A Modern Look at Cultural Cuisine of the Faendryl

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A Modern Look at Cultural Cuisine of the Faendryl is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.

A Modern Look at the Cultural Cuisine of the Faendryl


Before Ta'Faendryl was old, ruined, covered with vegetation, and overrun by the ithzir and other creatures, it was a shining city and a leading example of elven culture. There is little history specific to dining prior to the Faendryl exile to Rhoska-Tor after the Undead War, but it is known that the land around it was inhospitable to agriculture, and without arability to produce crops, it was difficult to also raise livestock.

Thus, in order to survive, the Faendryl had to scavenge from what little meat that they caught -- one can imagine that was likely bugs, snakes, lizards -- and the often meager, warped plants they could forage. The only solution was to imbue the land with magic to sustain farming, giving herds of roltons, velnalins, and cows enough sustainability to provide for proper butchery.

The myth that Faendryl subsisted on a diet of barren wasteland fare was probably just a short-lived period in reality, given their resourcefulness and magical abilities. Tampering with nature did come with a price however, though many Faendryl might argue it was worth it. Using spells, they forced the earth to grow crops unnaturally, and both the Faendryl and the livestock ingested these plants suffused with magic. Invigorated by the many mana foci within Maelshyve's ruins, as well as living in the caves beneath it -- this became a "normalization" of sustenance production at the time.

It also changed the Faendryl in unnatural ways.

New Ta'Faendryl

Only after the Sea Elf War, better known as the obliteration of the Ashrim -- both race and city -- and the failed attempt of the Faendryl to regain their leading role in the Elven empire, the Faendryl abandoned what shelter they had built and its bitter reminder of the past, moving on to establish New Ta'Faendryl just north of Rhoska-Tor. Little is known of the new city, but they had the ability to rebuild to some semblance of their former glory, now unhindered... and there was a return to a more usual diet of foods and methods of preparation. Incorporation of assimilated tastes developed over eons of trade and travel also influenced their dining habits. As such, the Faendryl diet has very little of what can be considered a specific regional cuisine.

Modern Era

Today, many Faendryl households employ cooks, though some do enjoy preparing their own meals. You can find that Faendryl often keep some staple items in their pantries. Chief among them are spices, which were initially used to offset the bland taste of fire-roasted or boiled foods and are now used to elevate flavors. Most common are ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, parsley, mint, thyme -- the latter three stored both fresh and dried. Infusing these herbs into fats, like butters and oils, give a nuanced enhancement to dishes. Some among us prefer to eat little meat and instead include other proteins into our diets, along with the addition of nuts and cheeses. While extravagance may be found on Faendryl tables during formal dinners and celebrations, with the inclusion of richly sauced entrees and elaborate desserts, much of our mainstays contain just a few ingredients.

Today's Cuisine

Imagine this... a simple flatbread made with little to no leavening is kiln-baked with onions that have been allowed to caramelize amid slices of roasted fig and a sprinkling of crumbled goat cheese, all drizzled finely with wild honey and a dusting of fresh chopped herbs atop it. Or perhaps a salad of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers tossed with a lemon-mint yogurt sauce, cool and crisp, for a fresh-from-the-garden palate-cleanser between courses or a light meal mid-day, especially delicious during warmer months.

Small kabobs of minced, seasoned lamb that have been rolled in cracked bulgur and then fried till golden brown -- crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender inside. Who doesn't love meat on a stick?

A bowl of colorful lentils and long grains of wild rice simmered with currants, cinnamon, pine nuts, and maybe a small mince of apricots creates a playful mix of sweet and savory.

A final example to bring it together... a thick wedge of tender semolina cake liberally doused with a syrup of rosewater and honey, to make it moist, slivers of dates running through the delicate crumb.

The above are just a few examples of what might be eaten daily and is typical of the Faendryl culture.

Pantry Staples

Meats: Lamb, beef, goat, or fowl are either charred over open flame or left to braise in liquid, like wine or stock, with hearty root vegetables for long hours in a lidded cast iron pot. Also, meat could be heavily salted for preservation, or dried and later reconstituted.

Vegetables: Generally, these are simple in preparation for the most part, harvested and used when ripe or put into cool or dry storage.

