Let's talk about food


After a session of Conan, I was left wondering about food in the Hyborian Age. What kind of tech degree is the making of food in Hyboria? Surely some ingredients don't exist in Hyboria, like tomatoes, potatoes, corn, etc, but which ingredients are common?

Some edible foods are more common than others, like bread and cheese, but surely Cimmerian culinary must be quite different than Aquilonian one. What kind of dishes can one expect to find in an inn of different countries? What are the typical dishes of the Hyborian Age countries?

I believe this subject would give a great S&P article, especially if written by Vincent himself.
Lots o' meat & potatoes. Ha! I think strong/spiced wine was always an ingredigent to a meal to help hide otherwise bland dishes. Isn't that what the dancing girls were for too? Stringy game is forgotten when one is watching the dinner entertainment. :D
I would imagine that anything that the Greeks, Romans, Celts, in fact, anything that was used as foodstuffs up through the Middle Ages would have it's counterpart in the Hyborian World.

Of course being a prehistoric style setting it also means that several creatures that are no longer with us would have been used as food also. I imagine that the people of Nordheim would have no problem making a meal out of mammoth, Irish elk or woolly rhino.

Other then their totem animals the Picts would look upon anything edible as food. So not only would rabbits, deer, squrrials and other such creatures be eaten but also, song birds, swans, wolves and bears might be found on their menus.

We know that the Romans and other cultures were aware of various spices. In fact, the Romans used salt as payment for their troops. So it is not beyond possibility that some spices in Conan's time could be so rare and expensive that they could also be used as materials for bartering and payment. Or the characters could be hired to ambush a caravan with the intent to steal all the salt, sugar and saffron that the merchants are carrying.
It depends on how historical you would want to get. You could just use dishes based on the regions they came from... like the Picts would probably eat game animals with corn and potatoes as thier crops since they are based on native americans.

Nordheimers and Cimmerian's would probably sustain themselves on almost all meat with some bread.

Khitans would have a diet based on rice and noodles as a primary food source, since they are based on a Asian culture.

Argos would probably have lots of cheeses and no tomatos. The would eat lots of fruits like grapes and may even use honey to perserve like Romans sometimes did.

If you don't care about hisorical accuracy you can look up modern day cuisine and adapt that. It would be easier than worry about not having potatoes in Stygia or having okra in Aquilonia.

Hopefully somehting helps in the above... though i think all I did was ramble :-(
Thanks for the help, everyone!

I find food an interesting topic, and it would be a nice touch to describe different kinds of food to the players in different sessions.

Still, some places have a technological level far greater than other places when it comes to agriculture, for instance.

Wonder if Aquilonia is the most advanced culture when it comes to agriculture.