For Christmas, I got a very strange selection of gifts that I absolutely adored. The most peculiar gift I got though was from my brother, which, as the title of this article suggests, was a cookbook, based on the Elder Scrolls universe. Written by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, this book is part of a collection of cookbooks spanning a range of popular, fantasy themes like Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft. Brother, having seen how much time I’ve spent playing Skyrim, wisely picked this book out for me.
And it’s a really, really nicely laid out book, with an obviously fantasy theme to it and lots of nice, tasty food in it, with full colour pages of pretty much every single major recipe in the cookbook, as well as a two-page splash of the Skyrim artwork of the Dragonborn standing on a cliff looking over a dungeon and a river. There’s also a couple illustrated pages as well (including a look inside Sovngarde itself), but I’m not sure where the artwork is actually from. The art though does very much lean towards Skyrim though, but that’s probably because the other games were not as… aesthetically pleasing.
Opening the book and reading the recipes inside though? Yeah, it all still leans very much towards Skyrim-themed stuff. Sure, there are recipes in there for every race (including the oft-forgotten Redguard and Bosmer) but it’s definitely a book aimed at Nords and Imperials, which are, frankly, the more well-known races of both Skyrim and most likely Oblivion too. Actually, the whole book is mostly aimed at people who like Skyrim, but it does have some Morrowind stuff, like Canis Root Tea and things like that. Khajiit are also pretty well represented inside the book, but always when it comes to moonsugar or skooma.
But seriously, this is much more a Skyrim cookbook than a Morrowind or Cyrodil cookbook. I went through the main courses section and most of them were Skyrim-related, even the Dunmer recipe (which was carried from people fleeing red Mountain – where did they flee to? Skyrim, mostly). In fact, the lone Khajiit main course wasn’t really a main course at all. Unless you consider fondue a main course. Which it isn’t. The same applies to the drinks in the back of the book, which mostly features Nord meads and a couple of Imperial, Dunmer and Khajiit recipes.
As for the recipes themselves? They all look pretty great, and I’ve gone and made a couple of them, notably the chicken dumplings, which are apparently a chicken pasty/pie sort of thing often served in inns to travelers across Skyrim. But a lot of these recipes are two things: reliant on one of the recipes at the start of the book, and insanely rich and fatty. At the beginning of the cookbook are three recipes, for Nord spices, Imperial spices or Stormcloak seasoning, and these are used throughout the entire recipe book. The recipes after those seasonings are other recipes you’ll also need throughout the book, but things like spiced mustard and butter aren’t really that… recipe-worthy? I dunno, they just seem pretty short.
Seriously though, these recipes are incredibly rich. I found myself having to cut down on a lot of the fat and butter content because frankly, a lot of the time, it felt like way too much. It does make sense for these recipes to be very fatty, because people all over Tamriel don’t have much money or food and spend most of their lives doing physical activities, but I really wouldn’t recommend doing a whole week’s worth of Skyrim-themed food. It’s a one-off thing, not a diet plan. Unless you are a fisherman or are into logging or something.
At least the recipes do tell you how difficult they are, so if you are an uneasy cook, you at least know some limit. The recipes though are not meant for completely inexperienced people in the kitchen though. This cookbook requires basic cooking knowledge and skills. It also requires ingredients that you might not have in the kitchen, like powdered cloves, cardamon and ‘grains of paradise’, which is apparently a type of black pepper, but most recipes are doable.
It IS a really nice cookbook though. And, more importantly, it tells you how to make the beloved Sweetroll and, weirdly, Skooma.
Or rather, a vodka and sugar-syrup drink that’s supposedly like Skooma. Because apparently Skooma tastes like vanilla and dried apricots.