A Nord’s Table Vol. 1
Popular consensus labels Skyrim as a cold, barren, inhospitable mountain wasteland devoid of fine culture or indeed much life at all. Her people likewise are often touted as little more than barbarous hill-dwellers with no taste for the finer things. I, Roner Savel, seek to dispel this slander through the ultimate expression of any culture: food. Nordic cuisine has surprising depth and is completely unique from other Provinces staples. This series of books will each detail a typical Nordic meal: breakfast, luncheon, and supper respectively.
This ubiquitous tamrielic classic has seen many different regional and cultural iterations, but the Nordic take embodies the people of Skyrim perfectly. A large, hearty, and surprisingly sweet bowl of grain to start the day and fill the stomach. Ingredients may vary with the region, but always serve piping hot with kompot or mead.
-A small bowl of cracked grain, typically wheat or rye
-A cupfull of heavy cream or sweet butter
-One or two spoonfuls of honey or sugar
-Dried snowberries, apples, or grapes to taste
-Roasted nuts or seeds likewise
-Optionally, mild pork, deer, or sheep sausage
Over a low-burning fire in an iron pot bring a cup fresh, clean water to a rolling simmer before adding your cracked grains. When the grains begin to become tender and most of the water has disappeared begin stirring in the cream or butter, preferably both. Once the porridge is significantly thick and your grans are little more than slightly-toothsome mush remove from the heat and add your sweeteners, fruits, and nuts.
It is not uncommon to find people adding mild or sweet sausages to this wonderfully filling breakfast porridge. With or without the extra meat, a bowlfull will keep one’s stomach occupied for several hours.
The Tusked Bristleback Boar is a common nuisance to farmers in Skyrim, violent animals who seem to enjoy picking fights with larger creatures. Their meat is tough and hard to chew, but the Nords have developed methods of cooking near every part of this pest. All of which pale in comparison to smoking the underbelly.
-Freshly butchered Bristleback Boar belly
-Cracked black pepper
The process of making Bristleback Bacon is a long one, that begins with curing the meat. Heavily coat the protein with salt, black pepper, and molasses sugar before storing in a cool and dry cellar for three to five days. This both flavors and tenderizes the pork. Once cured, smoke over a very small applewood fire until deeply red in color and tender.
This cured and smoked bacon is well preserved enough to store in a cool and dry cellar for winter, but when you wish to serve simply slice thick slabs from the belly and fry in its own fat atop a cast-iron skillet. Typically eaten with one or two chicken’s eggs fried in the residual grease.
People typically equate Nords to their beverage of choice, the fermented honey drink called mead. Many overlook other Nordic dishes made from honey. The natives of Skyrim have been harvesting and cultivating honey for generations upon generations to use in confections and meals alike, and the sweet Honey Cake is a prime example.
-A pot of honey
-3 chicken’s eggs
-A large bowl of fine ground wheat flour
First combine the butter, honey, and eggs in an iron pot to slowly heat. Be sure to keep the fire very small and to heat the mixture very slowly as to not scramble the egg. Once at a rolling simmer and deeply golden in color, remove from heat and add the flour to form a dry dough which you will knead thoroughly. Then simply divide into balls and roll into rounds to bake in a clayware oven.
While the cakes bake vigorously combine the heavy cream with more honey to form a topping for your cakes. Allow the cakes to cool and harden once removed from the oven, top with the honey-cream, and enjoy. These go particularly well with strong tea I’ve found.
A fruit-and-honey drink, I’m sure you can observe a pattern, made from excess harvest. The Reach’s temperate climate makes fruit a commonly farmed produce. Much fruit is made into alcoholic drinks, but not all are fit for such purpose. Fruit that’s too ripe or simply unneeded is preserved by way of Kompot.
-Silver palm fruit
Bring a large iron pot of water to a boil, and add in the fruit to poach. Stir this mix constantly to prevent fruit from burning to the pot. Be sure to remove any scum that floats to the top of the pot during boiling, this consists of impurities and dirt that may have been in the fruit. If you wish for a sweeter drink, add honey to taste.
Continue to boil and stir until the fruit is completely soft and the water has adopted a red to purple hue depending on your mix of produce. This drink is often jarred and sealed to preserve in the cellar for several months with the fruit pulp still inside. Drink hot in the winter or chilled in the summer months.
A Nord’s Table Vol. 2
Continuing my look into the intricacies of Nord cuisine, we come to the hardier midday meals. Where as the first volume in this series focused on dishes those waking up in Skyrim may break their fast with, this second volume outlines what could colloquially be referred to as “ploughman’s lunches.” Skyrim is indeed a harsh wilderness province, and working the land here requires one to eat well to keep their strength up throughout the day.
