Consider the Cuisine – DM Tip
One of the biggest things that draws a culture together is their cuisine. Think of the food you grew up with, the food you eat now, your favorites, and all of them will trigger memories. Good and bad. When worldbuilding, you should take the time to think a little bit about what the people eat I various regions.
The food can explain a lot about the people and the area. Is food scarce? Abundant? What kinds of food? An island will probably have a lot of fish in their diet, or maybe they consider fish sacred, and must scratch out an existence some other way. Is there a staple crop that everyone grows? In one game I play in, a town grows only beets, so they end up in everything. Soup, bread, and even beer.
Does the food they eat have a significance beyond just feeding them? Does it play a part in their religion? Do they have specific ceremonies or festivals involving food? Harvest festivals, summer fairs, and special events are often marked with banquets and a specified selection of food.
Are certain foods reserved only for the nobility? What do the poor folk eat? What is on the menu at the local tavern? Too often games have the same thing all the time, a hearty stew, bread, and ale. Mix it up, maybe a town is famous for it’s muffins, a pub makes their own blend of whiskey, or the herbalist makes an amazing root soup.
Need some ideas? Check out some cookbooks. Or, go online and look for recipes. Look for recipes from different countries. Look at old recipes from earlier in history. Food is something everyone needs, and your world should reflect that.
Go, grab yourself a plate and let’s play.