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The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook (2019)
Book Reviews

The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook (2019)

An excellent starting point for anyone hoping to get into the finer points of casting in the kitchen with some Skyrim flair.

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Remember The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? When the game was originally released back in 2011 it instantly became a megahit, snaring millions of fans into its alluring open-world fantasy adventure. Since then, it’s been ported to just about every platform that could handle it, including a Link-enhanced version on the Nintendo Switch. Even if you’ve never played the game – like myself – you’re probably more than aware of how popular and influential Bethesda Software’s game has become.

The Elder Scrolls has a rich history that predates Skyrim, so it’s hardly surprising that fans would want to explore every nook, cranny and recipe from it. Yes, recipes, which is where The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook comes in. Why it took so long is beyond me, but I’m glad someone braved dragons and wastelands to interpret what such things would taste like, and Chelsea Monroe-Cassel has already worked her culinary wizardry creating similar Official Cookbooks for other nerd-centric franchises like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, World of WarCraft and…Overwatch?

My skill level in cooking is adequate at best, so I enlisted the help of my fellow comrades-in-arms Leon and Tina Cook. They’re mastery of the kitchen is well known across the land, so who better to join me on this quest?

HOW IT’S ORGANIZED

Monroe-Cassel’s take on the Elder Scrolls lore consisted of rustic recipes and basic ingredients, most of which we found in our kitchen already. Every page contains full color pictures of the dish being prepared along with clear instructions on just how to make it. If a recipe calls for something else in the book there’s a clear reference on where to find it.

For this review, Leon suggested we prepare an entire meal with a main course, dessert, and a drink. The three main recipes we followed were the Horker Loaf, Sheogorath’s Strawberry Tarts, and Red Mountain Flower Tea. These three were our primary focus, though we quickly learned that preparing more recipes were required to get everything done. Tina and I did have to pay a visit to our local marketplace to pick up fresh ingredients for my tart since our conjuring pot had stopped working. Leon was brave enough to venture onto the cybernetic wave (i.e. online shopping) of distant lands to acquire harder to find ingredients like rye flour and rose hips. Once we’d acquired all the necessary spell components, we got down to the nitty gritty of casting.

The Skyrim Cookbook is an excellent reference even for beginning cooking caster like myself. Recipes range from beginner level to potential “might burn the house down but at least you tried” difficulties. My tart ended up being the most complex of the lot, but Leon showed me several baking techniques for a successful transition from flour to pie crust. Simpler recipes like Stormcloak Seasoning required blending a few ingredients together and is used in several dishes. We did suffer a slight mishap with Leon’s new pet panther Noctis attacking trolls and…well, I’ll spare you the gritty details, but our furry friend accidentally spilled a bunch of the seasoning. We still had plenty left, though!

I’m a big fan of the seasoning recipes in particular because they’re so easy to do and can be used in your own dishes. If you’re looking for more of a challenge there’s even instructions on how to make your own meads – but be warned some will take over two weeks to prepare the ingredients.

The only drawback was some of the ingredients were hard to find in our area. Granted, results will vary depending on where other beginner or veteran cooking casters live, but for the dishes we prepared it was frustrating. Other ingredients like “Grains of Paradise” just seemed like an odd choice to have imported in, but to be fair Chelsea does mention regular black pepper would be a good substitute.

Other then complaints about the ingredients, The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook is a solid choice for those fans eager to bring Bethesda Softworks’ popular fantasy world to life via some delicious, if unconventional, delicacies. I’m no cookbook expert and would never claim to be, but this is an excellent starting point for anyone hoping to get into the finer points of casting in the kitchen. The meal that emerged from all our hard work wouldn’t win any Michelin Stars, but at least we didn’t burn the house down. We blame that on the dragon.