iheartseverus, on 10 April 2012 - 10:57 PM, said:
Agree. And turnips were a staple food of Medieval Europe (probably one of the reasons their average life span was mid-20s, crap nutrition). But this is not to take away from the original poster's observations on the series---he's right, you wouldn't take turnips North as a food staple, if you had today's knowledge about food values. You'd take dried apples, dried meats, dried citrus fruits, greens and aged cheeses. But Westeros doesn't seem to have today's insight, does it? I think it takes nothing away from the original poster--he's right, nutrition-wise. But it also takes nothing away from follow-up posts that Westeros, ignorant of today's knowledge about nutritional values, would haul turnips along with them on their trip North.
The reason the average
life span in medieval times was so low is because of high infant mortality rates (mostly because of infectious diseases). If they made it to adulthood they had 20 or 30 good years left in them, and poor nutrition in the long run would be only one of the things that would kill them (again, infectious diseases). Except in times of food shortages or extreme new conditions (like, say, sailing for weeks and months without setting food ashore) most people didn't eat so horribly. Nor were theories on nutrition inexistant before the contemporary era. Plus knowledge about making the best with what you've got, acquired through experience, would be culturally transmitted from generation to generation. Humanity lived, not always well, but all right, for millennia without modern nutritional knowledge.
Point is, medieval guys were not morons, and they would know that turnips won't feed someone, unless he eats a lot of it; in comparison to grain, the same can be said for the potatoes featured in the episode, BTW, even if to a lesser extent. However, it's still useful as filler and a flavouring agent for whatever kind of greasy porridge or stew they would likely eat, if that's all they could put their hands on. Not that they would take a lot of it, but enough to have chunks of it at the beginning of the journey. For a trip to the north they would also take lots of fat - something the body craves when it gets cold, and that they can't expect to take reliably out of winter game.
Comparatively, it could be said that the use of relatively inappropriate foods could be a hint at the relative lack of foresight about what kind of terrain and climate they will have to survive, which gets blatant later on, as much as their lack of resources.
Edited by Sixshells, 12 April 2012 - 04:18 AM.