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Medieval feast of food on table

Game Of Thrones: A Guide To Food

Dinner Is Coming

It’s no secret that Game of Thrones has become one of the most ambitious journeys, high-budgeted productions, and discussed shows of all time. Last Sunday saw the series finale, with 19.3 million people tuning in to watch the end of an era.

 

We won’t get into spoilers, but what a wild ride this has been.

 

Because the show is now over, we thought we would recollect on the single most important part of the series; The food. Okay, maybe not the most important part, but we’re all about food here at Restaurant Equipment Club, so that’s what we’re gonna focus on. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see someone eating on TV, it makes me hungry. And especially when it’s from an older time. Kind of like the forbidden fruit concept.

We’ll be going through each house and location on Game of Thrones and their best-served dishes…other than revenge.

The North

Within the Seven Kingdoms, the North is considered to be the largest region, with the most notable areas being Winterfell and Castle Black. Because of how low the temperatures can drop up there, Northerners lean toward stew and broth-based dishes. Some common foods amongst the North are kidney pie, mutton stew, and ale (which is their absolute favorite part…and ours too). Kidney pie is made with calf kidneys, pastry dough, and gravy. Pretty straightforward. And just like chicken pot pie, there is an abundance of cooking options you can choose from. As far as their stews go, any game meat will do, whether it’s beef, lamb, or oxtail.

Bread, albeit basic, can make a meal that much more filling and satisfying.  Hot Pie, an orphan boy from King’s Landing, is an accomplished baker in Westeros. Towards the beginning of the series, he bakes Arya, a member of the Stark family, a loaf of bread in the shape of a Direwolf. Because he’s sent to the kitchens as an amateur,  this first bread appears to be more scone-like:

Direwolf bread from Game of Thrones

But once he practices more, he eventually remakes it into a much better version:

Direwolf bread Hot PIe from Game of Thrones

Talk about progress.

We were kind of hoping Hot Pie would randomly appear in the final episode just to deliver one more loaf of bread to Arya. But I suppose we can’t have everything we want.

King’s Landing

King’s Landing is home to not only the King of the Seven Kingdoms but also one of the wealthiest and most powerful families around, House Lannister. The Lannisters live life in a luxurious fashion. Because they are close to Blackwater Bay, their food options are much more plentiful than other areas in Westeros. Also, the warmer climate in King’s Landing allows for a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables. Popular dishes in King’s Landing include suckling pig, boar, pigeon pie, and Lamprey pie.

Yes, you read that correctly. They eat Lamprey. In case you forgot what they look like or have never seen one:

Close up of a sea lamprey

Cute little creature, isn’t it?

Seems like something you would never wanna eat. But this was actually considered a delicacy in Medieval times. Why? I will never know. It must taste great. Even King Henry I loved lampreys. He loved them so much that they eventually led to his death. Even when he knew they were a risk to his health, he kept eating them. That’s dedication. They are now endangered in the UK and are protected under British law. Tyrion Lannister, the wise and wine-indulgent dwarf of the Lannister family, can be seen eating a lamprey pie in Season 2.

tyrion lannister eating a lamprey pie on game of thrones

“Excellent lamprey pie. Were you slaving away in the kitchen all day?”

Due to the high-cost to mass-produce lamprey pie, pigeon pie is served in its place during public events. It’s cheaper and easier to prepare. During season 4, a wedding takes place between the wicked Joffrey, one of Robert Baratheon’s power-hungry children (even though we all know the truth about that), and Margaery Tyrell. At the ceremony, a large pigeon pie was baked and left hollow so that live pigeons could fit inside. Joffrey slices the pie open, freeing most of the pigeons while unfortunately killing a few as well.

Another delicacy from this region is lemon cake. Much like most food products in King’s Landing, they are typically reserved for the upper-class. Sansa Stark, the eldest daughter of the Stark family, loves lemon cakes. Because back home at Winterfell, fruit rarely grows, so any chance she gets to eat them she takes.

sansa stark with lemon cakes from game of thrones

Sansa sure does love her lemon cakes.

But let’s not forget the beverages! Fine wine is the go-to choice in King’s Landing, with Arbor Gold being the most sought after choice. Red Wines from Dorne come in at a close second due to their spicier nature.

We’ve been discussing what royalty here consumes, but what about the rest of the kingdom? Well, whatever is available to them. The main dish they eat is referred to as “Bowl O’ Brown”, which is a stew or soup that consists of anything they can get their hands on. This includes pigeon or fish when lucky, but typically contains cat or rat meat, combined with whatever vegetables are available at the present time. A piece of bread occasionally accompanies this meal as well.

Dorne

Dorne is a coastal region that holds a Mediterranean vibe with a warm climate. There are various animals, plants, and spices found here that aren’t found anywhere else in Westeros. Because of this, the people in Dorne have adapted to hot, spicy foods. Citrus fruits such as blood oranges and lemons are also available here, which is a rarity anywhere else in the continent. Stuffed green peppers is a popular dish in Dorne. They also eat grilled snake and stuffed grape leaves. As previously mentioned, they are known for their high-prized wines. Arbor Gold is highly sought out, with Dornish sour reds being a close second.

dornish wine being poured by tyrion lannister

You can never have too much wine.

