Waters Gate

The food of the Asoiaf world, and the lack of potato

30 posts in this topic

On 22/03/2017 at 9:19 AM, Renly's Banana said:

Westeros is, geographically, a mixture of Europe and the Americas. There are swamps and bogs in Westeros (complete with alligators/crocodiles) which obviously are not found in Europe. There's also Dorne, which is similar to the Southwestern U.S. and parts of North Africa. There's no reason to assume potatoes and corn and other non-European foods don't exist there. Mormont is always feeding his crow corn, so.

There used to be swamps and bogs in Medieval Europe and there are still some in less densely populated areas (such as in areas that used to be off-limits during the Cold War). Not sure how much the lizard lions can be cited as an example since they live in a cold, northern swamp the likes of which exist in Europe but don't really house large reptiles in our world, and really the Nevk doresn't exactly bring the Everglades or the Bayou to mind, but rather the large swamps of parts of Scandinavia or the Baltic area,

And southern Spain in very hot and dry, kind of like Dorne.

But I agree that there are elements from various continents in Westeros, best example: Littlefinger's symbol is a mockingbird. There are no Mockingbirds native to Europe. So unless Baelish derives his emblem from some sort of mythical creature, Westeros features some new world fauna. 

Also iirc the Riverlands have redwoods. Redwoods aren't native to Europe either.

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I always read Westeros as an enlarged version of the British Isles mashed together and stretched so it as large as the continent of North America giving it massive climate and habitat variation. The area around Last Hearth/The Gift seems to be a mix between tundra and taiga with pinewood forest appearing as you head down south. The far south around the Reach to the very end at Sunspear feels like a continental Europe southern Spain/France.

And bog/swamps did indeed exist in Europe - the Celts were fond of sacrificing people to the bogs. Tollund man is a famous example. Plus I remember hearing that king Henry the Eighth contracted malaria in his youth.

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On 28. Mai 2016 at 9:41 PM, Waters Gate said:

The thing is, people in Westeros have all kind of food, but not everything i guess. We do not tend to take much notice of the food they eat and where it would have originated from in the world, perhaps it would be interresting to kno what they lack. I do not think ive seen any mention before of:

Rice, Cacao, potato's, corn, tobacco, coconuts, and probably a lot more

[...]

There is one mention of "black rice" among the goods Dany offers to masters of Astapor along with Drogon.

There are also no pheasants, although they have been well-known game birds in Europe since the Middle Ages. They were also introduced from Asia, though.

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Pumpkins are a New World crop, too.  (The soup in AGoT Arya II?)  Also, grey squirrels. (Pycelle, curious as a small grey squirrel) - the native European squirrel is red.  

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On ‎5‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 3:41 PM, Waters Gate said:

Atleast i do think there is a lack of potato, havn't seen mention before of potato, but then again thats fairly logical.

What is this thread about? Well my initial intention was something along the lines of "mapping the world trough food". Because not all kinds of food were to be found everywhere in medeival times. The potato is a product of South America and historicly only arrived in europe after the age of exploration. It had to come from America. So did many other stuff, like corn afaik.

The thing is, people in Westeros have all kind of food, but not everything i guess. We do not tend to take much notice of the food they eat and where it would have originated from in the world, perhaps it would be interresting to kno what they lack. I do not think ive seen any mention before of:

Rice, Cacao, potato's, corn, tobacco, coconuts, and probably a lot more

While they do have stuff like:

Silk, and various spices like cloves and Saffron, and obvious local stuff like grain and say lemons

 

Especially the cloves are rater exotic. In our world they are native to the Mollukes, part of the Oceanic island group and the historical "spice islands". They were traded though in medieval times already.

 

I guess it would be a bit of a hassle to make a complete list of everythig they have and what they lack. it would be more interresting to know when things seem out of place. In principle since Westeros has the kind of food that you'd likely find on our world in Western europe, you'd think that the other foodstuffs like potato exist too but just havn't been found yet, by noone on the map in fact because otehrwise the potato would surely have spread. (it's that good) So that would suggest that there is likely another undescovered continent, but frankly given how few we know of the world that notion probably won't come as much of a surprize. Any know existance however of any foodstuff that is one that traditionally would have been native to the America's (like afaik tobacco, cacao, maize, corn, potato, sugarreed) would be note worthy though.

 

Edit: doing some research, there already is a list of all the food mentione din the series here: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Food

If anyone finds something in there out of place feel free to mention.

 

 

Wow, this is good. I never noticed this before.

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There is... gasp... no coffee.

It should be growing in Sothoryos so no Starbucks?

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GRRM is a bloody good writer who does his research well.

Westeros is Britain  of the middle ages and Essos the rest of Europe and north Africa

GRRM seems to have a specialist interest (obsession!!!) with medieval diet and feasts.

He used corn on the general sense and would NEVER have introduced potatoes or tomatoes.

So the things that actually have or eat will be those things that were available in medieval Britain. They have Linen but not cotton. Silk was known of although a great luxury.

So it is not an accident that they did not have potatoes.

I do not think that the is any new World at all in Planetos and nothing whatever of the Americas. We certainly can see the arctic lands and China, Japan, the middle east and India seems to be there if distantly. Southeros is Sub-saharan Africa and the Summer Isles i guess the Caribbean and Ultheros Australia and South East Asia. 

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Medieval Britain was much warmer than today and wine was grown certainly in Southern areas. I see Dorne (at least initially as being warm like Cornwall.

Not only were there bogs but the whole Neck is very like the mystical areas of Britain where druids hung out - marshy and boggy.

The North seems very like Scotland/Scandinavia

 

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