You’re on an epic quest or maybe just a journey to the closest big city. You’ve fought orcs or direwolves, and you’re bone weary. You’ve slogged through rain and mud or dragged yourself through unbearably hot weather. You round a corner on a well trodden King’s Road, and finally—you see the dim glow of village lights. They are far away, hard to see – as if the lights are covered by wax paper, but they are there. You can’t wait to find the local inn. You might know it, you might not. Either way, you have an idea of what the fare will be: crusty bread, cheese, a meat stew or skewer, and a mug of mulled cider, wine, or ale. Coffee and tea might be options too along with some fruit for dessert.
These staples are the standard in so many fantasy novels and series – Lord of Rings, Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, and on and on. Occasionally it might be changed up with dishes native to the town. If the village is by the sea, maybe you can get a fish stew or spiced fish eggs. It’s all usually simple food, but it’s hearty. It covers the primary food groups in our world and worlds like ours. It is food that will sustain you and keep you going on your journey. Most of it is easy to stow away in your pack too. And the smell, oh the smell! Few things are as mouthwatering as the aroma of freshly baked bread. And also? A big hunk of bread and bowl of stew is tasty. I find it even more delicious after I spent the day walking in the cold outdoors.
Since these eats are simple, it is easy to replicate and have your own fantasy novel dinner party. You get bonus points if you have a fireplace and extra gold stars if you pull your dining room table over to eat in front of it. If it were my party, I would pull out the renaissance costumes for everybody.* Just sayin’. Here’s a sample menu:
Loaf of sourdough or other crusty bread – homemade or purchased from the local market
Cheeseboard – offer a few varieties of cheese and cut it in nice, thick slices
Beef, vension, or lamb stew – I particularly love this Hunter Stew with Dumplings recipe from Castles & Cooks and bread bowls are definitely an option
Roasted potatoes with butter
Mulled cider or wine
Coffee, maybe modeled on one of these coffees from fantasy novels
No plasticware and no napkins (unless the guests are borrowing your renaissance faire outfits, you don’t want them to wipe greasy fingers on your chemise). Serve beverages in ceramic or pewter mugs. You could go the Medieval Times route and ban all utensils, but forks really do serve a sound purpose. Kicking back with pipe-weed after dinner is highly encouraged.
This article was reprinted from Geek With Curves, a blog written by our own Amy Ratcliffe.