As anyone who has ever read a fantasy novel or two can tell you, food is an important part of the
genre. From lavish banquets full of intrigue to suppers shared by quiet companions
around the campfire at night, food and meals serve as an important set piece during many a
narrative. These same set pieces have naturally found their way into the world of tabletop role–
playing games ever since the day Dungeons & Dragons was conceived. With this
background acknowledged and D&Ds popularity risen higher than ever before in the last decade, it
could be surmised that it was only a matter of time before a full-on official cookbook would be
realized. And realize it did, in the year 2020.
Heroes ́ Feast – The Official D&D Cookbook (named after a spell from the game) boasts a little over 200 pages of recipes, along with general cooking information and aesthetic flavor. Latter comes in a form of photography, menus from different taverns and establishments throughout the cosmology of D&D itself, and the recipes themselves. Each recipe is also introduced by a text blurb linking them to the lore of the
game´s world. Leafing through the book is a pleasure, though few outside the D&D fanbase can
appreciate the effort on display. Yet it is the fans this book is catered towards; those that wish to
engross themselves in the flavours from their gaming sessions, favorite books, etc.
Recipes themselves are arranged into six categories, the first four representing the four main
cultures of the game’s settings, the fifth being uncommon cultures (read: miscellaneous recipes),
and the sixth reserved for drinks hot and cold. Within these categories, recipes are arranged into a
somewhat classic order. First, the appetizers. Then through the main dishes, and finally into the
desserts. There is some categorization within these cultures themselves. For example, the elven
section contains mostly greens, a dwarven menu all kinds of hearty food, and so forth.
This works well enough and again, along with the introductions of each recipe, gives off the right
thematic vibes. As a downside, this does make the book somewhat hard to use. Because of this style of presentation, there is no leafing to a specific section of the book for all the desserts, for example. A more glaring issue is the absence of any indication of which recipes are more demanding than others and vice versa. Now the only way to find out if the recipe you wish to try is more than you bargained for, is to read the recipe throughout, or just make an educated guess. This should not be a bother for anyone interested in cooking in general yet takes extra effort from those handling skillets and saucepans only on occasion.
How about the food itself then? For this review me and my partner set out to cook a hearty, four-
dish dwarven meal. While these four recipes did not include anything overly complicated, after three hours of work we believe to have gotten a good general picture of the foods included in the book. After peeling back the thematical veneer of Heroes ́Feast, what is left is an everyday cookbook with everyday recipes, that have been slightly modified and dipped in the aesthetics of Dungeons & Dragons. Do not make mistake, though – this is wholly for the books ́ benefit. Foods are made from ordinary ingredients that can mostly be found with little effort. Even though some of the recipes are from the fancier end, the book itself is not.
The recipes we tried were easy to follow and even a novice cook like myself managed not to mess
up some of the most difficult parts. My partner, being the more experienced of us two, also
commended the book for very precise instructions. And most importantly, the food itself tasted
Heroes ́ Feast is a cookbook for fans of D&D and those fans specifically. Anyone
outside the fandom or interested in just the recipes without fluff should most likely pick
some other general cookbook since the said fluff will most likely only get in their way. For those
specific fans, however, this is probably one of the best spinoffs to come out of the world’s oldest
role-playing game. It is an approachable cookbook, which despite some usability problems will
most likely spark some interest in cooking for the day´s game session instead of ordering pizza from time to time.
Authors: Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Michael Witwer, Adam Ried, Ray Katchatorian
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release date: 27th of October 2020
Photography by: Noora Raiskio