Dumnonian Food

from

On Dumnonia

by

Shane of Corin

Milk products are common in the Dumnonian diet. Camels and goats provide most of the raw milk. Mares' milk is also used, but milk from cows is virtually unknown. Some milk is turned into butter and a pungent, white cheese that the desert people seem to fancy, although I find it all but inedible. Some traders have learned to ferment milk, perhaps by accident during a caravan run since it is hard to believe that anyone would create such a vile drink on purpose. Most milk, however, is consumed in its unaltered form by children and adults alike. The prominence of milk in the Dumnonian diet may account in part for the lack of bowed legs among the Riders, traders and dragonless warriors who spend most of their lives mounted on one type of creature or another.

Most meat procured by Dumnonian hunters is fed to the Dragons. This is a matter of economy rather than preference since Riders willingly share their Bond Partners' food. Chickens are valued more for their eggs than for their meat. Sheep provide mutton and lamb as well as wool. Wild fowl, such as guinea hens, are fairly common at banquets, but they are generally too small for anyone to bother with them on a daily basis. Antelope, lions, lizards, sandhogs, snakes and other desert animals are eaten in abundance. Antelope and lizards are the preferred game because of the many uses Dumnonian tailors make of antelope hide and because of a general draconic antipathy toward lizards. I'm not talking about your common garden lizards, by the way. The desert lizards are enormous by Daethian standards, often growing fifteen to twenty feet in length and reaching as high at the shoulder as your average horse. The Dumnonians commonly cook their meats in soups and broths, a custom which probably derived from an effort to stretch the food supply over several meals.

Oases provide dates, figs and olives. In times of extreme famine a flour of sorts is prepared from date pits, and I suppose that the resulting substance is preferable to starving. Fish are found in some oases, but these creatures are generally too small to interest a Dragon. Few Dumnonians even know how to fish, so the people as a whole are more familiar with salted varieties from the rivers and lakes of Rashtar and Daethia. Caravans import these fish, along with fruits and nuts from the Great Woods and wine, rice, vegetables and raisins from Daethia. Such foodstuffs are extremely expensive, though, so most desert people favor a native diet.

Salt is an extremely common spice, easily accessible and quite inexpensive in the desert. Much of Dumnonia's trade with Daethia and Rashtar consists of supplying salt in exchange for goods since few regions outside the desert can boast any salt deposits at all. Exotic spices include garlic, herbs, honey and sugar, which are procured from Daethia. Candy is a rarity in the desert since it must be imported from Krilliac by traders.

Visit Me'ira's Clip Art For Dancers, the source for this image.

Qahffah, which is obtained from the Great Woods, is a semiprecious substance found in almost every tent. Qahffah trees produce dark beans, which are roasted, ground and steeped in water to produce the drink, which is revered among the Dumnonians. The strong, bitter brew, which has a deceptive scent that is reminiscent of cinnamon and hazlenut, is offered as a sign of hospitality to honored guests, although I have found few people who actually enjoy drinking the vile liquid.

Dumnonian "bread" tends to be an unleavened substance that may either be slightly breadlike or more like a cracker. This staple should not be confused with what the Dumnonians call "manna," a holy food that resembles wafers yet melts in one's mouth like Krilliac paper candy--only without the sweetness. Clerics of the Lord of Plenty usually conjure the manna that is served at Feasts. All clerics know how to create the divine food, however, and most Dragonriders can produce enough manna to keep themselves and their Dragons alive in emergencies. As with the holy foods provided by Daethian clerics, however, a steady diet of manna is discouraged--possibly because of magical side effects.

Food Generation Chart

Writing about a Dumnonian feast and haven't a clue what's being served? Here's a chart that summarizes some of the above information. You can either roll randomly on it using a d100 or simply pick out the items that sound good.

01-05 bread 70-71 nuts
06-07 butter 72-73 olives
08-09 candy 74 peaches
10-13 cheese 75-76 raisins
14-15 chicken 77-80 rice
16 coconuts 81-84 salt
17 qahffah 85-86 sheep, fattened
18-23 dates 87 sherbert
24-27 eggs 88-89 soup
28-30 figs 90-91 spices
31-32 fish 92-93 sugar
33 fish tongues 94-96 vegetables
34-36 fowl 97-00 wine
37-38 fruits    
39-40 garlic    
41-42 herbs    
43-44 honey    
45-46 koumiss (fermented mare's milk)    
47-48 leben (sour milk)    
49-59 meat    
60-61 milk, camel    
62-64 milk, goat    
65-66 milk, mare    
67-69 mutton    

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