“A Feast of Fire and Ice: The Official Companion Cookbook to A Game of Thrones” is a cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, the owners of the website Inn at the Crossroads. The cookbook aims to expand on what the website has and currently does, in that it recreates recipes for food described in the “Song of Fire and Ice” book series, from which the “Game of Thrones” television show is adapted from, by using cookbooks from the Middle Ages and making modification to those recipes based on the various locations and cultures within the fictional Westeros and Essos as well as to better accommodate the modern kitchen.
“A Feast of Fire and Ice” opens with an introduction by George R. R. Martin, the author of the “Song of Ice and Fire” book series. The introduction is an amusing anecdote about how Martin had come in contact with the authors of this cookbook long after constant suggestions that he himself write a cookbook because of the lavish descriptions of food common to his writing despite his own admitted ineptitude in the kitchen. The introduction is then followed by a list of equipment that is uncommon in the average kitchen that would be needed as well as a series of common substitutions for rarer ingredients such as saffron or grains of paradise as well as the now extinct auroch. Next comes some recipes for spice mixes, sauces, and doughs that will be used throughout the book.
After the introduction and kitchen basics comes the true meat and potatoes of this cookbook. There are seventy different recipes spread throughout every course of dinner, plus breakfasts and beverages. These recipes are not organized by course (though there is an index in the back of the book that does just that) but rather by the geographical location in the world in which a “Song of Fire and Ice” comes from in based on the where specific events where the food is mentioned occurs. The regions explored in “A Feast of Fire and Ice” are: The Wall, The North, The South, King’s Landing, Dorne, and Essos. Each and every recipe in this book is accompanied by a beautiful and detailed photograph of the complete dish, a list of other recipes within the book that pair well with the dish, as well as an accompanying quote from one of the “Song of Ice and Fire” books where the dish is mentioned, and a reference to a Middle Age cookbook’s recipe for the same dish or a similar one from which the recipe in this book is modified from. In addition, some of the recipes, mostly pastries and soups, also have a modernized version of the recipe accompanying because of shift in culinary thought regarding what a soup or pastry should be like since the Middle Ages. Following the recipes is a short guide to having a themed dinner party as well as a listing of possible meal combinations.
“A Feast of Ice and Fire” is a masterfully done cookbook that is much more than a quirky oddity for a die hard fan of “Game of Thrones” or a “Song of Ice and Fire” to own for the hell of it as some people might assume it to be at first glance. Even chefs who aren’t fans of the series can get a lot out of it as the book is a rarity in that it takes and adapts period recipes for the modern kitchen and explains the rationale behind substitutions and techniques used. It bears mentioning that the authors are the owners of the website Inn at the Crossroads, named after an inn within the book series. The website aims to do the same as the cookbook, though there are many recipes exclusive to the cookbook, yet the website is still being updated as more excerpts for the upcoming “Winds of Winter” are being released. Furthermore, the website has updated since the release of a “Feast of Fire and Ice” and also contains an expanded section on decorative food, ideas for meals themed around popular characters, as well as a section on brewing some of the alcoholic beverages found throughout the books.