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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review- A Feast of Ice and Fire

If you love to cook, and you're a fan of the George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, than you probably already know about the blog Inn at the Crossroads. If you've only watched the HBO series,  Game of Thrones, then you've missed the wonderful descriptions of food in the series. A big part of Martin's world building is trying to make you experience things on a visceral level, which includes rich, detailed descriptions of meals that you can almost smell and taste.

The authors decided to try and cook their way through the books, and more than that, to do it as authentically as possible using modern ingredients and techniques. They also wanted to update the recipes for modern palettes as well and provide information about both versions. So that required carefully reading the series, then doing the research in old cookbooks, some of which were in other languages. As someone who has researched medieval recipes, I really admire their commitment and dedication. A lot of those recipes aren't exact, and a lot of the words for ingredients aren't commonly used anymore which requires even more research. They succeeded brilliantly.

I got my copy about two weeks ago, and have made a few recipes from it. They all turned out very well, the instructions and ingredients are accurate. A lot of the recipes use exotic ingredients that you may not want to try or that may be hard for you to acquire, the authors have included some recommended substitutions.

While the recipes are heavy on the meat, there are a lot of great side dishes as well including a buttery, cheesy turnip dish that is absolutely a favorite in my household, either the layered, baked version that's more authentic to the period or the mashed, creamy modern version.

The Sister's Stew is my favorite of the recipes I've tried out so far. Living in Alaska, most of the ingredients can be locally sourced and it's rich and delicious with bread on the side. It's one that I plan to make at least once a month come winter, just as a special treat.

My daughter was also very enthused about it, she hasn't read the books and dislikes the tv show, but has enjoyed the blog quite a bit. She sat down and read it like a novel, the recipe introductions read easily and conversationally. Then she grabbed a saucepan and made herself the iced honey milk which she declared is one of her favorite drinks.

There are recipes for fruit dishes, desserts, vegetable side dishes and breads.Main courses are made using all sorts of ingredients like different kinds of poultry, beef, bacon, rabbit, fish and even rattlesnake.

Gorgeous photos, well researched and delicious, impressive rustic food. I recommend this not just to fans of The Song of Ice and Fire, or of the show Game of Thrones, but to anyone who is interested in food history, cooking or medieval reenactment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, my reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. You can read more about my review policy here.

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