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"Back when I was younger, I found a recipe for Bantha Surprise on an ol' holovid of my favorite chef, Gormaanda. No matter how many times I watched that vid, I could never get the dish to come out quite right. And to be honest, I'm not sure Gormaanda could either."
―Strono Tuggs, The Life Day Cookbook[1]

Bantha Surprise was a traditional Life Day stew made from bantha meat. During the Artiodac chef Strono Tuggs's youth, he watched a holovid of his favorite chef, Gormaanda, in which she tried to prepare Bantha Surprise. Tuggs viewed the video many times, but his own Bantha Surprise never came out as he expected—though in his opinion, neither did Gormaanda's.[1]

Therefore, instead of continuing to use the same recipe, Tuggs created his own variation that included vegetables and spices from the planet Kashyyyk in order to concoct a hearty, nourishing dish to contribute to a Life Day celebration. At some point after publishing his first cookbook[1] in 34 ABY,[2] Tuggs published a recipe for his Bantha Surprise variation in his holiday cookbook, The Life Day Cookbook, where he shared his story of watching Gormaanda's holovids. He also suggested that the reader modify the recipe as needed by adding local ingredients to the dish.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

Bantha Surprise was introduced to the new Star Wars canon in Star Wars: The Life Day Cookbook, a recipe book authored by Jenn Fujikawa and Marc Sumerak[1] and published on November 9, 2021.[3] It was first unveiled in a StarWars.com preview for the book on July 27 of that year.[4] The out-of-universe recipe for the meat includes flour, salt, black pepper, and beef chuck. The stew calls for olive oil, an onion, garlic, beef broth, red wine, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, dried rosemary, dried thyme, paprika, salt, black pepper, a bay leaf, carrots, celery, red potatoes, cornstarch, and parsley for garnishing.[1]

In the Star Wars Legends continuity, Bantha Surprise debuted in the 1978 television film The Star Wars Holiday Special.[5] Its name was fully capitalized in the 2003 Sony Online Entertainment massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars Galaxies.[6]


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