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Baking 'Pan Solo' might take more than 100 hours, but the time spent is worth it

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Hey, Sacha.

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Yes, Ailsa.

CHANG: I have a riddle for you. What is 6 feet tall, is made of two types of dough and has a complicated relationship with the force? I'm going to give you a hint.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: EPISODE VII - THE FORCE AWAKENS")

JOHN BOYEGA: (As Finn) Solo, we'll figure it out. We'll use the Force.

HARRISON FORD: (As Han Solo) That's not how the Force works.

PETER MAYHEW: (As Chewbacca, speaking Shyriiwook).

PFEIFFER: I think the answer has to be Han Solo.

CHANG: Close, but you'd butter think again. We're talking about a baked sculpture known as Pan Solo, a doughy version of the iconic image of Han Solo frozen in carbonite from the film "The Empire Strikes Back." It's the latest masterpiece from a mother-daughter baking duo in Benicia, Calif.

CATHERINE PERVAN: Because I was really keen on doing, like, a C-3PO, R2-D2 sort of thing and, you know, again, iconic, and it just makes you smile.

PFEIFFER: That's mom Catherine Pervan. She says that while the commitment that goes into these massive bread sculptures often exceeds 100 hours, the time spent with her daughter makes it worth it.

C PERVAN: When we're doing this creative process together, we're just - you know, we put some music on, and we're just hanging out after hours. And it's really nice. It's a moment for us.

CHANG: Daughter Hannalee Pervan says this has been a lifelong dream.

HANNALEE PERVAN: Baking is the only thing I've ever wanted to do my whole life. So all of my - you know, all of my good memories, all my happy memories are associated with food and with baking and with my mom and my grandmother.

PFEIFFER: The Pervans have baked a number of "Star Wars"-inspired treats over the years. Hannalee can even tell you what the creation should smell like.

H PERVAN: They smell like - or they should smell like - caramelized, like, baking dough. But the final product smells like shellac.

CHANG: Sadly, Hannalee, who has ongoing problems smelling and tasting her breads after a bout of COVID, has had to rely on her mom for the smell test. But she says watching others enjoy her creations makes it all worthwhile.

H PERVAN: To watch other people, they go to the sculpture and, like, you know, they're so excited about it. And these little kids are going crazy. It's just something that doesn't have to do with taste or smell. But we can make other people happy...

C PERVAN: Yeah.

H PERVAN: ...Through it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jason Fuller
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who hosts All Things Considered along with Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, and Mary Louise Kelly. She landed in public radio after practicing law for a few years.
Sacha Pfeiffer is a correspondent for NPR's Investigations team and an occasional guest host for some of NPR's national shows.

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