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klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

[Probably not posting in the right place, but I'm no literature dev to begin with. Feel free to move this post to wherever]

I'm giving writing recipe books a try. I had the idea of writing three books; one with basic recipes for the poor, one with common recipes for those who have a little more to spend, and one with exquisite recipes only to be found in places where rich nobles would eat.
Next to that I'm composing a little list of foodstuffs which the Dunmer would eat and short descriptions of those. I might expand it a bit with extra information and foodstuffs non-Dunmer would also eat and throw it in a document for the Modder resources thread.

Anyway, the recipes I have listed for the books are the following:

Basic recipes
Saltrice porridge
Wickwheat porridge
Roast hound
Rat stew
Boiled eggs
Scrib Cabbage soup

Common dishes
Crab soup with Ash Yam
Kagouti stew
Braised Cliff Racer
Stir fried vegetables

Exquisite cuisine
Spicy Kwama roast
Sautéed Parastylus
Bouillabaisse
Sweetpulp sponge cake
Grilled Scathecraw
Piquant steamed Scrib
Fermented Alit stew with Comberry jam

The basic recipes are very basic in both dishes and writing style, the common ones are better explained and written, the exquisite ones will be written in style and have proper explanation of the ingredients and the ways of preparation. Though I haven't started on the exquisite ones, the basic ones are finished and I'm halfway through the common ones. Here are examples of a basic and a common recipe:

Wickwheat porridge
2 Handfuls Wickwheat
Water
Kresh Fiber
Add Wickwheat and about the same amount of water to a pot and heat over medium fire. Keep simmering for 7 minutes while stirring steadily. Add kresh fiber to taste and keep stirring for another few minutes until the porridge is smooth.


Crab soup with Ash Yam
A healthy and tasty meal, light on the stomach for any hardworking mer.
The meat used to prepare this soup comes from the Mudcrab, but the actual broth derives its taste from other ingredients, such as Slaughterfish scales. The meat is only added right before serving as to maintain its tender texture.

Ingredients:
800 gram Crab Meat
4 large Ash Yams
6 small Horn Lily Bulbs
5 Scales
2 Nirthfly Stalks
1 Black Rose

Preparation:
Boil a large pot of water and add the plucked black rose petals. Let it boil for at least 20 minutes on a high flame – the warm essence of black rose can be tasted and smelt rather quickly, but this step is important to cook the poison out of the petals.
Lower the fire so that the rosewater is only merely boiling.
Add the slaughterfish scales and let them pull a neat broth for half an hour.
Meanwhile cube the yams, pull the crab meat in similar sized pieces, slice the horn lily bulbs and roughly chop the nirthfly stalks.
Remove the scales and petals, and add the yam and bulb. Leave it to simmer 10 minutes.
Add the crab meat and chopped stalks, stir well and serve immediately.
Post Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:34 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



klep wrote:
Snip


A few points of input on this:
Tamriel - and Morrowind in particular - is an exotic place, so I'd suggest moving away from a modern and rather enthnocentric western style of cooking as a template.

One thing that comes to mind is that a lot of the native ingredients seem to be of the tough variety, which would suggest that lengthy boiling or steaming might be a preferred method of cooking. I always took misc_de_pot_mottled_01 to be a tagine of sorts, that might be one interesting alternative.

Also, there is no evidence of refrigeration in Morrowind, meaning that other methods of preservation would likely be needed. Different methods of fermentation and souring might be interesting to look into.

The basic style of the recipe, to me, comes as across as too modern. I know that Redoran Cooking Secrets use this style, but I'd say that it belongs to the rather embarrassing end of TES3 writing. Have a look at an 18th century recipe for suggestions on style. Notice how there is no list of ingredients, just a running text, and references to measurements are rather inprecise ("some", "a little").

The last recipe, which includes rosewater, should call for significantly more roses if Tamriels roses are anything like our real world counterparts. This would also likely place it out of the price range for most "hardworking mer".


Good initiative. Although it's off topic for this thread, I think it merits it's own discussion.
Post Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Nice to see that this got a topic of its own!

