The cuisine of Lizardmen is best divided into two categories: historical and contemporary. The distinction is very important, as the culinary traditions of the Ancient Lizardman Empire are the oldest in Artograch, but the contemporary cuisine of the Lizardmen is rather primitive and distinct from that of their ancestors.
Both historical and contemporary Lizardman cuisine is characterized by a complete lack of cereals and dairy, as Lizardmen are unable to digest and process milk and have an allergy to cereal products. Instead, both historical and contemporary Lizardman cuisine are characterized by entomophagy, geophagia, as well as reliance on meat, fruits and vegetables.
Contemporary Lizardman cuisine is much more primitive than its ancestor, which can be largerly attribute to the difference in lifestyle. While the historical Lizardman Empire's practice of agriculture and presence of extensive trade networks allowed and encouraged the development of an intricate cousine full of fancy dishes, the vast majority of Lizardmen today live in swampy forests and jungles, and practice a mixture of hunting, gathering, fishing and animal-herding, having largerly abandoned agriculture. The tiny amount of Lizardman farmers largerly eat Etrandish food, but still eschew cereal and dairy products.
As goats, pigs, capybaras, chicken and ducks are the most commonly herded animals among Lizardmen, their meat is also the most consumed, however a variety of other animals are also eaten: namely slugs, snails, earthworms, scorpions, beetles, spiders, a variety of snakes and fish, and most ironically, lizards. All of these animals are cooked thoroughly, to get rid of any poison they might have, and to soften the meat. Apart from some insects that they eat as-is (such as roasted grasshoppers), nearly all of these animals are eaten as part of soups and stews. Contemporary lizardman cuisine is characterized by a major prevalence of thick soups and stews.
Local birds are occasionally hunted, and have them and their eggs eaten alike. Trade with humans have also introduced domestic chicken and duck to the Lizardmen.
Aside from meat, fruits and vegetables also play a very important part: local fruits are collected and consumed raw, or - to get around their short shelf life - are turned into alcoholic beverages and stored. Among vegetables, spinach and leek are the most widely consumed, both as part of soups, and as-is. Edible fungi also play an important role - the aboundant amount amount of fungi found in territories Lizardmen inhabit today serve as a very important food source.
While contemporary Lizardmen have abandoned the viticulture that was practiced by their ancestors, they still have a few beverages that may be considered exquisite by today's standards. Among them is a variety of teas that are said to predate Dragoci tea. Many of these teas have medicinal qualities to them.
Meat and entomophagy
The meat of goats, pigs and capybaras were consured staple food by the Ancient Lizardmen, eaten cooked and fried alike. At this point, birds like ducks and chicken weren't domesticated yet, while sheep and cattle were yet to be introduced to Artograch. Amongst the insects and insect-like animals consumed by the common folk, were the earthworms, termites and crickets, actually farmed for food. Other insects, such as bees (especially their larvae), grasshoppers, beetles, mantis and spiders were considered luxury-food, delicacies of the upper-class, as they were usually hunted (except for bees, who were also bred and used for honey production).
Other upper-class delicacies included snakes, birds and their eggs, snails, slugs, crabs, scorpions, crocodiles, the latest of which were actually hunted to extinction during the Ancient Lizardman era. Quite ironically, lizards were also hunted and eaten as upper-class food, being considered a cheaper alternative to birds. Despite the best efforts of Lizardmen, they never succeeded at domesticating lizards and starting lizard husbandry.
Clay from the mountains of Northern Etrand and the "Black Heart of the Forest" in Dragoc were considered not only edible, but were also thought of as having special medicinal qualities, curing various diseases. As such, they were also on the list of upper-class luxury-food, expensive and not affordable to the general masses. Ancient written records also speak of people drinking wine from "edible cups".
Before the world-famous and legendary viticulture of Froturn, the Ancient Lizardman Empire had a burgeoning wine industry. Grapes were cultivated all accross the empire, and wine was made from it. In fact, its consumption was even more prevalent than in later Froturn: wine was not only drunk, but was also frequently used instead of water as the main ingredient of soups and broths. The soups, broths and stews consumed by the upper-classes were characterized by substituting regular water with wine.
Aside from grapes, other well-known fruits in the empire were apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, cranberries, cranberries, lingoberries and blueberries. All of these were cultivated, farmed, both eaten as-is, as well as used to produce alcoholic beverages and an assortment of other dishes. While other cultures may have a taboo on mixing sweet fruits with savory meat, Lizardmen frequently put these fruits into their meat soups and stews.
While botanically fruits (but not fruits in a culinary sense), pumpkins, tomatoes and olive were also cultivated. Pumpkins were made into stews, tomaties were used as flavoring agents for meat and insects, and olive was used to create oil to cook meat in. Olive was also eaten by upper-class individuals, and also supplies to soldiers during campaigns.
Sorrel, spinach and leek were the most prominent of vegetables, being a staple food. Lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, cucumber, and yam were also consumed, both as-is and as flavoring agents in other dishes. These plants were also used also used as "stuffing" and "filling" for otherwise meat-based dishes. The poorest of the poor, who couldn't afford to eat meat, would often eat soups and stews made out of nothing but water and these vegetables.