Avatar: The Last Airbender Cookbook: Official Recipes from the Four Nations released just in time for Thanksgiving, allowing fans of the series to brew their most fantastical recipes in their very own kitchen. Cuisine was part of the Avatar world, further fleshing out just how unique and detailed its universe was from the original series to The Legend of Korra. However, grandma might not appreciate nuanced worldbuilding at her traditional holiday spread.
That's why it's best to win the family over where it counts: the sweet tooth. Official Recipes from the Four Nations has the perfect desserts to win over any Nonbender, bringing a little piece of one of the world's favorite franchises onto the dinner table.
Avatar did a remarkable job detailing its world down to the finest points. In crafting each of the four nations to feel distinct, it was only necessary to feature meals and snacks befitting the region from which they came. Each area features different ingredients, cultures and palettes that appeal to a variety of tastes. And yet, no food from Avatar looks more delicious or provides more excitement for the cookbook than Monk Gyatso's fruit pies. Featured in a flashback to happier days when Aang grew up under his caring mentor, the fruit pies' array of colors not only looked delicious, but they also made the recipe a total mystery - until now.
Though the Air Nomads' reputation for sweets survived through history, they are not the only ones among the four nations to craft a sugary sweet. In fact, as uptight and violent as the Fire Nation may have had a reputation for, it seemed the citizens had some of the biggest sweet teeth of all. Most of their cuisines explicitly named in Avatar were snacks featured at events, like the Fire Days Festival or the Ember Island Players' performance. One of the best snacks among any of those events was the fire gummies. With a bit of fire salt sprinkled on top to add the Fire Nation's characteristic spiciness to their sweetness, the gummies are perhaps one of the most intriguing recipes in Official Recipes from the Four Nations that fans will have to check out.
However, the Fire Nation has some competition for candy-coated snacking from its greatest rival in the Hundred Year War. The cookbook also features a recipe for jennamite, also known as creeping crystal in The Last Airbender and perhaps one of the most fantastical food items seen in the series. King Bumi first used jennamite as a threatening measure of imprisonment against Katara and Sokka, explaining that the crystal grew on contact with skin, so what began as a ring slowly encompassed their entire bodies. When Bumi turned out to be a friend, he revealed that jennamite was really just an edible rock candy, biting into it to leave viewers' mouths watering at just how delicious the sugary snack could be.
Not every recipe featured in Official Recipes from the Four Nations comes directly from the show, however. Much like Sokka, the book has a love not only for puns, but for the Northern Water Tribe's Princess Yue. Combined, the two factors result in a recipe for "Yue Mooncakes." In the real world, mooncakes are a common Chinese delicacy served at lunar appreciation festivals, often alongside tea. Featuring an entire menu from the Jasmine Dragon and written from the perspective of Uncle Iroh himself, the Avatar cookbook will have the perfect pairing for the Yue Mooncakes as well.
With a little taste of dessert from each of Avatar: The Last Airbender's four nations, a holiday spread can be more exotic than ever. Between Monk Gyatso's Fruit Pies, fire gummies, jennamite and Yue's Mooncakes, there are more than enough sweets to fill the dessert table. As a bonus, a fan of the show gets to experience a whole new part of the world thanks to Recipes from the Four Nations.
Worldbuilding is all about immersion, and as silly as a cookbook can seem, it further adds to the experience. Whether others in the family is an Avatar fan or not, everybody loves sweets. One from this beloved fantasy world can add a whole new flavor to Thanksgiving dessert.