This post is the expanded version of an earlier post from G+. It was inspired in part by my being hungry and by Chris Kutalik's jokes about white gravy. The original contained references to maize and corn whiskey, which have been excised. However, I have retained references to other New World crops because they do not clash with my image of the Dark Country. Plus, the wonder-crop that is the potato allows me to devote less land on my map for farming and more for wilderness.
My goal is to establish exactly what the different categories of food available for purchase in WFRP mean in the Dark Country, as well as to deepen the setting's sense of place.
Food per Day (Poor) represents the food commonly eaten by a Dark Country peasant. It is typically a mixture of wheat, Harnic potatoes** - often mashed - and fermented cabbage. Eggs provide the vast majority of the peasant's protein, but on some rare occasions, this will include the parts of animals that the middle classes and nobility find particularly disgusting, such as chicken’s feet or head cheese. Peasants occasionally supplement their food with the small crayfish that live in the freshwater swamps created by the Dark River.
Food per Day (Average) represents food typically eaten by the Dark Country’s merchants and wealthy freeholders. It is much the same as Food per Day (Poor), but too that is added bread and a considerable amount more meat - pork and chicken are the most common as they are the easiest to raise in the forests of the Dark Country. These are typically fried and served with gravies of one of two varieties: rich and dark or white and lumpy. In some parts of the Dark Country, this may also include goat cheeses.
Food per Day (Good) is what is considered a feast by the lower and middle classes but is a common sight on the tables of the wealthy. Meat, including imported beef, is in great abundance as are wines, cheeses, and pies. Pumpkin pie is particularly popular in harvest festivals.
All three categories presented above would be supplemented with hunting and fishing. Deer and rabbit are common enough to regularly grace the tables at an inn or tavern in a village. Sausages are also common, but their precise makeup varies depending on the quality of the meal.
Rations are typically made of hard biscuits and salted meat. Travelers from Zenopolis may also be carrying dried figs or dates.
Cheap Pie is commonly eaten in urban areas, and comes in two varieties: meat and crayfish.
A Loaf of Bread is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.
Side of Meat chicken, goat, and pork are by far the most common meats in the Dark Country. The West has cattle and sheep, but constant raids by beast-men and worse mean that prime grazing land for such animals is all but uninhabitable. Pigs are considerably lower maintenance.
Delicacies in the Dark Country usually amount to imported beef, but there is a growing demand for Frogling cuisine. This typically comes in the form of large insects from Hopland, but the buyer should be warned that they are often poisonous to humans if prepared improperly.
Peppers - both of the chili and bell varieties - a remarkably common in the Dark Country. The kinds found in the World of Nightwick are hardier and more resistant to cold temperatures than those of our Earth, but otherwise look and taste the same. Peasants use it to mask the flavor of what they're eating, while gentry use it to give what they're eating some flavor. It is a strange world.
Robber's steak is a common meal among bandits, trappers, and woodsmen. It consists of the meat of a game animal, typically venison, wrapped in bacon and spiced with red peppers. It is sometimes eaten in the West by those who feel they can add a bit of adventure to their dinner table.
Alcohol is consumed in great quantities in the Dark Country. Even those wishing to remain sober will merely water down wine rather than drink pure water. The danger of the flux is too high. Mead is surprisingly common because of the large amount of beekeepers, and most ale is imported from Hopland or Dwarf-Land. The most common spirit in the Dark Country is whiskey, which was distilled by the pagans even before the coming of the Sword Brothers. Newly converted communities often still make their own cheap whiskey that corresponds to WFRP's rotgut.
Hashish is rare, but not unknown to the Dark Country. It is imported from Zenopolis, which also possesses a bewildering array of opiates.
The Church's position on intoxicants, both alcoholic and otherwise, is that one can imbibe as much as one wants until one vomits. Vomiting is a sign from the God of Law that one has engaged in a sin of excess, and thus requires an act of penance and a confession.
*Harnic potatoes are considered a luxury item in the West, but are common as dirt in the Dark Country proper.