A few more random thougts I had over breakfast:

Regionality is a factor to consider. While the more well-to-do citizens will have access to goods imported from all over and beyond the province, this isn't likely to be the case with the more common folk, who'd more likely have to rely on local produce. So, for the lower-class oriented books, I'd recommend writing a few regional varieties. I think this would also strengthen the illusion of Morrowind as a province large enough to harbour cultural differences and varieties within itself.

Stoves don't seem to be in common use (in fact, non-existent in the vanilla game, exept for the dwemer stove). Thus, culinary culture would likely not be formed around methods of preparation such as frying, sauteing and braising.

Also: offal! Based on what we see of food production in the game (that is, no industrial-scale farming), as little as possible of an animal would likely be wasted. Guar brains! Stuffed hound stomach! What weird things might be found on a netch bull?
Post Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:33 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Thanks, EJRS, for your replies. I don't have much time atm, but I'll respond with some thoughts and ideas in the future.
Post Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I just noticed that, while I did split this topic off, I had forgotten to actually reply to it.

I do agree with EJRS that your recipes read as rather western; such a recipe book could work if actually written from a western (say, Breton) perspective, but as far as Dunmer are concerned I think you could take a lot more liberties.

One idea I had before is that ash yams have to be boiled in muck to soften them up, because they're otherwise rock solid and grainy. I think that, by and large, sounding unappetizing is a boon for Dunmer cuisine. For every kwama egg, scuttle, hackle-lo and -- indeed -- saltrice, which are all supposed to taste good, there's a foodstuff which takes some getting used to (you've probably already read these entries, but I'm listing them here for convenience):

comberry wrote:
The comberry is a bush that produces a bitter berry, best known as the basis of the native comberry brandy, a rough but potent alcoholic beverage of Morrowind. Comberry is grown in the Ascadian Isles.

muck wrote:
Muck is the damp, fibrous slime from crushed muckspunge plants that grow in the West Gash and on Azura's Coast. Unless properly prepared in the native manner, it is mildly toxic.

rat meat wrote:
Rat meat is tough and greasy, with an unpleasant odor and taste. Nonetheless, it is cheap, abundant, and nutritious, and palatable when cooked in a stew and masked by strong strong spices.

scrib jelly wrote:
Scribs are little baby kwama. We shuck the shells, crush the flesh into a jelly. Doesn't taste bad. And filling. Takes a while getting used to the texture, though.

scales wrote:
The meat of the slaughterfish is meally and noisome, but dried slaughterfish scales are said by locals to be 'a crunchy treat' when prepared in the native manner. Foreigners are advised to beware of slaughterfish scales.

trama root wrote:
A calming tea with modest magical properties is brewed from the thick, bitter-tasting root of the trama shrub. The Trama shrub grows in the bitter, ashy soils of the Ashlands, Molag Amur, and Red Mountain.



Especially for common dishes, saltrice should naturally feature very heavily.
Post Fri Mar 06, 2015 3:19 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Gnomey wrote:

Especially for common dishes, saltrice should naturally feature very heavily.


And don't forget about marshmerrow:

"The sweet pulp of marshmerrow reeds is a delectable foodstuff, and when eaten fresh or prepared, it has modest healing properties. Marshmerrow is an important cash crop of the farms and plantations of the Ascadian Isles, but it also grows wild in the Grazelands and on Azura's Coast."
Post Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:00 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I've been trawling Morrowind's dialogue again, and found an interesting topic:

food in Morrowind wrote:
The staple is the saltrice grain, usually eaten as a cooked porridge mixed with scuttle (a cheese-like food from giant domesticated beetles). Hackle-lo (a hardy succulent edible leafy green) is a reliable year-round vegetable, eaten cooked or raw, and bittergreen (a fast-growing slime triggered by rain) is safe and nourishing when boiled, though highly toxic if eaten raw.
food in Morrowind wrote:
The most popular sources of protein are kwama eggs and the meat of the domesticated guar. The most popular beverages are mazte (a local beer brewed from fermented saltrice) and sujamma (a potent, bitter liquor).


