Valar Must-Eat-It: All Men Must Pig Out – Literary Happy Hour

game of thrones all men must eat

Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

The much-loved and highly raged about HBO after-school special Game Of Thrones (what, you don’t think it’s family friendly?) returns this Sunday, April 12, to the delight of fans everywhere. As the show is reaching the end of current book-related content, this season is sure to present a lot of shocks for everyone, not just those who skipped the books.

While everyone’s getting eager for boobs and bloodshed and bastards, I decided to steel myself for this upcoming season with an inspired mini-feast.

As you may remember (or not, I mean, we’ve done a lot of these), Literary Happy Hour began a year ago with this exact inspiration (wow, does that make me sound like a one-trick pony?). I mean, it’s great inspiration – how many taverns and feasts and weddings have you seen on the show? There’s much information to glean – particularly from the books – about olde time eats.

Inn At the Crossroads, a food-based Song of Ice and Fire blog, released this fabulous officially licensed cookbook A Feast of Ice and Fire back in 2012, and it’s chock full of hearty medieval recipes inspired by scenes in the books (GRRM is fond of including detailed descriptions of food in his books). What’s more, the recipes have a lot of history behind them – authors Chelsea  Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer used a lot of medieval cookbooks and research when coming up with their recipes, rather than creating everything from modern-day culinary arts (though what’s great about the book is they often include both a medieval and modern take on a recipe). So you can have “Breakfast at the Wall,” or “Pigeon Pie,” or even my personal favorite, “Sansa’s Lemon Cakes.”

And even more exciting is this: They just released a Dornish supplement to this cookbook! Inspired by the hot desert-y climate of Dorne, this book offers incredible spicy and exotic delicacies, perfect for munching on when GOT Season 5 introduces the Sand Snakes (and for when you miss Oberyn Martel).

For my mini feast, I kept it simple, but hearty. As winter is still desperately clinging to spring, I didn’t want to make anything too light and summery. I went with the modern versions of Beef and Bacon Pie and Leek Soup, and as I do every time I bust out this cookbook, I made the medieval version of Sansa’s Lemon Cakes.

And since this is a drinking series, obviously I had to wash it down with something. Rather than going with one of the mulled wine recipes in the cookbook, modifying a non-alcoholic beverage, or spending a month making Tyroshi Pear Brandy, I hit my local liquor store and scored my a bottle of Ommegang Valar Morghulis – a dubbel ale, with rich and sweet malty flavors. Not too dark, a little fruity and bitter, with a lingering sweetness. Perfect with beef and bacon.

Some thoughts on the meal:

  • Make your own pie crust. The crust was the worst part of the meal, likely because I just went with a crappy store bought one – it was too buttery and didn’t hold up to the rich flavors of the pie.
  • If I were going to make the Leek Soup again, I would be more generous with flavoring. It turned out a bit thin and bland – it just tasted like plain potatoes and leeks. Do note that the medieval version of this recipe includes ginger, saffron and “Poudre Forte,” a medieval spice mix with mace, cinnamon and pepper, among other things – so it likely packs a bigger punch!
  • I’d love it if someone could tell me what I’m doing wrong with my lemon cakes! This being maybe the fourth or fifth time I’ve created them, and at least the third time they’ve turned out like rocks. The ones that are edible have a fine texture – kind of grainy and chewy, but good! – but when baking they didn’t spread out at all. The “batter” was like sand – is that how it’s supposed to be?

As the High Valerian sayings go (BTW, who else is SUPER excited for Arya this season??): all men must die, and all men must serve. And if you ask me, all men must have a beer and eat some of this delicious beef pie and watch season 5, airing tomorrow.

P.S. I will be recapping the episodes, discussing books vs. show, and debating theories on this blog! Won’t you join me? Here’s a look back at season 4.

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