What Do Elves Eat, Anyway?

It's no accident that we've skipped most of the "meals" associated with elves in Heroes' Feast, but we finally came around to make one: bacon and asparagus. The bacon surprised us because we don't associate meat with elves.

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Not Just Vegetables​

Heroes' Feast says a lot about elven cuisine by what it doesn't include. Of the elven recipes in Heroes' Feast, two involve seafood (shrimp and Dragon Salmon), one involves eggs, and only one involves meat: Greenspear Bundles in Bacon. Why was it included? Because it's actually made by half-elves:
Greenspears, also referred to as asparagus or "sparrow grass" by humans, is a perennial flower plant that has ascended to staple-status in many elven diets. While elves consume greenspear raw, seasoned, roasted, or steamed with herbs, their half-elf brethren--liberated from certain culinary taboos--have developed an additional preparation technique. In an irreverent touch, but one that flavorfully complements the greenspear, half-elves add salted and cured pork into the mix, in deference to their half-human taste buds. Regarding bacon, the thicker cut is always the better!"
This is the first meal we served with guests and they found it surprisingly delicious. It's the sort of meal that's different enough to introduce as an appetizer but flavorful enough that it gets eaten quickly. I'm not fond of asparagus or bacon, but the combination is delicious.

It's also a meal you can feasibly make for your players with a very short baking time (15 minutes or longer if you prefer your bacon crispier).

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Tolkien's Elves​

The association of elves with vegetarianism is likely due to their affinity with nature, established in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. There's much discussion of elven lembas, a kind of travel ration, but little else. The association with elves avoiding meat likely stems from the inspiration for wood elves, the Green Elves of Ossiriand, who decided that men as "hewers of trees and hunters of beasts" were no friends of theirs.

Still, there is enough evidence throughout Tolkien's works to indicate that meat was present when elves served a meal or when they ate at a table, and the fact it wasn't mentioned that an elf skipped the meat portion of the meal argues that they were not vegetarian.

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D&D Elves​

But what of elves in Dungeons & Dragons? Here's what Heroes' Feast has to say on the subject:
Because they place such a strong value on life, a high percentage of elves stringently exercise food restrictions, and a great many would fall into the category of vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian--little that bleeds ends up on elven plates.
Ironically, D&D wood elves seem to be different from their Tolkien-inspired brethren:
High elves tend to align their diets most closely to their values, and prefer fruits, vegetables, and grains to meat and poultry. By contrast, wood elves are often wanderers and adventures and, consequently, more disposed to hunting and foraging.
So it seems that at least some elves eat meat after all. But you wouldn't know it from the recipes in Heroes' Feast.

Your Turn: Do elves eat meat in your fantasy campaign?
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca


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ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
I wouldn't say hipster. More... artisanal. Yeah.

Whatever, Lothlórien is dead. Lets all move back to Valinor.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
Dwarves.

They get surprisingly tender if you stew them long enough.
"orcs are good too... If properly spiced." ;) At least that was the text on a badge I bought a gaming conevntion ages ago. I have since lost it though.

And I agree with @talien that bacon should be avoided. Give me meat, not fat.. (I know, fat is supposedly very good source of energy). But I do not like neither the texture nor the taste of the fat. I can eat bacon if the fat is removed.

As for what elves would eat, I would definitively think wild/forest elves and sea-elves would eat meat and fish as a supplement to berries/nuts/mushrooms etc. The more nomadic they are, the greater the chance of them eating it. But then maybe in the form of jerky or smoked fish and similar dried things that you can store for a long term and easily transport.
 



Weiley31

Legend
Well apparently they also eat Bread/Pastery along with their Bacon, and Salads, and Asparagus.


So you got Elves eating Cinnabons that are twice the nutritional value of a single ration!

And they don't have to worry about the calories: WHAT A DEAL!!
 



I think the tolkienesque paradigm that elves wouldn't eat meat is pretty naive. A healthy ecosystem requires a balance, and for example if there was a fox overpopulation decimating the local fauna, I'm sure the elves would see wisdom of a culling to protect the balance.

And because they wouldn't want to waste the food, it's fox month baby!

"Anyway, like I was sayin', fox is the fruit of the land. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, fox-kabobs, fox creole, fox gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried"
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Humans evolved eating meat. To not eat meat is in some sense unnatural.
Proto-hominids evolved by scavenging meat, so Elfs who forgo Hunting could still be scavengers and/or insectovores

insect eating would explain the drow love of Lloth. High elves might eat butterflies
 

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