The Alchemist's Formulary also has some interesting information, most notably "Bread in Morrowind is usually baked from saltrice flour."
Post Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:35 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Here is a quick mockup of a traditional Dunmer recipe:


    Shalk Mother-of-Rain

    Grind a fist of dried comberries with a hand-and-half of saltrice-grains until they crack. Make a pulp from the leaves of the bittergreen plant thick with the slime of a rainfall, and stir the grains and comberries thereinto. Single out the shalk plumpest with eggs from your herd, and bury a your hunting blade in her, halfway to the hilt, just behind the back of the head. Pull sideways to open a crack along the length of the back, and into this crack, stamp the mixture of bittergreen pulp, grains and comberries. Lay her to rest in a pit of hot coals and cover her with coals up to the mandibles. Let her rest until the mandibles cease to snap and resin renders along their edges, then remove her onto a table. Grab each leg by the inmost joint and twist until each comes loose, do the same for each mandible. Crack open the shell and scrape the contents into a bowl and serve forth. Customarily, the eyes are plucked out and set aside, each to be served in the first cup of greef to the two guest who can lay claim to being the eldest of the party, who are thereby obliged to recite a poem of hunting, ushering in the first toast of the feast.


Any thoughts on style, content etc.?
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:11 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

'bury a your hunting blade in her' might come off as too hunter-gathery, same with the 'poem of hunting' further down; I'd just write something like 'a keen chitin dagger'. That is assuming this isn't an Ashlander recipe. For Velothi, if anything, 'herder' would be the more common profession. Also, 'halfway to the hilt' seems rather arbitrary, as daggers would have different lengths, but it's not a big deal. I'd consider something like 'until you can insert your finger into the incision up to the third knuckle'.

Other than those quibbles, I think you've nailed it.
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:48 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I actually think the things Gnomey just mentioned give the recipe a more raw feel to it, which I like.

The hunting ritual however has a bit of a Nord feel to it imo.

That said it's a well written piece. Props!
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:06 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Thanks for the input!
True about "hunting blade" coming off as a bit too much. However, judging from the depiction of culture as well as placement of plants in TES3, it does seem likely that hunting and foraging plays a substitutional role as subsistence activity even to the Dunmer of all but the largest settlements. What I was after here was a measurement that would be assumed to be familiar to the intended reader (this being geared towards Dunmer), but that wasn't all-too-exact. Hunting knives could be assumed to be roughly of the same length and shape as long as the same game-animals are implicitly assumed.

IRL, hunting within cultures where it is a source of subsistence worth mentioning, while making up for often less than 20% and seldom more than 30% of the intake of nutrition, is ritualised on the basis of it being the occasional and unreliable foodsource in comparison to the more reliable but everyday and humdrum foraging. Thus it is a common motif in folklore and tradition of such cultures. "Poem of hunting" is in relation to this being imagined as a traditional dish within a culture that is often very conservative about tradition and heritage, and is thus meant to hark back to the time when most Dunmer where living more akin to Ashlanders. Although that was a long time ago, Dunmer lifespans greatly exceed those of humans, and thus the time that cultural elements remain within the common lore would be extended in relation. "Poem of Herding" sounds cooler, though. I guess it could be phrased "A poem with pastoral motifs", but that just doesn't sound either as cool or as Dunmer (questionable difference).

Another thought: more elaborate recipes such as this would be nice for a book intended to circulate within the Dunmer cultures, whereas preparation of the simpler dishes (preparation of basic saltrice porridge, preparation of muck and scuttle etc.) can be assumed to be passed along from the parents and thus superfluous to note down. But the latter would indeed be interesting to go into detail about, so I'd suggest doing this in a book written by an Imperial as a sort of "Introduction to the everyday foods of the Imperial province of Morrowind".
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:10 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Interesting, and I like the idea of an Imperial book on Morrowind's food.
I also think the OE bakery could use some Imperial recipes of its own. You mentioned the 18th century recipe, which I read with much pleasure. though maybe it's a bit too old school for the age of Morrowind, I do agree that my earier writings are too modern of style. My writing skills are close to zero, but I might just give it a try again in the future. I just like TES literature too much to not want to at least try to write something myself Very Happy
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



I guess it could be made even cooler if the eye-greef is served to the two oldest females of the guests, giving the ladies of Vvardenfel some needed spotlight. I guess early Dunmer could be imagined as matrilinear, with the herd-animals being inherited by the daughters rather than the sons, and thus this would make sense in the context of tradition.

