First of all, what do I mean by cooking through fandom? With the introduction of Game of Thrones-styled dinner parties this concept isn’t exactly new. The concept is to take either pre-existing dishes in shows, movies, games, books or whatever else you enjoy or creating new dishes based off themes in the show and cooking them up.
This is a hobby I’ve had for around two years or so, or since I started to take cooking seriously and as something other than a chore my no doubt sadistic working parents forced on me as a child. As my obsession with Game of Thrones grew I started to learn about dinner parties people were throwing filled with all these incredible dishes from the books. This was how I came across The Inn at the Crossroads, a blog/recipe site dedicated to the dishes in and inspired by the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As I started to read it I suddenly realized—
–Holy shit. This is it. This is the pinnacle of nerdiness that I have yet been able to achieve. This is the final tipping point that will cause my parents to disown me.
So of course I went out and bought their book. While the formatting could use some work, the recipes themselves are fantastic. I had never made bread before in my life but their recipes on how to make that symbolic bread and salt (that couldn’t save the Starks from the Red Wedding) has inspired a sick bread fetish that my roommates can attest to.
One of my favourite, simplest, recipes is the apple salad. I was able to impress my family with this recipe all while cackling ominously in the kitchen as they consumed my nerdiness and praised it unknowingly. As with all their recipes it usually gives the “medieval” and “modern” version and is prefaced by the line from the books that inspired it. In the case of the apple salad it states:
“Cersei set a tasty table, that could not be denied. They started with a creamy chestnut soup, crusty hot bread, and greens dressed with apples and pine nuts.” -A Clash of Kings
I’ve never found a recipe from the book I haven’t enjoyed, but there are some I just wouldn’t touch. Grilled snake, pigeon pie, locusts… while I appreciate the authenticity I will admit that I have shied away from the more adventurous recipes (or at least until I can find out where to find locusts at St. Jacobs).
With the pages of my new cookbook splattered with the blood of my enemies and having been tested at viewing get-togethers with my friends, I turned my attention to my other obsessions.
This wasn’t just a Game of Thrones thing. No, now that I was getting deeper into this world I understood just how deep this rabbit hole went. Suddenly I wanted to stick all my other obsessions in my stomach. In a weird, visceral sense I was literally trying to eat the things I loved (and my grandmother wonders why I’m single). The next thing I knew I wasn’t just making Game of Thrones cookies but making Sherlock and John shaped cookies for the BBC Sherlock premiere. I was watching my high school friend Jen staring in abject horror as myself and five other friends sat there eating cookies in the shape of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s faces. My ability to be part of normal, functioning society was slowly slipping away from me.
I started to hoard Adiago fandom teas and had recently purchased the earthy, almost mushroom-flavoured tea for Hannibal. Not only was I consuming this stuff, I was —dare I say it — becoming a fandom food snob.
It was all spiraling out of control! I was planning dinner parties with friends, figuring out how I could get venison out of season or make candy blue crystal meth for Breaking Bad marathons, hell I was even trying to figure out fire flakes from Avatar. I was like some awful version of dinner party addicts who force people into awkward conversation at their suburban houses sharing elbow space with people they barely know, but instead I was fantasizing of forcing my friends into fancy outfits where we would open origami paper containing fancy pigeon pie whilst talking about the newest episode.
It is an incurable disease, and once you are infected by the bug it only gets worse. With the finale of Game of Thrones coming on the horizon, my outlook has never looked bleaker… or more delicious.
I encourage anyone who is looking for something different and nerdy to try it out at least once. Make a party out of it, invite your friends, indulge in some of Sansa’s favourite lemon cakes or if you are like me and usually exist in blissful isolation, read up on an incredible example of food styling.