Typically enjoyed by dockhands and fishermen who cast their lines into the sea of ghosts. This simple seafood broth takes advantage of the plethora of nautical life found off Skyrim’s coastline. A particular special of inns in Northshore and Broken Cape, Winterhold Stew is often a Nord’s only respite from a bitter winter night on the water.
-3 to 4 salted cod fillets
-1 pound of mudcrab meat
-2 slaughterfish fillets
-2 cleaned leeks
-1 large onion
Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil as you clean and chop the leeks and onion, and add both to the pot. While the vegetables are stewing, begin to cube the fish. Add your seafood to the pot and stir occasionally. Season to taste with black pepper as the cod should provide plenty of salt to the dish.
Winterhold Stew is often served with crusty bread and cheese, and is stored in a barrel on some ships patrolling Skyrim’s northern shoreline. A warm and filling dish for midday to stave off the bone-chilling winds the sea of ghosts is often home to.
The word “horker” is a broad term used by Nords to describe any water-dwelling mammal and not just one species of animal. These thick skinned, often tusked beasts have been hunted by the people of Skyrim for centuries for food, pelts, and oil. As such their meat has been worked into a variety of dishes from fried kotlets to sausages. The Horker Pie, however, is an inn-food staple across the province.
-4 pounds ground horker
-3 to 4 potatoes
-Salt and black pepper to taste
Begin by setting the potatoes to boil. Once completely tender, mash and add the butter as well as salt and black pepper. Set this aside. Next is browning the ground horker meat in an iron skillet. The animal’s fat will start to render from the meat during this, and some of the excess should be spooned off and set aside to solidify for use at a later time. Sprinkled the meat with flour and toss.
Transfer the browned and seasoned meat to an earthenware casserole to mix in the goat’s cheese, as well as one chopped carrot and any other vegetables one wishes. This dish is traditionally made without much in the way of produce, however. Next top with mashed potatoes and bake in an oven until the surface is a golden brown. Horker Pie is best accompanied by a pint of ale or mead, I’ve found.
An Eastern Nordic dish that came about likely during Skyrim’s occupation of Morrowind centuries ago. This strange concoction of pork blood and cereal is surprisingly tasty if not overly metallic. As the province’s wealth has grown, so has this dish’s reach. It is not uncommon to find Blood Cake on feast tables across Skyrim.
-A jug of boar’s blood
-A bowl of over-boiled saltrice
-A bowl of cereal grain, preferably barley or oats
-Pork or beef fat, cubed
-Salt & black pepper
-One finely chopped onion
Combine the cereal, saltrice, onion, fat, and seasonings in a large bowl well. Setting the solids aside, one should whisk and strain the pig’s blood through cheesecloth to remove any impurities within. Improperly prepared blood can lead to worms and illness of the stomach. Fold the strained blood in with the solid mixture well; making sure to evenly distribute the grains and flavorings until a thick almost batter-like mixture is formed.
Next pour your blood mixture into an earthenware bread dish and bake for nearly an hour, up until an hour or until a knife inserted can be withdrawn clean. The loaf can be stored like this for some time, and to serve simply slice and fry in a cast iron pan in its own grease until crispy on the sides and warmed through. Particularly satisfying when eaten on a cold winter’s night.
Whole Hog Roast
The quintessential Skyrim feast centerpiece, an entire Bristleback roasted over open flame on a spit. This symbol of a successful hunt has been perfected over eras by the Nords, and has in recent years only grown in flavor thanks to the Empire’s wealth. Spices from Hammerfell elevate what was once a simple way to cook a fell boar to fine cuisine that has graced the table of kings.
-An entire Bristleback Boar, gut shaven and cleaned.
-A basket’s worth of apples
-Several skinned and chopped onions
-Silver palm fruits
-A spice mixture of salt, black pepper, ground red pepper, and mustard seed
Your hog should, of course, first be thoroughly cleaned of innards and fur before anything else. Liberally season the inside of the hog’s chest cavity with the spice mixture before stuffing it full, but not over full, with your onions and fruits. These will help to deeply flavor the pork from the inside out. Next, rub down the skin once again with spice mixture until completely coated. Affix the boar to a wooden or metal pole to be suspended over an applewood fire and spun slowly to cook over the course of several hours. This process can take many, many hours.
You will know the roast is cooked through when the meat is tender and whitish brown in color, and the skin is golden brown and crisp. Simply slice off pieces for each dinner guest when you serve; some also spoon the fruit and onion filling atop the meat for extra flavor and moisture. This dish’s stunning presentation will impress even the most staunch doubters of Nord cuisine.
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Based on the Imperial Kitchen by Infragis, the Skyrim equivalent. Eight lore-friendly (I hope) recipes based on Nords, none of these recipes remotely work except maybe the blood sausage. Don't try this at home kiddies.