Here is another short mock-up, for the mentioned concept of an Imperial book on Dunmer diet:
    On the preparation of muck:
    Mucksponge is grown in the humid regions of Morrowind for the fibrous slime it produces when crushed, harvested in the native fashion from the cavity of the cylindrical sponge using a scoop-like shovel. If consumed raw, this slime produces nausea, pimples and rashes, which is why the natives of Morrowind have refined a process to rid the slime of these effects, involving letting the muck sit in an urn or a barrel for the course of a month, together with the bladders and often other assorted offal cut from the slaughterfish, with regional varieties also incorporating either unripe comberries or the leaves of the Hackle-lo plant, after which the jelly-like portions of the slime float to the surface and are skimmed off to be consumed.

Here's another quick one for the Dunmer-book, but I'm a bit unsure wether this one is really any good:
    Scribs-Yearning-for-the-Sun
    Cut a yearling stalk of marshmerrow, about two-and-a-half foot of height, and place a cut lengthwise along the side to scrape out the pulp into a bowl. Make a paste from the pulp of marshmerrow, leaves of hackle-lo and the rendered fat of a guar, adding grains of saltrice, to fill the hollowed-out stalk. Pulling the tail of your scrib down, skewer it from the gap between the third and last plates of its carapace, all the way through to the mouth. Gently beat along the spine of the shell with the blunt of a knife, and go on to make such a scrib for each guest at your hearth. Lean the stalks together over an open fire and roast until the browning of the marshmerrow has reached the tip. Each guest then takes turns to break off a leg of choice from respective scrib, comparing with the person opposite. Whoever holds the longest leg is given the head of the others scrib to suck on, while the other is receives the tail. The game is then repeated, with the one holding the shortest leg being tasked with presenting a humorous recital, mocking the scribs yearning for the sun, while the feasting moves on to the body of the scrib and the fillings of the stalk.

This one is meant to have originated as a egg-miners dish, cooked in the mines over an open fire. Thus the motif of the yearning for the sun, and the small social game connected with this dish.
Post Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:53 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The only issue I have with the Scribs-Yearning-the-Sun is that the wording is a little unclear; I suggest 'skewer it from the gap between the third and last plates of its carapace with the stalk'. As it is, the connection with the scrib and stalk isn't really explicitly established, which confused me on the first read-through.

I'd actually suggest making the author an inquisitive outlander who wandered (parts of?) Morrowind investigating the local cuisine. As such, the book could contain a mixture of recipes taken straight from the mouth of a local, like Shalk Mother-of-Rain, recipes he picked up from observing the locals, as with On the Preparation of Muck, and perhaps a few random notes, anecdotes, and perhaps even short traditional poems he might have picked up.
One question would be whether the author is more of a scholar, in which case the focus might be more on the more ritualistic elements of traditional cuisine, or if he is writing for a western audience, in which case it would be nice if he were to note down his impressions of the meals from an outlander's perspective. ("I would suggest holding off on this one if one is not accustomed to Dark Elven cuisine; while a dish with many merits, the westerner's palette was not born to appreciate them.")

As far as Shalk Mother-of-Rain is concerned, you make good points in regards to hunting as supplementary to the main diet, but shalk might not be the best creature to show that with, as I suspect they were supposed to be the traditional herd animal in Morrowind. (There tends to be a token shalk or two near each Ashlander tribal camp, akin to the token siltstrider carapace in each camp. Though, this being Morrowind, the shalk are naturally hostile to the player). I'd consider going with netch, nix-hound or alit instead.
As for the presenting of the eyes, I'd consider one to the oldest woman and one to the oldest man; the wisewoman and village elder.
Post Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



My counter-suggestion for the authorship is that the one with the elaborate recipes, with connected rituals and games, would be comissioned by a prominent figure within the Temple, in order to pass on a part of a tradition he feels is at risk of being forgotten in competition with Imperial cultural influence. Prominent religious figures are very often known to have been patrons of the arts throughout all manner of cultures from all over the world. I would suggest, however, that there should be a commented version of this book, with scholarly observations being made from the perspective of an outsider, to allow inclusion of information that is not of relevance for the originally intended audience (such as the small bit about the Scrib-recipe probably being derived from a miner's dish).

