I was casting around for some new themes to use during the Cooking With BuzzMoo live streams after we wrapped up a month of country-by-country menus. I was aware of but never looked into the growing list of game themed novelty cookbooks. Amazon had a sale on so I decided to jump in. While I’m not a massive Elder Scrolls fan, I have played some of the older titles and even spent a few months in ESO. And I love the soundtracks. So the official cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel was the first I purchased. We did a week streaming just Elder Scrolls recipes and every one of them was good.
The challenge with cookbooks like these is striking a balance between novelty and functionality. Some of the potential audience won’t have much, if any, experience in the kitchen. But there will be others who have plenty. In this case I would say the balance is almost perfect. The illustrations, photography and supporting text are all very good. Lip-service, in-jokes and more general references to life across Tamriel don’t get in the way of the recipes. The themes are tied together nicely, with 78 recipes spread throughout almost 200 pages. Each recipe indicates how difficult is, how many serves it yields and the time each dish will take to make. Some of the recipes are very easy, others are more complicated but none are so difficult that they’re essentially unusable.
There is a section on “Basics” which includes spice mixes, sauces and base dough recipes, which are used in the preparation of the main dishes in the book. This is followed by “Sides, Starts & Snacks”, “Baked Goods”, “Soups & Stews”, “Main Courses”, and “Desserts and Drinks”. The ingredients called for in these recipes don’t stray off the beaten path much at all, which is one of the main reasons why this cookbook works so well. Apart from grains of paradise (which aren’t widely available where I am, or at least not that I’ve seen), there aren’t any recipes that will go unused for want of exotic components. At the same time, the dishes still come out feeling somewhat exotic or at least properly inspired by the theme.
Over the course of the week I tried:
- Baby Carrots in Moonsugar Glaze
- Grilled Leeks
- Redguard Rice
- Leek and Cheese Crostata
- Costal Clam Chowder
- Baked White River Salmon
- Companions Meatball Bake
- Hot Spiced Cider
- Imperial Mulled Wine
- Water of Life
Every one of them was good. In particular the leek and cheese crostata, companions meatball bake, grilled leeks and sweetrolls stood out for me. The leek and cheese crostata recipe I’ve used a few times since as an easy hot-lunch option. The sweetrolls were obligatory and, presumably, the one recipe in the book that needed to be easy and work well. It does. I had wondered at the grilled leek and carrots in moonsugar recipes and whether or not they were designed to hark back to popular ancient (real world) recipes. The high-fantasy of Elder Scrolls calls on medieval (and older) motifs. I’ve been cooking a lot of ancient Roman recipes recently and recipes in this book seemed to echo some of those. The other two surprising highlights were drinks. I really didn’t know where the Water of Life would end up, it being a vodka infusion using dill, juniper, fennel and caraway. I’ve never really been big on vodka, but it turns out I really like this combination. I’ve made it twice since. The Imperial Mulled Wine was another pleasing discovery: white wine makes for good mulled wine.
So, in short, this is a good cookbook. The theming is well done, the recipes well written and the outcomes are good. If you’ve got interest in Elder Scrolls, cooking or both, this would be a worthwhile addition to your library.
Cooking With BuzzMoo Livestream VODs:
Buy the book on Amazon:
The Elder Scrolls The Official Cookbook – Chelsea Monroe-Cassel