If you spend enough time looking at food from around the world, you start to notice some items are universal. Every culture has some sort of meat-on-a-stick, for example, as well as some sort of dairy-based pudding or custard. Among these universal menu selections is some sort of fried bread. It might be leavened (some sort of yeast or other leavening agent added to make it rise) or unleavened, sweet or savory, but every culture has some version of it. Think Yorkshire puddings, green onion cakes, churros, donuts, they come in all shapes and sizes.
The fact that some food items are universal is important when you’re trying to use food to make your game sessions more immersive. If you establish early in the campaign that a dish is made a certain way locally, you can play off that fact when the party moves somewhere else in the world by changing up one or more ingredients. Maybe a character orders up some fried bread, only to find that here they add some strange local fruit, spice, or insect. Cricket cakes, anyone?
Presented below is a base recipe which you can use for your gaming table, commonly known as a “Dutch Baby”. To this base recipe you can add all sorts of things to make it more setting specific. Are you somewhere that serves spicy-hot food? Add a ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the recipe. Want to give a definite halfling vibe? Throw in a ½ cup each of chopped nuts and dried fruit to make it sweeter and more robust. It really is an easy recipe to modify, as long as you don’t mess with the base ingredients too much.
Basic Fried Bread
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup milk (anything not skimmed)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup butter
- Powdered sugar to taste
1) Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet on medium high heat on the stovetop.
2) Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl until there are no lumps.
3) Add the butter to the skillet and allow to melt. Once melted, add the batter to the pan and move pan to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
4) After 15-20 minutes (or when you start to see the edges getting golden brown), turn the oven down to 350 degrees for five minutes, then remove.
5) Move the bread from the skillet to a plate and let sit for five minutes, then dust with powdered sugar to taste and serve warm.
Give the recipe a try for your next game, and let us know how it turns out. Let me know what variations you try out, and maybe send us some pictures! We’d love to see your creations (especially if it’s cricket cakes).