I still feel strongly that basic recipes should be presented in the way I previously suggested, since it seems like the most logical and seamless way of presenting them. That is, by means of an outlander who has travelled the province.

The importance of separating these recipes is a question of flexibility of placement in the ingame environment for effective storytelling and world presentation. A book on lavish recipes of a decidedly Dunmer palate would not be at home in your regular inn, while a book detailing the preparation of Saltrice porridge (the equivalent of boiling rice or making mashed potatoes) would look ridiculous in the kitchens of an Indoril estate. I also feel that there is an importance of presenting things from the emic AND etic perspectives, and being clear on what perspective is being represented when, thus one book by an outsider, and another by an insider.

I stand by my suggestion to present the eyes explicitly to the two eldest females: very often males are specially singled out for positions of honour, explicitly or implicitly, so I feel that actually excluding the males for once from such a position would be a nice and fresh thing to do, making at shot at liberating women from the position of being the the other. It'd also go very well with the modus operandi of going for the exotic over the familiar (although the semi-official statement coins it weird, which I feel is a slight bit off since you'll never out-weird the world we live in, try as you might).

I'd also refrain from using alit or netch in any recipes, except maybe very marginally, these being nowhere noted as being used for food in any capacity. I think this should focus on fleshing out the usage of ingredients already mentioned ingame as being used for food, since this has not already been done. It'd just get very muddled otherwise.

I agree that the Shalk-recipe should be rewritten to refer to herding rather than hunting, you make a good point about that. I'll rewrite both recipes according to the changes that have been discussed.
Post Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Quick rewrite and another sketch for a recipe added:

Shalk Mother-of-Rain

Grind a fist of dried comberries with a hand-and-half of saltrice-grains until they crack. Make a pulp from the leaves of the bittergreen plant thick with the slime of a rainfall, and stir the grains and comberries thereinto. Single out the shalk plumpest with eggs from your herd, and bury a blade in her until you can insert a finger into the incision up to the third knuckle, just behind the back of the head. Pull sideways to open a crack along the length of the back, and into this crack, stamp the mixture of bittergreen pulp, grains and comberries. Lay her to rest in a pit of hot coals and cover her with coals up to the mandibles. Let her rest until the mandibles cease to snap and resin renders along their edges, then remove her onto a table. Grab each leg by the inmost joint and twist until each comes loose, do the same for each mandible. Crack open the shell and scrape the contents into a bowl and serve forth. Customarily, the eyes are plucked out and set aside, each to be served in the first cup of greef to the two guest who can lay claim to being the eldest of the party, who are thereby obliged to recite a poem of herding, ushering in the first toast of the feast.

Scrib-Yearning-for-the-Moons
Cut a yearling stalk of marshmerrow, about two-and-a-half foot of height, and place a cut lengthwise along the side to scrape out the pulp into a bowl. Make a paste from the pulp of marshmerrow, leaves of hackle-lo and the rendered fat of a guar, adding grains of saltrice, to fill the hollowed-out stalk. Pulling the tail of your scrib down, skewer it on the filled stalk from the gap between the third and last plates of its carapace, all the way through to the mouth. Gently beat along the spine of the shell with the blunt of a knife, and go on to make such a scrib for each guest at your hearth. Lean the stalks together over an open fire and roast until the browning of the marshmerrow has reached the tip. Each guest then takes turns to break off a leg of choice from respective skewer, comparing with the person opposite. Whoever holds the longest leg is given the head of the others scrib to suck on, while the other is receives the tail. The game is then repeated, with the one holding the shortest leg being tasked with presenting a humorous recital, mocking the scribs yearning for the moons.