The Iron Islands

The Iron Islands are also located on the coast. Another big house in the show, The Greyjoys, inhabit this region in Westeros. Because the Iron Islands are an archipelago, an abundance of seafood is the main staple in their diet. You may not find root vegetables growing in these rocks, but hey, there’s plenty of fish! Fish pie is a favorite amongst the coastal community.

Beyond Westeros (Essos)

Essos lies east of Westeros and is considered the largest of the four continents. Located in Essos is a vast grassland plain known as the Dothraki Sea. It is inhabited by the Dothraki, a race of warlike wanderers with their own native tongue and spiritual equestrian culture. These people worship horses, but because there aren’t a lot of resources in their area, they resort to dried horse jerky and goat meat for protein. They will also eat stallion heart. A few fruits such as watermelons, pomegranates, and Myrish oranges accompany these meals.

Woman taking out frozen meal from microwave

How Bad Is Frozen Food For You?

What Exactly Is Frozen Food?

It’s morning. You give a nice big yawn, stretch out a bit, take a look at your phone’s clock, and that’s when you realize…

You’re late for work.

It happens to the best of us. You brush your teeth, throw on the least wrinkly dress shirt, and then rush to the kitchen.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for right now, you’re concentrating on getting to that 9:00 AM meeting.

You scour the fridge for any potential lunch options, but you realize that your kids split the leftovers and ran off before you can catch them. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the cold cuts just expired, the lettuce is looking a little rotten, and you’re getting sick of canned soup.

So…now what?

You decide to quickly scan the freezer, and lo and behold, there’s one frozen meal left; Roasted Turkey and gravy with green beans, sweet cranberries, and slivered almonds. You give an uninterested glance at it. It’s not much, but it will get the job done. So you unenthusiastically grab it and run out the door.

But why do you feel uneasy with your choice? Is frozen food really THAT bad?

Well, let’s check it out.

Calories In Frozen Food

The thing with frozen food is you’re paying for the convenience, so it’s to be expected that it’s not the healthiest option. The nutritional value and calories found in frozen food can vary differently. But you may be surprised to learn that not all of it is so dissimilar. For example, your average frozen pizza comes very close nutritionally to a pie from your favorite pizzeria. Still a lot of calories (approximately 2,000), but hey, not as bad as you thought. And if a frozen food product uses words like “organic” or “authentic”, you shouldn’t believe it most of the time. Also, the amount of saturated fat and sodium found in some of these meals can be quite high. Like half of your day’s calories kinda high. Always take a look at the nutrition facts found on the food’s label.

Serving Sizes

To the untrained eye, a majority of frozen meals appear to have small serving sizes. But don’t let the packaging fool you; most of the time, they contain 2 serving sizes. Those nutritional numbers can be surprising. A basic pasta meal, like fettuccine Alfredo, can hit 600 calories, over 10 grams of saturated fat, and far too much sodium for anyone’s daily intake. And it becomes even more tempting when it’s branded from a chain restaurant. We know you’re looking at that Cheese Manicotti from Boston Market.

Healthier Choices

But what about the frozen foods and meals that claim to have healthier choices? Is that legitimate?

In moderation, yes.

For example, if you were to go for a low-fat option like a Zucchini Noodle Pasta, that would only contain 260-300 calories. But only if you eat one.

In a 2013 study at the University of Georgia, fresh and frozen blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, and other vegetables were purchased from six different markets. The nutrition levels were analyzed between the frozen and fresh produce upon purchasing and after 5 days in a refrigerator. It appeared that the nutrient levels on the day of purchase between both product sets were similar. The difference being that after 5 days, the fresh produce lost significant vitamin content.

So What’s The Verdict?

It’s not that complicated, folks. The frozen-food section in a supermarket sometimes seems taboo, but it’s all about making smart decisions. Just take a second to read the nutrition facts on each product’s label, and you’ll be good to go!

FoodAndBeerFeaturedImage

Food & Beer: A Pairing Guide

Beer. It’s great. We all know that. And food is even better…depending on who you ask, that is.

But the combination? It can be Heavenly.

Here’s a brief guide on some decent food and beer pairing options:

FoodAndBeerPairingGuide

But don’t let this stop you from enjoying any combination of your choosing! We have found that most beer/food combinations are successful, especially depending on how much beer has already been consumed.

BBQFeaturedImage

How Much Food Is Right For A BBQ?

The first day of Summer has arrived, which means good food, good brews, and a good time. Barbecues are the most popular summer function, and they’re always a good time. If you’re hosting a barbecue, you may be wondering how much food is appropriate to purchase. On the one hand, you don’t want to over purchase, as this can result in food waste and an emptier wallet. On the other hand, buying too little food will cause early depletion. It’s difficult to find that sweet spot of spending since everyone is different, but here are a few guidelines to make your life a bit easier:

Alcohol

Alcohol is undoubtedly the most important party supply. They say the typical ratio for each person is one drink per hour. Make sure to stock up on enough beer, wine, and mixers so you can provide an array of options for your guests. Of course, there’s always the option to make the party BYOB, which simplifies the process and saves you money.

