Monday, June 26, 2017

Duergar Trail Ration

Wats6831 returns with another fantasy RPG inspired meal. This time it's the food of the dread Duergar, the Grey Dwarves of the Underdark.  The Reddit discussion is over here.

The Duergar (gray dwarves) are the hated subterranean cousins of the surface dwelling shield dwarves. Vast Duergar kingdoms exist beneath the Surface in the Underdark. Duergar are known for their foul tempers, penchant for cruelty, grim and bitter dispositions. Their food is as coarse and uncouth as they are. Clockwise from top left: Sour Deep rothé pepper cheese (Limburger), boiled Deep rothé kidney (whole beef kidney), foraged roots and tubers; skirret and Fellroot (ginger and turmeric roots), contorted strangler fungus (Enoki mushrooms), onion & mushroom gravy hand pies.

I really liked these projects when they started. They were interesting thought experiments about the diets of stereotypical fantasy races and how that could be adapted as player snacks during a game. Now it feels more like "What gross food can I get my wife to vomit in the sink?"

I understand not everyone has an adventurous palate. That's what makes the lack of effort to actually create something genuinely tasty all the more puzzling. Why just plop a fresh beef kidney into boiling water, the absolute worst way to possibly cook it? If you're going to posit the Duergar have access to fresh kidneys, mushrooms, onions, and root vegetables, why not try one of the dozens of real world recipes using those ingredients?  Why pair un-prepped kidney and its ammoniac tang with Limburger, of all the cheeses?

Maybe I'm over reacting.  I just assumed a project focusing on bringing fantasy foods to life would feature a bit more craft.


Anonymous said...

This is why in times of culinary dread, we turn to Kickstarter.

Unknown said...

The edibility has definitely suffered, but I've been more baffled by the fact that they almost immediately dropped the "trail ration" part of these supposed trail rations. After the first couple, it became lists of foods, not foods that would actually survive any travel. Sushi would last better than some of the things that have ended up in these ensembles. Of course, the problem is, when you actually try to make food that will survive on a trail, you easily can end up with very similar things - dried and salted foods - unless you take more exotic routes involving fermentation and pickling. Granted, that can get a bit dicey if you don't know what you're doing, and it's also not an approach that necessarily works all that well if you're confining yourself to food items purchased at the local grocery store with minimal preparation. I get the impression this person doesn't know much about cooking and the ways different people around the globe have approached this issue, which has limited them. So the project suffers from a combination of ignorance and apparently a desire to make collections that look good on camera rather than contain anything durable or even particularly edible.

Propnomicon said...

@ Anonymous

God does not play dice with the dinner menu! Heh.

@ Unknown

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Wats, and I mean this in the kindest way, doesn't seem to have an appreciation for how different cultures have approached food preservation. As an example, look at all the ways we've tackled the basic idea of "travel bread". Wheat-based European cultures came up with hardtack, but the continent alone saw an entire genre of hard breads made from rye, oats, barley, millet, etc... Some were twice baked, others smoked, some were just a sack of grain a traveler would mix with water and cook in the fire's ashes. There's so much history to draw from. And, of course, let us not forget the ultimate expression of traveling bread- fruitcake.

Clint said...

I was thinking of Posting some of the breads , with the recipes, for some of the trail rations I have thought of. Trail rations should be palatable and long lasting. Organ meat goes off too fast to be preserved in any way other than magic. Jerky is promising as is died veggies and fruit leather.

I Didn't think I should post as I didn't think it would be recognized. If I hear otherwise I'll post my pic and recipe for Orc Black bread. If I need more than that, please let me know.

Raven said...

For Piran’s and Petroc’s sakes, what better to represent mine-dwelling dwarves’ food than mine-dwelling Cornishmen’s food? Cornish pasties, or hoggans?

Unknown said...

If the intent of the kidney is to represent the "coarse and uncouth" diet, why not replace it with a more pragmatic protein source in a subterranean setting? A pile of dried mealworms, perhaps, to represent some fantastic grub or maggot.

A number of bush and aboriginal peoples supplement their diets when they are traveling with worms and grubs, as they pack a potent dose of nutrients and are fairly easy to find. ("Slimy, yet satisfying.")