Etrandish cuisine

From Ways of Darkness
Jump to: navigation, search
Language: English

The cuisine of the Kingdom of Etrand is arguably one of the most diverse on the continent of Artograch, and has been subject to foreign influences, mainly from Froturn and Dragoc.

Food

Meat

Despite being rather expensive (to the point where the average peasant can only afford to eat meat twice per week), meat forms a central part in Etrandish high cuisine, and every self-respecting cook will include it in their non-sweet dishes: beef, veal, pork, mutton, and venison are all popular in Etrand. Dictated by the religious laws of Titanism, the meat of cats, dogs, horses and all sentient creatures (Humans, Elves, Orcs, Lizardmen, Dwarves, Halfling, Dragons) are forbidden.

Unsmoked meat is usually roasted or cooked and served hot. Smoked meat - such as smoked bacon - is usually served cold, although dry-fried bacon (due to the influence of Froturnish cuisine on Etrandish) is also widely eaten, especially combined with pasta. A unique meat dish in Etrand is the brawn or "pig cheese" which was consumed only in Etrand before Artaburro came into existence. Sausages are also eaten in Etrand - they distinguish between two types of sausages: the cooked and smoked dry sausages that are usually made out of a combination of pork, pig fat, garlic, pepper, and caraway, smoke-cooked and consumed as a cold cut; and the boiled blood sausages that are made from a farm animal's (usually pig's) intestines, blood fat, and some kind of grain or grain-like consistency as filling (rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, or even regular barley), and are eaten warm. The meat of birds is usually either cooked into soups or eaten fried in butter, fat or beeswax. While nobles and peasants alike can eat a diverse array of meat products, city-folk are generally restricted to bland dried and salted bacon, occasionally pork sausage, which are the two cheapest forms of meat in the kingdom.

Fish is the staple food of coastal populations, such as the residents of Copperport. Various edible clams are also consumed, for example geoduck was King Cairbré's favourite. In Copperport, they also eat fish sausages.

Overall, the favourite type of meat depends on the region: in Southern Etrand, pigs and sheep are preferred. In Inner-Etrand and Western Etrand, cattle are favoured. In the colder Northern Etrand, goats are the favourites.

Dairy and other animal products

Dairy products are almost considered staple food for the peasantry and nobility alike, but a rare luxury for city-folk.

The most widely consumed dairy product in Etrand is cheese. Sour cream and cottage cheese are also consumed, but less widely than in Froturn. There is a certain type of cheese unique to Etrand, which is made by making heavy goat cheese, then allowing flies to lay eggs on it, letting fly maggots hatch and ferment the cheese, making it soft and taste "spicy" - due to sanitary concerns, the maggots are usually killed by magically freezing them before the cheese is served.

Eggs are also widely consumed in Etrand, more so than in other countries. For the nobility of Etrand, the standard morning meal includes fried eggs, fried bacon and a random type of fruit. For the peasantry, an alternate type of egg is consumed: preserved eggs, made by preserving duck, chicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and wheat hay for several months.

Cereal products

Wheat, barley, rye, millet, maize and rice are all cultivated in Etrand, though rice has only been widely cultivated since the reign of King Bryant I of Etrand. To simply put it, cereal is the main staple of the Etrandish subject's diet. All of the above mentioned plants' grains are pulverized into a fine powdery substance known as flour, which is then mixed with water, salt, and optionally other ingredients (like sugar, yeast, eggs, etc.) to produce dough, which is then baked into either bread or hardtack. Bread is the staple-food of nobles and peasants alike, while hardtack is the food of city-folks, soldiers and sailors, who require food that lasts long. Occasionally, hemp seeds (and various other edible seeds and nuts) are also ground into flour and used to bake bread or hardtack. As an alternative to bread and hardtack, flour - especially maize flour - can also be used to make gruel or mush.

In addition to staple food (bread, hardtack, gruel and mush), flour made from cereal grains is also the most important base ingredient of the various pastries the richer folks eat, sweet and sour alike. Sweet pastries are sweetened with sugar, honey and fruits, while sour pastries usually contain meat and vegetables.

The staple food of city-people, hardtack is usually inedible in its "original", hard, brick-like consistency, and therefore has to be softened up before being eaten: it is usually dunked into salt water, beer or (almond) milk. Alternatively, it can be crumbled or pounded fine, and used as a thickener for a soup or gruel. As a matter of fact, the majority of Grandfolk's lower-class regularly eats a lunch that consists primarily of gruel thickened with hardtack, flavored with whatever is available (meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, even cannabis).

Rice, millet and maize are typically treated like wheat, barley and rye, meaning that they are typically ground into flour, and used to bake bread, hardtack, pastries, or used as thickeners for porridges, pottages and grouls - cooking corn in water and eating the kernels after they've softened is something done typically only on festivals, while eating rice "the Eastern way" (steaming or cooking it) is only done by those familiar with Oriental culture.

Vegetables

Out of all the countries in Artograch, vegetables have most of their prominence most likely in Etrand. Potatoes are widely consumed as a cheap and widely available alternate to bread. Cabbage, spinach, sorrel, turnips, radish, carrots, beetroots, beans, peas, onions, garlic and leeks all play part in Etrandish cuisine one way or another, consumed either raw or as part of various dishes, mainly soups or meat dishes.

Fruits

While not considered fruits by ordinary folks - as they are culinary vegatables - tomatoes and pepper are still botanically fruits, and they are both widely employed in Etrandish cuisine. Chili pepper is most widely used in Southern Etrand, where pretty much every non-sweet dish contains it one way or another.

