Creating food systems in a fantasy world.
Alfheim is one of Nine Realms, but until Sir Thomas arrived, humans hadn’t stepped foot onto the world. This made it a bit difficult to weave in foods, plants, and other items we were familiar with, but with a love for food, I came up with some interesting creations beyond bread and water.
There’s no right or wrong way to create food in fantasy. Any writer can blend multiple worlds, create from scratch, or root into the world we know. Food, plant life, and animals can add another layer of depth to fantasy. Characters need to eat and sustain their lives.
Of course, I didn’t fill the book with tasty fare, and it shouldn’t take the place of an actual plot. Overall, there’s no need to cover every meal. However, food and foliage creates the world and centers the reader. It gives us pause to delve into the world and build character. After a long battle, one might need to slow pace and unwind. These opportunities are often overlooked as the curtain falls, breaking the scene.
Here’s an example:
I made a fire and went to sleep, hoping tomorrow brought a new adventure.
By weaving in food and the act of preparing and creating food, we paint a brighter picture of the world and the character. Read this example for comparison:
I stacked wood upon the fire, making sure enough logs and kindling were nearby. The night promised plenty of icy wind, and my weary bones required extra warmth. Snow remained abundant, and I gathered a heap into my traveler’s pot. As it boiled over the fire, I retrieved some dried elkson and pungent herbs from my rations pouch.
The chewy meat tenderized, and the scent of stew wafted from the pot. Tomorrow I’d hunt and replenish my stores. I glanced to the tree line and said a silent prayer. The winter months proved the hardest for men like me. Freedom came with a hefty price, and I’d paid my fair share over the years. I bundled in my blankets and sipped the thin, brackish broth. Almost perfect, almost as good as momma’s hearty stew. My eyes closed, and I allowed her memory to warm me. With each sip, I saw her smiling face or felt the embrace of her warm arms until they lulled me to sleep.
The man still builds his fire and sleeps. But can you see, taste, and feel the sensory and development of the character in a clear light?
Please place on your imaginary hats and envision my Thomas and Mori as if they sat down for a hot, spiced cup of bumble mead. Sadly, when they arrive in Longawagon, they were low on funds and forced to eat bread. Here’s a recipe that’ll come in later in the series.
Longawagon Mulled Bumble Mead (Non-alcoholic)
Serves 25 (per 4 ounce serving)
- 2 quarts of bumble-crisp appled cider (honey-crisp apple cider)
- 6 cups boggleberry juice (cranberry juice)
- ¼ cup packed muddied sugar (brown sugar)
- 4 slivers of spiced bark (cinnamon sticks)
- 1 ½ teaspoons whole pricklers (whole cloves)
- 1 sour fruit, thinly sliced (lemon)
- Combine all ingredients in a hefty vessel and simmer for a ¼ mark.
- Remove floaters and serve warm.
That was great. Thank you, Rae.
Rae Z. Ryans currently resides in Tumbleweed, Alabama, with her four demons (cats), three lycans (dogs), three sprites (kiddos), and her “normal” mood-shifting husband. Born in Alaska and raised in New Jersey, Rae now calls the south her home. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, Rae never lived in an igloo.
She claims to own a pink elephant that buy shoes and books. While there is plenty of proof that Rae loves both, no one can prove the existence of Punky the elephant. She would point out that we can’t disprove it either.
All kidding aside, Rae is an alternate ego who enjoys writing urban and historical fantasy/paranormal in her spare time. With a deep love for mythology and history, she blends the two together, and creates new worlds, heroic obstacles, and weaves dark tales. These works are often loosely inspired by Norse Mythology, but with plenty of unique twists.
She is currently working on a secret (shh) new steampunk series and continuing to write the Nine Realms series: Alfheim and Midgard. You can find her via http://www.raezryans.com and http://www.facebook.com/raezryans (other links below).
About Chivalry and Malevolence:
Blanked in white snow, Alfheim is off-limits to mankind. The elves and fae of the Unseelie court ruled over their lands, inciting chaos for the sake of power. The young Princess Morgana, forced to wear protective layers over her face, disagreed with the ways of her people. She craved love, but love is not the Unseelie way.
The Knight and his horse traveled toward home after two years on the battlefield. Within moments, the world transformed before his eyes as green gave way to white. He blinked as Achilles stirred. Strange creatures wielding swords and axes surrounded and captured him. They tossed him into a dank prison where he awaited his death.
With no hope of survival or escape, he prayed for the shrouded woman, who showed him kindness and healed his wounds.
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- and from this blog, tips on writing fantasy from: Andy Barten, TJ Perkins, Vonnie Winslow Crist.
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