Penned by the Esteemed Author and Self-Proclaimed Scholar, Ebullo the Munificent of Cymril.
Volume One - The Staples of Life
Sadly, many travellers are self-constrictive in their tastes, surprisingly unadventurous with foodstuffs given their dangerous pastime. As luck would have it, these poor fools are fortunate enough that a few staples of Talislantan cuisine are common almost throughout the continent. Unfortunately, they bear scrutiny for their importance, if not their tastes.
The humble Provender, hardy and prolific in the extreme, it's taste known throughout the continent. Nearly always overlooked, the Provender provides us with the grain for bread, and it's grassy leaves are the fodder for much of our livestock.
Provender Bread. Possessed of a 'nutty' flavour and a texture like moist sponge, few aromas set the mouth watering like the smell of freshly baked Provender Bread. It is served with the majority of common meals, adding bulk and substance to any dish. Of course, it came become bland if over-baked so many eateries add a touch of spice to the mix, or even tiny pieces of fruit, vegetables, fish of meat, so each slice holds a few tasty morsels. Cheap, filling, and often surprisingly satisfying, Provender Bread is the cornerstone of Talislantan civilisation. Toasted, it makes a tasty snack.
Provender Root. Sadly, whereas the grain makes for superb bread, the root is barely fit for animals. Although edible (and I use that term VERY loosely) it's potently bitter, leaving a foul, numbing aftertaste that can only be removed with copious amounts of strong drink. Only the destitue lower themselves to consume, and even they usually retch. Typically baked in it's skin, it's incredibly cheap. Even livestock have the good sense not to eat it. In fact, the only beast that seems to have developed a taste for the wretched root is the Land Kra.
Provender Dumplings. Stew is obviously common around the continent, with any leftover scraps being thrown together and boiled. No Talislantan stew is complete without Provender dumplings. Baking the flour in a rough ball shape with animal fat, the dumplings are crisped-off and added to the stew, soaking up some of the flavour. If any cook is really serious about his trade he will mix in some herbs or spices with the dumpling mix. Surprisingly, small dumplings are very popular in Mandalan culture, but that will be covered in a later volume.
Our winged friends are nothing if not commonplace, having adapted to most of Talislanta's variable climates. Of course, their meat varies, but is typically white in colour, with a smooth texture. Strength fo flavour varies enormously, as does the dryness of the meat, from the greasy (but succulent) flesh of the waterborne Qwuk, to the dry flesh of the domestically raised, 6-legged Kinchin. Indeed, it's truly astounding just how many meats taste like Kinchin...
Served in an infinate variety of ways, Avir is usually roasted. If any accusation came be levelled at the Avir it's the accursed monotony of plucking them.
Avir Eggs. As if their meat wasn't boon enough, Avir eggs are a blessing to cooks everywhere. That smooth egg-white and green yolk have adorned many a platter, and Avir eggs have a rich taste quite unlike anything else. Usually served poached or boiled, the humble Kinchin egg is known throughout the realms, making a tasty snack when scrambled.
A common domestic livestock, the hulking but placid Durge provide nearly 1000lbs of prime meat. Indeed, even the liver, heart and tripe of the beast is commonly used, and it's immense quantities of sweet marrow are scooped, roasted, and served in steaming slices.
It's meat is extremely thick, red, and tough, usually marinated before roasting to soften the flesh slightly. It's meat is strong flavoured, and present in nearly every meal in Talislanta.
Dried strips of salted Durge jerky form the basis of most trail rations, but even if you run out of provisions, Durge are common enough in the wild, and make easy targets.
Erd Meat. It's actually uncommon to eat Erd, for they are valued primarily for their milk producing qualities. As a result, most Erd meat is from old stock, being tough and chewy, with a weak flavour. At best, it's cheap.
Erd Milk. An uncommon beverage, Erd milk is thick and creamy with a slightly 'cheesy' aroma. Unsurprisingly it main use is the creation of Erd Cheese.
Erd Cheese. Possessed of powerful flavour, Erd Cheese varies greatly depending on the region it hails from. Smoked Erd cheese is extremely popular in Cymril, the cheese taking on a slight flavouring from the wood it's smoked over, the most popular (and expensive) of which is the wood of the Spice Tree, giving the cheese a ginger tang.
Texture varies greatly too, from the pungent and crumbly Erd-White of Zandu to the mild, smooth wedges of Aaman. Erd cheese is invariably served in slices with Provender bread as a cold lunchtime menu.
The alcoholic beverage of the unwashed masses, Grog is the catch-all (and in my opinion, well deserved) name given to the basest and cheapest alcohol of any region. Tastes range from sickening to blnd, and the alcohol content varies from negligable to 'one-tankard k.o.'. I myself had the misfortune to try a grog in Arim that almost peeled the skin off the roof of my mouth. Chaos seemed a godsend thereafter. At best, grog is a cheap way to lose consciousness.