Eggs of the Dashing Kwama
Take hold of a kwama egg by the width of one palm down from the point and lop off the top with a heavy knife, and do so with each egg you are to prepare. Scoop out the contents into a bowl until you see the yolk burst. Put a mudcrab on his back and trace the edges of his belly with a knife, beating the hilt whenever it gets stuck, until the whole chest comes clean off. Pick out choice bits, such as heart, guts and glands and chop into bits the size of a thumb. Scrape out the meat of the crab into a mortar and beat until it comes to a fine grind, mix with the chopped innards, and add in kelp and salt to taste. Scoop up a handful of this mixture with your hand, and press into a fist-sized ball. Place such a ball into the center of each opened egg, and cover with the scooped-out white of the egg and replace the top. Set the eggs onto a smoldering bed of coals and let sit until the insides are cooked firm.



Is there interest in me to go on writing up stuff like this? I've done no writing showcase, and this project was originally Kleps. I don't mean to hijack this.
Post Sat May 02, 2015 8:59 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

There is interest! There's hardly a set limit of texts we can include; having different books written by different people with different approaches will make for more interesting and varied reading for the player, and will give developers more options when creating interiors (or exteriors).
Post Sat May 02, 2015 11:03 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



I just remembered this thread and the four small texts I wrote on the subject.

How much more material would be needed for this to be compiled into an ingame book? I'd be willing to set about completing it, if there is interest.
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:34 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
NathanJ
Member
30 Aug 2015



There is interest, thats gonna be cool^^ (and is already - Fermented Alit stew with Comberry jam , sounds tasty^^).
Well, Bethesda themselves would maybe satisfied with very few recipes, but thats one of the few things I didnt like in the elder scrolls games - that sometimes theres a book with an interesting title but with almost completely nothing inside (see "the blue book of riddles" for example).
But I dont want to push someone to write a 500 pages moster ;p
Remember, a piece of art carries the feeling the artist had when he crafted it. Just write the recipes you find interesting and I believe its gonna be a great ingame book

_________________
Why cant I simply use an Elder scroll to make my Clocks go slower?
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:51 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
10Kaziem
Lead Developer
03 Apr 2015



I did a project a few years ago that involved reading up on the history of cooking and recipes, and I found that until very recently (the last hundred years or so) no one wrote down recipes with actual measurements of quantity or time.

For instance, how does a peasant measure seven minutes? They'd cook it until the porridge got gloopy or some other visual or textural indicator (the meat falls off the bone). Or cook it overnight or something like that.

For amounts, peasants don't have scales or universal volumetric measurements, it would probably be something like "a handful" or "a pinch" or "a blob the size of a comberry."

Cooking fast or via heating up large amounts of water is expensive in terms of both fresh water and fuel for the fire. Probably, most recipes would be slow-roasting, simmering gently, or involve, for grains, allowing them to slowly absorb water in a sealed pot (like a ricemaker).

Actually, one more thing: people cook with spices a lot, so if there are spices, those ought to be included. Spices would be herbs and things like the bark or stems of certain plants, or the flowers or petals of other plants.

And last, fermentation and preservation methods (salting, sugar, drying) were also very common. Assume that your peasants do not have access to ice or coldness unless they live in the north, in which case cold is seasonally available. So it would be common for ingredients to be jellies, pastes, dried, etc.
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Also keep in mind that the line between cooking and alchemy may be pretty blurry...
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:56 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



10Kaziem wrote:
[...]
EJRS wrote:
...there is no evidence of refrigeration in Morrowind, meaning that other methods of preservation would likely be needed. Different methods of fermentation and souring might be interesting to look into.
[...]
...no list of ingredients, just a running text, and references to measurements are rather inprecise ("some", "a little").
[...]
Stoves don't seem to be in common use [...], culinary culture would likely not be formed around methods of preparation such as frying, sauteing and braising.