Meats

You can’t have a barbecue without the meat! Deciding on what type of meat you need can be a challenge. This mainly depends on your guest list. For example, your adult guests will probably eat 2 hamburgers. Assuming that’s the maximum, that means each adult will need a 1/2 lb. of meat. This differs among meals. If you’re serving brisket, the rule is to cook 1 lb. per guest due to shrinkage. And if you’re going the rib route (and I sincerely hope you would), you will require much more since the bone can cause miscalculation of actual meat. The general amount of meat you should provide per guest is about 8-12 oz.

Side Dishes

Side dishes are also a supplementary staple. You should expect your guests to eat 1/2-1 cup of each side dish they enjoy. And remember; The more you have out, the less will be consumed. Coleslaw, potato salad, and baked beans are great go-tos since they are the most widely eaten. Because of how filling they can be, this will also cut down on your overhead.

Desserts

By the time your guests are finished with the main course, they won’t have too much room for dessert. With that being said, you should still plan on providing about 3-4 oz. of each dessert you’re serving. Individual portions are a good idea, but keep in mind guests may take more than one. If it’s a cookie, bank on 2-3 being nabbed in one sitting.

FoodAllergyFeaturedImage

Avoiding Food Allergies In Your Restaurant

Allergies are not fun. And some allergic reactions can be life-threatening. When owning a restaurant, food allergies should be a serious consideration. With hundreds of customers coming in and out of your establishment, you would never know who has a food allergy just by looking at them. While anyone can have an allergy to anything, there are a few select products that are more likely to cause a reaction than others. The top allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, eggs, wheat, cow’s milk, and soy.

But it’s not as cut-and-dry as “Oh, so they just can’t drink milk or eat a peanut!” Food allergens can be hidden within ingredients. Also, it’s important to realize that different food types can be categorized in specific food allergen groups. Here is a list of the common foods containing each allergen;

Peanuts

Peanuts can be found as whole pieces, peanut butter, mixed nuts, peanut oil, lupine, and more.

Tree nuts

Tree nut allergens include a wide array of nuts, including almond, pecan, cashew, pistachio, macadamia, walnut, and many more. Some unlikely sources of these nuts include flavored coffees, cereals, crackers, marzipan, nut butters, pesto, cold cuts, ice creams, baked goods, as well as certain alcoholic beverages like gin and amaretto.

Shellfish

Shrimp, lobster, crab, prawns, crawfish, and krill are the main ones.

Fish

This list can be expansive, but the major ones include tuna, salmon, swordfish, haddock, halibut.

Eggs

Eggs, while easy to spot in whole, are also found in salad dressings, mayonnaise, ice cream, and many baked goods.

Wheat

Wheat can be found in bread, pasta, flour, crackers, cereals, wheat grass, and many more items. Other unexpected sources include beer, soy sauce, and breaded foods.

Cow’s milk

Cow’s milk can mainly be found in milk, butter, cream, and cheese.

Soy

Tofu, soybeans, soy sauce, miso, tamari, and other ingredients containing soybean oil.

CarrotCakeFeaturedImage

Easter Sunday Carrot Cake

Easter Sunday is approaching fast, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering what’s for dinner. But more importantly, what’s for dessert. Why not a delicious Carrot Cake? Carrot Cake can be dated back to the early 1800’s, with recipes found in old French cookbooks. During World War II, Carrot Cake was one of the food products that initially became noticed due to rationing.  It then became commonly found in restaurants and cafeterias during the 60’s. This delicious dessert quickly gained popularity in the US, and is regarded as the United Kingdom’s favorite cake. It is also one of the most popular cakes used at children’s birthdays in Switzerland. So, what are we waiting for? Here’s a nice and easy recipe for a creamy carrot cake for Easter Sunday!

What you’ll need:

CAKE
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded coarsely
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans (4 ounces)
FROSTING
  • Two 8 ounce packages softened cream cheese
  • 2 sticks softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Butter up two 9″ cake pans and line the pan bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the placed paper and then flour each pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk up the buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. Now in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at a high speed for about 5 minutes (or until pale). Mix in the liquid ingredients and beat. Add dry ingredients until moistened. Stir in carrots and pecans.
  3. Divide the batter between each pan, and bake the cakes for 55 minutes to an hour until golden. Place the cakes on a rack to cool for about 30 minutes. Unmold cakes and let cool.

FROSTING

  1. Using a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter for 5 minutes (or until light). Mix in the confectioners’ sugar along with the vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Beat until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes.
  2. Peel off the parchment paper from pans and place one cake on a plate. Lightly spread frosting across the top. Place second cake layer. Spread the top and sides with rest of frosting and place cake in refrigerator. Chill the cake for about an hour. Slice and serve!