The title is just what this thread is intended to hash out: What possible clues and foreshadowing we can gather from the food (and drink) that GRRM chooses to incorporate in the novels.
We'll start with one that, we think, gets frequently misinterpreted: peaches. For a long time, as long as I can remember, the peach and its appearance has been synonymous with "death." We think we might have a better interpretation — the idea that peaches are synonymous with denial, obliviousness and youthful ignorance and a sense of invincibility.
Renly's peach is where the idea of "death" comes from, but when he eats it, he's facing down Stannis and extremely sure of his victory. That passage is also rife with the idea of summer naivete, the "knights of summer" and an easygoing time that's coming to a close.
Robert and Pycelle both mention peaches in the context of the "good old days," either remembering a romanticized past or thinking of the "fleeing" summer, such as when Robert talks about the south to Ned.
When Joffrey puts her aside, Sansa naively thinks that her troubles are over and remarks about how sweet the food, including peaches, tastes. Afterward she learns that she's not out of the woods yet.
Asha and Qarl enjoy peaches and sex at Deepwood Motte, thinking they're safe in their castle, promptly before the northmen and Stannis arrive to flush them out.
Arya arrives at the Peach Inn with the Brotherhood, thinking her troubles are mostly behind her. The chapter ends with the Hound being caught and her thinking her prayers are answered.
Peaches are served at Joffrey's wedding, when the Lannisters are at the top of their power and have just vanquished Robb Stark. Tyrion is the one who notices the peaches (it's his POV); he's about to be framed for murder.
Dany's arc frequently mentions peaches, such as when Jorah brings her a peach in Vaes Tolloro and she remarks on how sweet it tastes and how wonderful it is to be there, before they have to move on. It's also remarked that the slavemaster in Astapor smells like peaches and it's in this passage that Dany experiences confidence that she can outsmart them.
So we suggest that the peach's code is not one of death, but of confidence, "summer" qualities, innocence, naivete and comfort. But those things do eventually end, sooner or later, like summer. Because death might be part of said downfall, the peach can somewhat be interpreted in that context. But we think there's more to it than that.
The next one is fairly straightforward: the wine. We've already hit on this before, but in short, whenever Arbor red wine is mentioned, there's poison involved (true for Dany's wineseller, Cressen and Joffrey). Whenever you see Arbor gold, be on the lookout for lies and deception.
Next we have boar. This seems to denote regime change or a shift in power. Robert's hunting party goes in search of boar before Bran is defenestrated. Most clearly, Robert is killed by a boar and actually thinks it's a god-sent punishment for his plan to kill Dany; the boar is served at his funeral. In between Yoren's death and being captured by the Lannisters, Arya and her friends discuss hunting boar. Boar is served at the Winterfell harvest feast before the ironborn and Theon take over the castle.
Roose wants boar after hunting wolves while he's at Harrenhal; the castle switches hands again soon, after both literally (Bloody Mummers) and on paper (Littlefinger gets it). This is also about the time that Roose's allegiances are switching or have switched. Sansa has boar with the Queen of Thorns, when the plot is on to assassinate Joffrey. Alerie offers boar to Sansa; the Tyrells are co-opting her. Boar is served at Joffrey's wedding. Cersei eats it with the Stokeworths when plotting against Bronn, only for Bronn to end up on top. Cersei, heh, comes to like boar. Ryman Frey uses boar-baiting to keep his men in line at Riverrun; he ends up getting hanged and popular assumption is that the Freys will lose Riverrun. On the way to the pit fight, a Brazen Beast in a boar helm offers Dany's litter carrier water. A boar gores Barsena in the fighting pit in Meereen before Dany flies off on Drogon and leaves a power vacuum behind. DP points out that the fighting pit chapter, which ends in massive political upheaval, is rife with boars and boar symbolism. Borroq's boar gives Ghost (and Jon) fits on the Wall. Jon, however, tries to prevent Ghost from savaging the boar or fighting the boar. Interestingly, in the Shieldhall, which one might view as the "beginning of the end" of Jon's Wall regime, the boar is conspicuously ... absent.
DP actually looked for boar mentions at the Red Wedding and there are none. After Robb beheads Rickard, Jeyne has Rollam send him boar for dinner and he refuses to eat it. We're wondering if this can thematically suggest that the Red Wedding really wasn't as much of a "regime change" in comparison with the other examples. We have boar at a wedding (the Purple Wedding) already and most of the examples we've used involve people either actually eating boar or expressing a desire or goal to hunt and eat boar. But the standout "regime change" moment for the North does not involve boar, and Robb explicitly turns boar down when it's offered earlier. Our hypothesis is that this can be read as a further contextual, if extremely subtle, clue that the North's goals, operations, ambitions, spirit, etc. are still intact. Likewise, Jon takes steps not to engage a boar, and the boar is also absent during what might otherwise be considered a "regime change" moment for him. Where some view boar-eating or boar-hunting as a sign of power or comfort, Jon avoids a boar confrontation.
We present a new meme: Regime Change Boar.
Edited by Apple Martini, 16 August 2013 - 03:22 PM.