Culinary fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries and berries are also consumed, but their role is much more limited in Etrandish cuisine than in other countries' cuisine - fruits are usually eaten raw or used as flavouring agents in pastries and sweet dishes, but since the number of sweet dishes is limited, their prominence is limited. Additionally, the Etrandish people have a taboo against mixing sweet and non-sweet, sharply contrasting with the people of Froturn who casually add strawberry jam to meat.

Hemp products and Cannabis edibles

Hemp is both ubiquitous and versatile. Hemp is cultivated throughout just about all of Etrand, save for the cold north. It serves as the base material for clothing and paper alike. However, that is not its only use - hemp is used to produce a poor man's version of milk and tea (hemp milk and hemp tea), its seeds can be grinded into flour made into bread, but most infamously, it can be used to produce a psychoactive drug that is widely consumed all accross Etrand, either directly (by smoking it), or indirectly, by eating food infused with it. So-called "hash tea" (Cannabis tea) also serves as a cheaper alternative to, or rather, as a poor man's version of regular tea, which is still considered an exotic foreign beverage consumed almost exclusively by the upper echelons of Etrandish society.

Beverages

Alcoholic beverages

Traditionally, the main alcoholic beverages of Etrand were beer and mead. The earlier was adopted from the Dwarves of the North, while the latter was inspired by Wood Elven ciders.

Ever since the Kingdom of Etrand has been founded, wine made an appearance in Etrand, but consumption was always limited to the nobility and clergy. Only during the reign of King Cairbré I of Etrand would wine-drinking spread to the middle class - Cairbré is also wrongfully credited with inventing or popularizing mulled wine, even though it has been gradually becoming more and more popular ever since the late 7th century AEKE.

Even though Etrand annexed Hulra in the late 3th century AEKE, usquebaugh would not be popularized in Etrand until the early 8th century, when King Bryant I of Etrand popularized the beverage.

Non-alcoholic beverages

In Etrand, milk was always more widely consumed than in other countries. Throughout the centuries, the people of Etrand have made a whole art form out of the various magical and non-magical methods of preserving drinkable cow milk. Additionally, tea got introduced from Dragoc several centuries ago - however, it is still considered an exotic beverage, thus its consumption is largerly limited to the upper strata of society. A cheaper alternative is Wikipedia:Cannabis tea, colloquially known as "hash tea" (ironically, its consumption dates back to times that precede the introduction of proper tea to Etrand - in fact, so-called "hash tea" might even be older tha normal tea as a whole).

Another prominent non-alcoholic beverage is acorn coffee. Similiar types of "coffee" are also made out of wheat, barley or oat.

Nevertheless, the role non-alcoholic beverages remains low - as water is not always suitable to drink, milk is not readily available to urban citizens and exotic drinks like Wood Elven teas are drank mainly by the upper class - even children drink beer, although "lighter" types with lower alcohol content. Rural children often drink acorn coffee instead.

Diets and class

It is well known, that Etrand is a country with rather high social stratification and wealth inequality, and rather low social mobility. Certain types of food are expensive luxuries (meat, fish, dairy products, even some fruits and vegetables), while others are cheap enough to be staple food for the masses (bread, hardtack).

Lower-class rural peasants typically eat bread as their daily sustenance, while city-folks had to learn it that hard way that quick-to-spoil bread is unreliable in times of war, strife and economical recession, forcing them to adopt hardtack as their staple food - alternatively, both rural and urban people very often eat potatoes and an alternative to bread and hardtack (fresh bread is usually considered to be better than potatoes, but everyone can agree that potatoes are always to be preferred to hardtack if available). Both classes can only afford to eat meat around twice per week, but there is a big difference in quality: rural peasants usually eat fresh or smoked and prepared meat that comes from diverse sources (cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, ducks, goose, pheasants, guineafowls, etc.), while the urban lower-class can only afford dried and salted bacon or pork sausage that often rivals hardtack in its brick-like consistency. The diet of the rural peasant is enhanced by a variety of fruits and vegetables that are hard to come by (at least in their fresh forms) in the city - the average peasant can afford to eat a couple of apples per day, while the average urban worker not necessarily. Urban workers do frequently eat dried fruits and dried vegetables, but in a lower quantity, and also in a lower quality. Rural peasants can nearly always afford dairy products, to the point where even the poorest can drink cattle drink on a daily basis - city-folks cannot afford such luxuries (at least not on a daily, or even weekly basis), so they are forced to rely on substitutes (like almonds) or forget about frequenty consumption of dairy products altogether. Rural people also eat eggs on a nearly daily basis, while urban people generally only have eggs once a week.

The middle-class in the cities has a diet comparable to that of rural peasants, being able to afford wheat bread, potatoes, fresh-ish fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, and meat that hasn't been salted to an unbearable degree to preserve it. The typical middle-class urban citizen's daily sustenance consists of a mixture of bread, pork, cheese, and various fruits and vegetables.

The upper-class (nobility, clergy and royalty) is the social caste of Etrand that gets to enjoy all the delicacies of Etrandish high cuisine, the pinnacles of human cookery: fine white bread, spicy meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish, pastries, and so on. While the lower-class and middle-class can only afford to eat meat twice a week at best, upper-class people eat meat on a daily basis - and it's not even the unbearably salty and hardtack-like dried bacon that city-folks have to bear with, but well-spiced, often semi-fresh meat that comes from birds and and mammals, domestic animals and wild game alike.