Thanksgiving is coming, and with it, your house may begin to feel like a feasting hall in Westeros as the cold winter air is punctuated by the delicious smells of cooked fowl, along with the sounds of feuding family members and perhaps the subtle chords of The Rains of Castamere if you’re feeling especially evil. Hopefully, your Thanksgiving feast won’t include any poisoning, choking, stabbing, or dire-wolf attacks as seem to happen all too often in Game of Thrones, but if you’re looking to add a little taste of Westeros to your table this Thanksgiving, here are some ideas that should help.
Welcome your guests into your home with some bread and salt—the perfect way to serve appetizers and establish their guest right at the same time. There’s also Dothraki blood pie if you are in the mood for something more exotic, and a snack of hummus and vegetables can double for any Dornishman’s favorite appetizer
You may be eating turkey this Thanksgiving, but the inhabitants of Westeros won’t be. A Song of Ice and Fire is set in medieval times before the Columbian Exchange, so such things as turkey are not yet available or known to feasters. If you were in Westeros, you would have to settle on some other type of game for your feast such as chicken, venison, or boar if you are feeling really festive. Roast capon is a big hit throughout Westeros, especially when honeyed. Whatever meaty main course you choose to feast upon, we recommend that you steer away from raw horse heart, unless of course you are pregnant, in which case you should consume it with relish. No matter what you do serve, be sure to eat it out of a bread trencher, just like they do in Westeros.
In a lavish feast, side dishes are always important. Bread is a staple of Westeros, and you can’t go wrong with black-bread or oat-bread. Hard cheeses and sausages are never out of place, nor are hearty stews ranging in ingredients from rabbit to duck. Pies are also popular at feasts, especially those made of pork or pigeons (if you really want to make an impression, the pigeons could still be alive, as seen at Joffrey’s wedding!). Salads are also served in Westeros, often a combination of vegetables, nuts, and fruit. As long as you’re not serving the disgusting fare that Walder Frey did at the Red Wedding—namely jellied calf-brains and stringy beef—you should be in the clear.
Wherever you live in Westeros, no meal is complete without liquor, preferably wine. Whether you prefer to sip Arbor gold or give Oberyn Martell a silent toast with Dornish red wine, be sure to have plenty of casks ready for consumption. If you’re not in the mood for Tyrion’s favorite drink, there is always ale to fall back on, or even Shade of the Evening if you fancy staining your lips blue and gaining warlock abilities.
What’s a feast without dessert? Sansa, would certainly contest that the best part of any meal is the lemon cakes. There are quite a few delicacies to pick from when designing your final course. If you want to go the simple route, you can enjoy a refreshing dessert of strawberries and sweetgrass. However you prefer to make a more complex dessert, one could make candied almonds, cream cakes, honey cakes or any manner of fruit tarts.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a good time to take the time to appreciate the fact that George R.R. Martin has created such a complex world for us to appreciate. The books, describe everything that takes place in Westeros with great deal, including the meals Fans estimate that there are over 160 dishes in the first four books, so no matter how you decide to pay tribute to Westeros in your meal, there will always be new dishes to try next year (or sooner if you can’t wait!).
If you feel you need assistance cooking the food from Game of Thrones, there’s always the official cook-book “A Feast of Ice and Fire” by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel to check out. The book features iconic dishes from the books with detailed explanations on how to cook them. As we wait for Season 5, we can find new nuances in the world of Westeros as we explore it with our taste-buds. With that in mind, arm yourself with your trusty knife and fork, and call your bannermen to aid you in the kitchen, as you prepare for a feast worthy of any noble house in Westeros.