Sometimes you need to know what is served at the inn the characters are staying. Roll on the table below to find out. I have researched some medieval and renaissance foods and tried to break it up in a way that will work for different types of inns. No more flavorless stews!
Know that in the old times all fresh vegetables and fruits were prepared in some way (cooked, dried, pickled, salted or fermented) as fresh produce were thought to cause sickness. Furthermore only the upper classes regularly enjoyed fresh meat or fish (settlements near fishing waters are obvious exceptions). Spices and herbs were widely used. Dairy products spoiled quickly and was seldom used in cooking. Almond milk was the prefered substitute. Salted butter was used, if not common.
During fast the menu is usually changed. Normally this means no food served before a certain hour, all meats substituted with fish or vegetables, or determined by local customs – use your imagination. During feasts or other celebrations the menu will also offer something different. Solve it by adding another 1d4 to your roll or make something up for these occasions.
Assign 1d4 for each step of quality of the inn up to a maximum of 5d4. Like this: 1d4 = poor, 2d4 = cheap, 3d4 = average, 4d4 = good and 5d4 = extraordinary. If you don’t know the quality of the inn just roll 1d20 to find out the what is served.
- Stale bread
- Gruel of barley and almond milk
- Frumenty – Potage of boiled wheat and currants
- Cabbage soup – Potage of cabbage and sometimes onions, garlic and leeks
- Tredure – Broth thickened with egg and bread
- Mortrew – Potage with broth, salted meat and vegetables.
- Makerouns – Noodles and cheese.
- Buttered greens. Cooked herbs and/or green vegetables with butter. Poured over stale bread.
- Pickled herrings, onion, butter and bread
- Smoked eel served with beans, stewed cress and chard
- Meat pie, white bread and butter. Meat varies, but beef or game is typically more expensive. Could also be fish pie if near fishing water.
- Pork meatballs with currants in almond milk. Served with bread.
- Cheese and onion pie served with boiled sprouts and a cup of warm broth.
- Stuffed eel in a spicy and red almond sauce. Typical stuffing is bread, onion and mushrooms.
- Braised pike with herbs in wine sauce.
- Wild boar with pickled pumpkin and sprouts
- Roasted venison and mushrooms with red wine baste.
- Lobster with vinegar dipping sauce.
- Roasted whole swan with ginger sauce and boiled greens.
- Fantasy/Extinct/Mythic/Unique animal/creature served with fresh vegetables and foreign (extraplanar!) spices. This meal should be really extraordinary, bordering on perversion. Examples include unicorn, cockatrice, owlbear and hippogriff. Replace with any type of rare game or bird if this doesn’t fit your style or campaign. Or take it even further into depravity and serve some gelatinous cube, otyugh, purple worm or even a small dragon.