Food on Film: Episode I – The Oddly-Hued Milk (updated)

Oh yes, it has come to this.

My food adventures of late have been somewhat… unadventurous. No new recipes, no new restaurants – just the same old stuff. This, of course, can only mean one thing: the debut of a new feature!

As opposed to My Lunch, which chronicles the often mundane details of my mid-day meals, Food on Film is about the extraordinary edibles that populate our favorite movies. Or at least, my favorite movies.

Thus, it is my geek duty to begin with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Or as non-nerds like to call it, Star Wars.

This king of sci-fi flicks obviously has other things going on besides food. After all, who has time for brunch when you’re saving the universe from an evil galactic empire. However…

Food and drink are still necessities in the galaxy far, far away, and during the first movie, we get a quick glimpse of what passes for cuisine on Luke’s home world of Tatooine. This is what we see Aunt Beru preparing on the Outer Rim’s most famous moisture farm:

Blue Milk

When it comes to films about a different universe or future time period, nothing quite says otherworldly like someone eating something blue. I can’t think of other examples right now, but trust me – blue is the opposite of present-day earth food.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the blue milk. I wanted to know everything. Where did it come from? How did it get blue? Were there blue cows roaming around Tatooine’s desert? Was it good on cereal?

It turns out I was not alone. Star Wars geeks love the blue milk. So prominent is the cultural impact of this oddly colored dairy product, it even has its own short film. That’s one influential movie drink.

Endive (or Random Tatooine Vegetable)

Much more overlooked is the strange vegetable that Aunt Beru prepares while speaking to a whining Luke in their sand dwelling. For anyone else, it was a throw-away prop used to keep the actress busy while talking gibberish. But to me, it has sparked a lifelong curiosity – just what the heck is that plant?

I may be totally off here (I don’t have the film right in front of me), but I remember it most closely resembling endive. She definitely removes leaves from the thing and puts them in some new-fangled steamer contraption. Anyway, I guess the prop guys chose the right vegetable (or maybe taped a few together) because I still haven’t been able to identify it among any earthly ingredients.

Can anyone else identify the root-looking space vegetable?

Update (3/27)

I was completely wrong. During my last trip to the supermarket, I found that weird space vegetable sitting among other bulbous greens. Without further ado, I present FENNEL!

fennel

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4 responses to “Food on Film: Episode I – The Oddly-Hued Milk (updated)

  1. If you can count on one thing in life, it’s that when it comes to Star Wars, you are never alone. 😀

    I don’t know from the blue milk, but I love endive. It’s a favorite snack around our house, although a bit of an indulgence because they’re somewhat expensive to just keep around like Triscuits. I eat the endive raw — no yucky steaming — with blue cheese. Not the dressing, just the cheese. You use the delicious, crunchy endive pieces as if they were fun, lettuce-based crackers. Give it a try some time! 🙂

  2. I don’t think Aunt Beru knew what she was doing with that endive. In fact, I don’t think it was even endive.

    As for the blue cheese, that is indeed a tasty topping for endive, and coincidentally a real-life blue dairy product! 🙂

  3. I found your veggie. Do a google image search for witlof. This is the Dutch word for it; I don’t know the English one.

  4. You’re right, Alexander: witlof is a close cousin of endive. However, I still think the fennel fits the visual better.

    I’ll go back and pause the movie just to make sure.

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