Magical Berries & Other Fantasy Foods

It always seems like bread, berries, and stew appear in fantasy writing.

Somehow people are always able to find berries in the woods no matter what time of year it is.

I’ve actually been guilty of that myself. Those #magicalberries seem to be in most fantasy books.

But the fun thing about fantasy is that we, as writers, can get creative with what and how our characters eat.

A lot of fantasy is based off of a medieval time setting. And in this timeframe, the lower and middle classes sometimes really did just eat bread and pottage and stew.

There’s this really cool book What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank that goes into medieval food, fantasy, and debunks some myths.

Sorry magical berries.

It’s a really fun read. They make some of the recipes they’ve found from medieval times (pickled eggs, ale, salt fish, cow tongue).

#nomnomnom

Another book in the same series, Hustlers, Harlots and Heroes, takes the reader through London in Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian times. (The second most popular past setting in Fantasy). This one follows more on the lifestyle as opposed to foodstuffs, but it’s delightful, nonetheless.

When I think of The Network Series, the foods that come to mind are:

Miss Celia’s Cinnamon Rolls. The third short story in Short Stories From Miss Mabel’s is all about Ceila and her bakery. #yum

Camille’s obsession with fizzy water. (Like soda pop, but with magic bubbles.)

In general, the Central Network is based off a traditional meat, potatoes, bread palette. They don’t eat as much meat as Americans probably do, but it’s a more paleo-esque culture. The outer covens consume what they grow and raise (cow farms are in abundance), but in the castle they have some special breads and confectionaries.

In the Western Network, as we see when Bianca is kidnapped by Mabel in War of The Networks, they rely on things like seeded Flatbread.

The Northern network relies on goats. Chèvre (goat cheese) is delicious.

#justsayin

In the Eastern Network, as a result of their proximity to the sea, depend on a sea-based diet of eels, fish, and other things that we see in The High Priest’s Daughter.

As we see in Freedom, the Southern Network has #alltheonions. So. Many. Onions.

Also in Freedom, Sanna encounters leto nuts (that grow low to the ground on vines in shells) in Freedom. She finds falla melons (their sweet, saccharine scent with a fleshy inside kind that has effects on burned skin similar to aloe) in Flight.

With fantasy, I’m always trying to keep a hint of truth.

But the truth is… as you move up the social and political strata, food becomes more complex. More rich. More luscious.

Which means I get to have a little fun, making magical meals.

4 Comments
  • Terry Gardner
    Posted at 16:55h, 10 August Reply

    Cow tongue is fantastic. one of the most tender meats available. Just boil it, the only gross part is peeling the outside layer off, however It comes off easily. Hmm it’s been awhile since I’ve had a cow tongue sandwich.

  • Piper Dow
    Posted at 15:42h, 12 August Reply

    I don’t know, Terry – I’ve had cow tongue. My dad used to get it from the butcher when we didn’t have our own cows in the freezer. I think it is a cheaper option to purchase. I remember eating it, and I remember being grossed out by it. lol. I don’t remember what it tasted like!

  • Nancy Davis
    Posted at 16:07h, 12 August Reply

    Ugh! Cow tongue? No thanks! LOL! And I’m not crazy about berries except for blueberries and strawberries. 🙃.

  • Andrew Kuhne
    Posted at 17:45h, 12 August Reply

    Multi-seeded bread (multi-grains) are good. I’ve baked a few different types myself. Great when it is fresh out of the oven with butter.

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