A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook
by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer (Introduction by George R.R. Martin)
Review by Judy Newton
Bantam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345534491
Date: 29 May 2012
List Price $35.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Inn at the Crossroads / Show Official Info /
Many beloved works of literature are honored by spin-off cookbooks. They tend to vary in usefulness for those who may be strangers to the original source; fortunately, even those who are unacquainted with the Starks and Lannisters will like this one.
Inspired by George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, the book is structured by grouping the recipes by region of the fictional Westeros, emphasizing the variations in style of cuisine found among them.
Breakfast has a special place in the hearts of the cookbook authors, as each section begins with that hearty meal. Savory and sweet dishes follow. Most are introduced by one or more of the following: a quote from a volume of the series; a period source; a comment on the dish, which may contain a short lesson in culinary history; a redacted version of the period recipe; and a modern version. This makes these Medieval and Renaissance recipes accessible for the modern cook, although most of the modern versions bear only nominal resemblance to the period ones.
This book could be used as a source for an entire Westeros-based dinner, or just for a casual side dish or main. Its versatility is enhanced by a page of menu suggestions, and breadcrumbs interspersed throughout -- suggestions for pairings and matchings of dishes from different sections.
The illustrations, while suitably rustic, make the food enticingly attractive. I do have some quibbles with the structure of the book. Why is there no list of recipe sources? Most of the historical books cited are available in modern editions and could be procured with a modicum of effort, if the reader were so inclined. And, the book seems to have been designed without regard to overleafing - the cook is forced to flip pages to follow recipes in far too many cases.
Several recipes are given for exotic dishes: "Roasted Boar", "Dornish Snake with Fiery Sauce" (using rattlesnake), and "Honey-Spiced Locusts" (the book offers crickets as an alternative to locusts, and I suspect cicadas would serve as well). Alas, no sources are suggested for the procuration of any of these ingredients!
But enough about the book -- how do the recipes cook up? This is the most important point of any cookbook. I made the Honeyed Chicken recipe and, just because nothing exceeds like excess, made both recipes for Peaches in Honey (Roman and Modern). It was all delicious, and the recipes were easy to follow, even though I did have to overleaf two out of three.
This is an essential book for the cook who is a fan of Song of Ice and Fire, and a useful and entertaining addition to the cookbook library for everyone else.
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