Here’s Le Droïde Culinaire’s (relatively) simple recipe for stuffed Baby Yoda’s heart, a dish rumored to have been prepared by XCOF-EA himself at Chancellor Palpatine’s inaugural ball.
2546 Coer de Bébé Yoda Farci—Stuffed Baby Yoda’s Heart
Open the Baby Yoda heart and remove the coagulated Baby Yoda blood, leaving a pocket. Fill with a fricadelle forcemeat of Baby Yoda (2729), sew it up with monomolecular microfilament and envelop in thin slices of womp rat fat. Braise very gently in the usual way.
When ready, remove the strings and serve accompanied with a suitable vegetable purée and the braising liquid after removing all of the Baby Yoda fat, passing through a fine strainer and reducing by two-thirds.
Roasted Life Day Baby Yoda, The Homesteader Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Moisture Farmer, 32 ABY
The post-Imperial era has barely begun, but it’s already clear that, pace the Knights of Ren, the stuffy old formalities of the Palpatine administration are never coming back. Contemporary cuisine is faster, more inviting, and above all more casual—if you can’t cook it while fleeing a First Order mop-up operation, it’s not getting cooked—and contemporary recipe-writing quickly followed suit. And no one has exemplified the new style more than the Homesteader Woman, a former Coruscant socialite who fled with her family to the Outer Rim when it became apparent that the New Republic wasn’t kidding about bringing her husband to justice for his actions during the Battle of Dantooine. Her conversational style and frequent asides about forging a new life as a moisture farmer have endeared her to an entire galaxy of up-and-coming home cooks and war criminals on the run. Here’s the Homesteader Woman’s take on a holiday classic.
It’s adorable! It’s green! It’s the star of Life Day dinner!
And here’s the great news: It’s not hard to cook. At all!
The secret to roasting the perfect Baby Yoda is timing: First, you have to capture, slaughter, and soak your Baby Yoda in brine the day before the big feast. Second, you have to drag yourself out of bed early enough on Life Day morning to get your Baby Yoda in the oven before it becomes more powerful than you can possibly imagine. I can’t count the number of Life Days when I’ve hit the snooze button a few many times, come downstairs to find that our Baby Yoda had become one with the Force, and had to settle for takeout from Dex’s Diner.
I’m a cautionary tale! My failures make my recipes fun and approachable!
First, you need a Baby Yoda. I brine my Baby Yoda. Here is my recipe for brine: Salt and water. How much salt? As much salt as you want! I use two cups per gallon of water; reduce to one cup if you’re using Kesselian Pink Salt, you fancy person you.
Remove your Baby Yoda from the brine and soak it in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove any excess saltiness under the skin, plus you can pretend you are giving your Baby Yoda a bath. Look at its adorable l’il head and cold, dead eyes! Give your Baby Yoda a name.
(I’ll tell you what I named my Baby Yoda later in the week.)
(It might make you cry.)
Place the Baby Yoda face-up in a roasting pan and pour some blue milk over it. Then pour some more! Just keep pouring! You can’t have too much blue milk! Get it in all the Baby Yoda’s crevices. Did you know I used to live a life of luxury on Coruscant? Add some more blue milk.
Roast at 350° for as long as it takes. How long is that? You’ll know. (Three hours. It’s three hours.) Use your Baby Yoda lifters to transfer your Baby Yoda to a carving board, cover loosely with clean beskar foil, and let that little guy rest while you drink an entire bottle of wine. Tell your husband that if there’s a bright center to the universe, he has dragged you to the planet it’s furthest from. It’s Life Day! You’re allowed!
When the smell of Baby Yoda gets too tempting to ignore, slide a vibroknife between the joints of that little green dude’s teeny-tiny knees and elbows and hips and shoulders and just carve the hell out of him. (Cook gets dibs on the fingers!) Arrange the Baby Yoda slices on a platter, pour on some more blue milk, and treat your family to a crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside roasted Baby Yoda they’ll never forget.
Empires (and Republics, and Orders, and Alliances) rise and fall, but one thing remains the same: However you cook it, a plump, juicy Baby Yoda will always be the Emperor of Life Day dinner!