Casting Runes 9: Cuisine

This post continues the exploration and implementation of RuneQuest 6th Edition for the creation of a sword and sorcery campaign setting. In this short entry for the series, we will take a look at some of the best-known regional dishes of the Firmament. Perhaps some of you will dream of these like I have begun to, and quest to find a way to make them reality. Recipe submissions are welcome.

As with the rest of the setting, the ongoing development of the culinary choices of its peoples are open to suggestion. In this post will be a few special ones which are well-known across the settled nations, and are offered here to lend a sense to readers about what the Firmament is like when Chaos is not stalking the land. It is also offered to the players as a reference of some of the things that are out there on menus and farm tables, and as a resource to which they can add their own fantastic creations.

Eating Habits

Plenthan and Human diets are relatively similar, apart from seasoning choices. Where they diverge is often more a matter of resources and habit. The Plenthan diet includes a much larger variety of fungi and insects, but is no stranger to red meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Plenthan cooking often relies on thick sauces and strong seasonings as much of their food must be smoked or pickled for long storage beneath the surface.

The Fidrans by comparison tend to eat raw vegetables and raw fish in their home territory with small bowls of exotic dips and dressings which they use sparingly. Fidrans travelling abroad, however, take great care to sample and discuss all the food that they can, and usually make no fuss or bother about the heavy, or greasy meals they find inland. With a reputation for lasciviousness and the pursuit of pleasure in all its forms, the Fidrans’ love of artistic accomplishment is often overlooked. One such area where they excel is in the preparation of food. Rarely known to cook in preference to matching and blending foods together in their natural states, many Fidrans feel that they are connoisseurs in a world full of culinary barbarians. Outside of their own Holds, known Fidran dishes are usually deserts and confections.

The Blessed are said to be able to wean themselves off eating with enough force of will, but as they tend to remain in their enclaves, it is hard for the common person to know the truth of this. It is a common belief that even if such were the case, the idea of living forever without the simple pleasure of a warm meal on a cold day would not be a good one. It is generally imagined that they continue to enjoy the cuisine of their birthplace as time passes them by.

The Alirans are not exactly secretive, but very little is known about their culture or their home lives – even by the wealthy and aristocratic peoples of the Firmament. Those who have spent time with them have come to know that they neither eat nor drink, but always take time at dawn and sunset to pray together in a communal atmosphere not unlike meal time for other sentient beings.

 

Selected Dishes of the Firmament

Human:

Breaded Cheese – known by this name in two variants, one coming from the plains around Derren, the other coming from the mountainous Barony of Cyumer.

  • The Derren version features long strips of moist bread, braided with ropes of firm, white, tangy cheese. Served warm, and often consumed with beer
  • The Cyumer version uses the cheese as a melted filling inside a large, hard loaf, presented as a twisted rope and served with a spicy mustard. Everything in Cyumer is served with beer.

Worldfish Delight – somewhat rare, and prized by both kings and fisherfolk, this dish is found only in the ports and harbors around Aden and the impoverished Black Isles. Chefs from this region are often lured away to serve in the courts of important people in hope of properly preparing the fish should they ever be lucky enough to obtain some. Rumors of a Fidran recipe have circulated for centuries, but none of their merchants sell the fish, none of their restaurateurs have it on their menus, and none of their courtiers have served it or offered it as a bribe. This does nothing to quell the rumors.

  • The dish is served warm, and is a baked white fish large enough for two or three adults, stuffed with savory spices and whole eels. Separately, none of this seafood is remarkable, but cooked properly together in the traditional way is said to be enough to spoil a person for anything else. The dish is served in a large wooden bowl on a bed of fresh vegetables.
  • The fishing banks from which the world fish is drawn lies between the Black Isles and the Fidran city, Helon’s Hold. Their fleets monitor catches and ensure special care when the Worldfish is spawning.

Bacon Sandwich – quite common and with many variations across the human territories. It is most famous in Meerkoth, and some vendors their claim it as their regional dish, but it is readily available along the entire settled coast from Blacksand to Ruined Dinea, and often much farther inland as well, particularly in the foothills and highlands of Fenn and No-Mirth.

  • Thick, hard bacon slices are held together with layers of a cheese and crumbled bacon spread
  • A variation from Merkport includes diced onions and potatoes
  • A variation from Port Blacksand replaces the crumbled bacon with crispy fried fish

Vengeance Stew – common in what is now being called Old Aelroth, this hearty stew is served before the Harvest Feast Days when the men of the area gather together to make their grievances known, settle debts, and declare vendettas.

  • Thick stew, often served cold, chock full of parsnips, carrots, kidney, heart, and liver
  • A regional variation in the small states between Aeden Pass and Filyar’s Pass uses potatoes instead of parsnips due to cost and availability

Cocoa Cakes – rumored to be a part of the daily diet in palaces and manor houses, this treat is seen perhaps once a year in more common families in Human lands.

  • Large biscuit of marble chocolate with a center of liquid chocolate. Served warm and sprinkled with sugar.
  • Regional variations near the coasts and in the mountains include nuts or berries, but these are considered perversions of a classic by all right-thinking individuals.

Plenthan:

Travel Bread/Training Bread – a staple among the working and soldiering classes of Plenthans, it is a rare person who does not have this in their kit for their midday meal.

  • Large tough bun about 15cm across and 8cm deep, filled with shredded salt meat, pickled vegetables, and several varieties of mushroom. At home, this is often dipped in a thick meat broth, but in the tunnels or on patrol it is simply eaten cold.
  • A regional variation for holidays in Maroth Deep replaces the travel bread with a thin dumpling stuffed with the same ingredients and served in a beef and cheese stew.

Gratitude Soup – one of the few purely Plenthan dishes to spread to other cultures, this hearty soup can now be found among their human neighbors in most mountain taverns and in a growing number of plains inns. This dish is served in a very large pot after several days of boiling and rendering, and eaten in groups of friends or coworkers. Served during celebrations and in times of hardship or loss, this dish is in many ways considered comfort food in the Plenthan military.

  • Made from left-overs and the less savory bits of food animals such as the eyes and lips, this moderately thick marrow broth is heavily seasoned and typically served with sour cream. Despite its appearance and smell, it is deeply beloved in some regions, partly for the taste and partly for the challenge of eating what appears to be watching you eat it.

Stuffed  Tomatoes – a seasonal delicacy made from vegetables gotten in trade with their human allies and neighbors in the mountains surrounding the Deeps, this dish is a frequent sight on tables around harvest time.

  • Large stewed tomato stuffed with spicy minced beef and colorful peppers, often served with poultry

 

Fidran:

Berry Medley – served most often as a small appetizer, but during special occasions in larger portions as a desert, this fruit concoction sells for double its weight in silver in the Grand Bazaar, and even more in the city markets of Aeden and Aelroth.

  • A seasonal selection of fresh berries balanced for color, scent, and taste, held together in a thin, crunchy bar of natural sugar.
  • As a desert, the dish is served as a large cube in a tangy fruit-juice sauce.

Chocolate Orange – a traditional birthday and coming of age treat, the chocolate orange is perhaps the most copied and most varied dish in the Firmament. The original is still considered the best, and even the poorest families will attempt to obtain one for a child who is about to pass into adulthood.

  • Slices of real orange alternating with slices of rich chocolate carved to match and held together with a mint jelly. Only served fresh in Fidran society
  • A variation for sale abroad has the entire concoction sealed in a thick skin of chocolate molded to resemble an orange peel

 

 Enjoy~

Comments
One Response to “Casting Runes 9: Cuisine”
  1. Murderbunny says:

    Dammit, now I’m hungry.

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