Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Food and Culture

yesterday's post got me thinking about the various cultures and what they eat in my borderlands campaign setting. It also got me thinking about how each culture acquires and preserves food.

Humans: The civilized humans of the southern kingdoms are farmers and fishermen. They preserve their food with salt that they either mine or pan for. Their diet consists mostly of breads, cheeses, vegetables, and meat. The most common meat depends on the nation. Wheat(the favored) and barley are the primary grain crops used for human consumption. In the borderlands, humans tend to grow hardier crops, and hunting/trapping is more important. The common meat is likely either pork or mutton. The method for commoners to preserve food is smoking it, while people with more money will likely use salt. Their wouldn't be a common grain crop and most flour would have to be imported or made via local mills(or handmills) at or near each settlement. The barbarian kingdoms and tribelands tend to be herders, huntsmen, fishermen, and whalers following the herds of caribou, reindeer, mammoth, and following the schools of fish and pods of whales. What little agriculture their is in the more civilized areas tends to be only the hardiest breeds that can withstand the shorter growing seasons.
Halfings: Halfling diet would be very much like the diet of the civilized humans. However, there is decidedly less meat(and almost no fish) in the halfling diet.
Hill Dwarves: Hill dwarves would likely trap and hunt most of their food, there would be a fair amount of grain production(if only to brew alcohol), and it's likely hill dwarves who have perfected brewing to the mythical degree that most campaigns have for dwarven beverages. Hill Dwarves likely preserve the food they grow/hunt/trap with salt. Hill Dwarven diet consists mostly of breads, cheeses, meats, and hardy vegetables that the hill dwarves are able to grow locally. Hill Dwarf food would taste rather salty to humans.
Mountain Dwarves: Mountain dwarves probably do have some agriculture going on, but it seems to me that they likely get the majority of the food for their settlements by trading either with humans or Hill Dwarves. Mountain Dwarven dishes would be saltier than even those of their Hill Dwarf cousins(since the mountain dwarves are better able to mine it), and likely heavily garnished with various types of mushrooms.
High Elves: The High Elven diet would consist mostly of very delicately prepared herbs, nuts, berries, and honey that had been procured by gathering. The common "food" for elves would likely be breads and cakes made from these materials. There would be only a minimal amount of actual meat(maybe once or twice a year), often from birds. The method by which the elves prepare their food also preserves the food, though most elves have "seasonal" diets merely eating what nature provides by the season.
Sylvan Elves: These elves who live in only the deepest and possibly most enchanted of forests, subsist almost entirely on plant materials they procure from the ancient forests in which they live. Since Sylvan elves rarely even build fires, the vast majority of these foods are consumed raw or as some sort of blended paste/sauce that only they know how to make.
Grey Elves: These Elves dwelling in the Icefangs will tend to rely on a limited form of agriculture as well as hunting the great beasts native to their mountainous home. As such, there is a greater degree of meat in their diets, but like the high elves, everything is prepared to a much greater degree than human foods. It is the grey elves who are most likely to use magic during food preparation.
Gnomes: While gnomes can and often do hunt to supplement their diet with meat, at least 75% of the gnome diet consists of mushrooms and fungus grown in various locations in their forest homes. Mushrooms are usually stored in cool, dry places until they are needed for cooking.

Stay tuned! Humanoid dietary concerns coming up!

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