Dairy and Cultures: Fresh options were available for those who possess cold storage, such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream are used to augment simplicity, from small, flavorful crumbles and curds to rich, decadent sauces.

Desserts: The more extravagant desserts served are mostly taken from mainstream exposure to other cultures. Simple compotes (stewed fruits) or preparations of fresh fruit are preferred, the latter enjoyed with a bit of fresh mint and/or a drizzle of honey. Treats like cookies and cakes made of ground nuts or natural flours -- these are closer to Faendryl cuisine roots.

Drinks and Refreshment: For beverages, wine is certainly a part of our culture, ranging from deep, dark reds to pale, sunlit golds. Some of the best historical vintages arguably came from experimenting during exile, given both the magic-imbued land and challenges of the terroir. It would be difficult, but it's not impossible, to replicate them.

Spirits, most notably Faendryl absinthe, seem to be where we most shine, having for many years only had simple fruit with which to distill. The palm date makes an excellent rum, and when combined with an extraordinary use of spices, is delicious alone or used in cooking.

Non-alcoholic options can be as plain as a glass of goat or other milk, a slurry of yogurt and honey, lemonade enhanced with muddled mint are some cooling choices. Thick, strong coffee laced with cardamom or cinnamon is generally reserved for postprandial enjoyment.

Tea made from young, green leaves or a tisane -- an infusion made with herbs or flowers -- is enjoyed at any time of the day and is often revered ritualistically in its preference.

All of this just touches the surface of what can become a more detailed compendium of Faendryl food and drink.

A Short Faendryl Cuisine Compendium

Type Information
SPICES Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, clove, turmeric, saffron, sumac, paprika, ground chiles, ginger, anise, pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, bay leaf, fennel, coriander
OTHER SEASONINGS Onions, garlic, herbs, coconut, mint, ground nuts.
VEGETABLES AND GRAINS Anything able to grow in temperate or more arid climates, or readily available at markets. Lentils, rice, oats, dried legumes.
MEAT AND FISH Traditionally cows, lamb, goat, and rolton, as well as wild game. With access to more livestock, additional proteins have been added. Though little stocked water was near Rhoska-Tor, the ocean and lakes teeming with life offer the addition of all kinds of fish and crustaceans.
FRUITS AND NUTS Now, anything fresh, dried, and found at markets. Traditionally, dates, prickly pear (cactus), jojoba, almonds, wolfberry, buckthorn buds, pistachio, pecans, pine nuts. Flours made by nuts (and grains) could be fashioned into desserts.
BEVERAGES Non-Alcoholic: Cultured dairy products, milks, juices.
Wine: Deep, full-bodied reds are more preferred and prevalent, some light rosés and whites with passable results.
Spirits: Anything that can be distilled -- dates make an excellent rum. Wormwood, anise, and fennel give absinthe its unique color and taste.
TYPICAL MEALS After a short but steady diet of bugs and reptiles, one could easily understand why many Faendryl chose to become vegetarians once their generations were no longer restricted to Rhoska-Tor, despite the easy access to abundant meat and fish. Dishes of fresh or cooked vegetables and grains or legumes prepared with broth and herbs or spices would be their mainstays, sometimes augmented with fruit, cheese, or meat. Those who have become more acclimated to the foods from other cultures might indulge in preparation using red meats, fowl, and fish. This richness of food might be customary for a few, most moderate and prefer to save it for special occasions.
DESSERTS Assimilation has certainly broadened the range of sweets and treats the Faendryl now incorporate into their menus, but in some families, the traditions of semolina and oil-based cakes, nut cookies or desserts, fruit served either fresh or as cooked compotes, or candies made from the sap or resins of various plants commonly finish off a large meal.
SNACKS Some still enjoy crispy little bugs fried with seasonings or coated in candy or chocolate. Many think nothing of munching on a dried piece of salt-cured reptile. The gamut today includes the myriad of choices commonly found, the result of global centralization in the cities and representative of every culture imaginable. Crackers, fried chips of vegetables, dips made from pureed foods have also infiltrated Faendryl homes.

OOC Notes

  • Created by GM Mariath, 2023
  • Many thanks to the PCs involved in the 2019 Faendryl Symposium who contributed ideas to this document