Because food and drink are an essential part of life, so it is the same when it comes to fleshing out Impilturan eating habits. The below is provided as a rough guide which may offer you an idea of how food and drink is treated in TER. Similarly you may find this information useful if you are playing the role of a lowly peasant, a middle-class merchant or a highborn noble paying court.
Loreweaver wrote:Class and income play an important part in one's diet. Some foods are specifically reserved for high society, with severe penalties on poaching. Others may only be gathered with special permission like those found in Commoner's rights. Yet another group of foods is free for all but disdained by those of means for its taste, texture or the simple fact it grew underground. At the same time, being able to serve exotic and expensive ingredients is good for a host's reputation regardless of taste and origin.
Many middle class households eat breakfast above their station to find themselves dining beneath it, while famine breaks all notions of what can and can't be consumed.
Non-alcoholic drinks like goat's or cow's milk and water tend to be for babies or carry health hazards if drunk without a splash of rum, but may be available. More commonly, people drink different strengths of ale and beer, fruit-based products like cider, perry or moré, locally brewed spirits, summer wines or (often imported) grape wines.
Dairy products like hard cheeses are looked down upon by the upper classes as inferior foodstuffs, but such preserved milk is important to everyone else. A family with a good cheese recipe is a welcome addition to any community, as no two are alike.
Butter is something of a treat to the lower classes, who often use animal fats instead. Amongst the upper classes it has some competition with imported oils, but oils can't be shaped into delightful forms.
Younger cheeses, creams and softcurd, or yoghurt, are considered more agreeable to the refined palette.
Upper classes enjoy a fine white Manchet bread. Middle classes might find Cheat or Wheaten bread more acceptable. Ravelled bread has less actual wheat and more garbage so it's perfect for lower class budgets. Other breads are baked using millet, oats, buckwheat, blackwheat, rye or barley with varying degrees of poor taste. Some bread (known as biscuit) is baked twice to better preserve it.
Most breads are baked in the embers of the hearth, but some settlements have communal ovens. Yeast is rarely used in the baking, so most breads are hard and by necessity thin. A sprinkling of linseed is often added to make it more palatable.
Fruits and Vegetables
Upper classes look down upon most foods which come out of the ground. The few vegetables they put up with include canola leaves, onion, shallot, artichoke (thistle), garlic and leek. Mushrooms are only tolerable if they have psychedelic effects. Fruit is considered merely acceptable in pies or glazed with honey, though olives and dates are a welcome exception because of their exotic origins.
Middle and lower classes are left with vegetables such as parsnip, fennel, parsley, watercress, endive, lettuce, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, long-beans, broad-beans, peas, lentils and asparagus, nettle, dandelions and many more.
The fruits they enjoy are rarely native to the land but can be locally produced and include apples, oranges, lemons, apricot, quince, palmgolds (peaches), cherries, strawberries, raspberries, red currants, melons, pomegranate, plums, pears and figs. Also considered edible fruit are nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chesnuts, pine nuts and even acorns.
Sugar and Spice
Lower classes flavour their foods with honey and local plants or fragrant flowers as best they can. Upper classes on the other hand use sugar, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, saffron, cardamom, coriander, cumin, garlic, tumeric, mace, anise, caraway and mustard. They eat these both raw and in most all of their food, because they can afford the luxury as much as for the sake of flavour.
To most people, fish includes seafood like crayfish (eggs), crab, oysters, mussels and cockles, as well as marine mammals like whale (lower class due to its texture) and porpoise (upper class).
From fresh water, the upper classes enjoy trout and carp. The middle class can consider blay, shad, roach and gudgeon, while the lower classes largely make do with perch, pike and tench.
The sea provides turbot, johndory, skate and sole for the rich, as well as herring, eel, whiting, plaice, mackerel, gurnets, codfish and flat-fish for those born less special. Living in shallow waters, arnhake, whitetail and bolroth are among the most common catches of the Easting Reach.
Game birds reserved for the upper classes include herons, cranes, swans and blackbirds (crows), as well as young cuckoos, leverets and partridge.
Equally off-limits to lesser classes (as it's poaching) are the stork, cormorant, thrushes, starlings, quail, lark, bittern, capons, plovers, woodcocks and turtle-doves.
The lower classes are permitted chickens, geese, ducks, pea-fowl, turkeys, pheasants, teal, widgeon and moor-hens at least.
Eggs are widely gathered and not only for consumption, but spherical or colourful variations tend to be off limits to the poor.
The upper classes lay claim to veal and venison, and will also enjoy wild boar, hares and rabbits. Lower classes most commonly eat pork from tamed swine, but can also find lamb, beef, bear, squirrel and hedgehog in the pot. Or anything else that moves, if they're hungry enough.
Meals are often prepared in advance and are cold by the time they (or the diners) reach the table.
Most people have three one-course meals a day, being breakfast after the morning prayer, lunch at highsun and a dinner before sunset. Higher classes merely ensure that their single course offers a wide range of choice from bowls of spicy soup to sweetened pies. Lower classes may have to settle for a more bland potage or a broth of rye, barley or maslin.
Most people keep their own knife with them and travellers bring their own plate and cup as well. Spoons are unnecessary (liquid foods are drunk from the cup) and eating with forks is a fairly new development, though they have been used in food preparation for some time. Durable lower class cups and plates are carved from wood or horn, but clay and pewter are common too. The upper classes prefer glass, silver and most of all gold.
To help you interpret the setting and game mechanics.
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