Wink

But that is a good list of general pointers, 10Kaziem.
Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:10 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



For quick reference, the recipes that I consider more or less finished:

Scrib-Yearning-for-the-Moons

Cut a yearling stalk of marshmerrow, about two-and-a-half foot of height, and place a cut lengthwise along the side to scrape out the pulp into a bowl. Make a paste from the pulp of marshmerrow, leaves of hackle-lo and the rendered fat of a guar, adding grains of saltrice, to fill the hollowed-out stalk. Pulling the tail of your scrib down, skewer it on the filled stalk from the gap between the third and last plates of its carapace, all the way through to the mouth. Gently beat along the spine of the shell with the blunt of a knife, and go on to make such a scrib for each guest at your hearth. Lean the stalks together over an open fire and roast until the browning of the marshmerrow has reached the tip. Each guest then takes turns to break off a leg of choice from respective skewer, comparing with the person opposite. Whoever holds the longest leg is given the head of the others scrib to suck on, while the other is receives the tail. The game is then repeated, with the one holding the shortest leg being tasked with presenting a humorous recital, mocking the scribs yearning for the moons.


Shalk Mother-of-Rain

Grind a fist of dried comberries with a hand-and-half of saltrice-grains until they crack. Make a pulp from the leaves of the bittergreen plant thick with the slime of a rainfall, and stir the grains and comberries thereinto. Single out the shalk plumpest with eggs from your herd, and bury a blade in her until you can insert a finger into the incision up to the third knuckle, just behind the back of the head. Pull sideways to open a crack along the length of the back, and into this crack, stamp the mixture of bittergreen pulp, grains and comberries. Lay her to rest in a pit of hot coals and cover her with coals up to the mandibles. Let her rest until the mandibles cease to snap and resin renders along their edges, then remove her onto a table. Grab each leg by the inmost joint and twist until each comes loose, do the same for each mandible. Crack open the shell and scrape the contents into a bowl and serve forth. Customarily, the eyes are plucked out and set aside, each to be served in the first cup of greef to the two guest who can lay claim to being the eldest of the party, who are thereby obliged to recite a poem of herding, ushering in the first toast of the feast


Eggs of the Dashing Kwama

Take hold of a kwama egg by the width of one palm down from the point and lop off the top with a heavy knife, and do so with each egg you are to prepare. Scoop out the contents into a bowl until you see the yolk burst. Put a mudcrab on his back and trace the edges of his belly with a knife, beating the hilt whenever it gets stuck, until the whole chest comes clean off. Pick out choice bits, such as heart, guts and glands and chop into bits the size of a thumb. Scrape out the meat of the crab into a mortar and beat until it comes to a fine grind, mix with the chopped innards, and add in kelp and salt to taste. Scoop up a handful of this mixture with your hand, and press into a fist-sized ball. Place such a ball into the center of each opened egg, and cover with the scooped-out white of the egg and replace the top. Set the eggs onto a smoldering bed of coals and let sit until the insides are cooked firm.


The last one was written in a different style, intended to be a part of an Imperial-authored book on Morrowind cuisine:

On the preparation of muck:

Mucksponge is grown in the humid regions of Morrowind for the fibrous slime it produces when crushed, harvested in the native fashion from the cavity of the cylindrical sponge using a scoop-like shovel. If consumed raw, this slime produces nausea, pimples and rashes, which is why the natives of Morrowind have refined a process to rid the slime of these effects, involving letting the muck sit in an urn or a barrel for the course of a month, together with the bladders and often other assorted offal cut from the slaughterfish, with regional varieties also incorporating either unripe comberries or the leaves of the Hackle-lo plant, after which the jelly-like portions of the slime float to the surface and are skimmed off to be consumed.

Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:35 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
10Kaziem
Lead Developer
03 Apr 2015



Those look great and are written in a very convincing style. I like them!
Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:30 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



10Kaziem wrote:
For instance, how does a peasant measure seven minutes? They'd cook it until the porridge got gloopy or some other visual or textural indicator (the meat falls off the bone). Or cook it overnight or something like that.

"Cook for the duration of two prayers for good health to Almalexia."

Medieval smiths recited special poems/prayers during the smithing to measure time.
Post Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:27 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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