Ever wonder what’s in those packs of iron rations that adventures have to encumer themselves with for any journey longer than a few hours? Wonder no more, here are the ingredients – at least, the Peak District version.
There’s not actually much “iron” in them. In fact, in the southern Peak District you will find more lead than iron. In some adventuring communities this severely affects the intelligence of adventurers. Academics and gurus are rare.in these areas.
Most of these minerals come from raisins – nothing like the type we know, but tiny, hard pellets which melt in your mouth, leaving far too much grit and seed. They taste of bitter earth and charcoal.
Next come cubes of salted pork fat, brined in a special mix unique to each family or artisan. This always contains salt and some kind of vinegar, and often fruit and mountain herbs too. In Hope the people typically add linden flowers and borage to the mix, whereas in Hathersage they add rose-bay willow herb and marigold. In Castleton, cowberry and blueberry flowers are the norm.
The mix is finished off with hazelnuts with papery skin: crisp and succulent in the autum, dry and chalky by the time the next summer comes around.
But iron rations are not the only sustenance for adventurers on the move. Most inns have a breakfast buffet, and items from this can be stuffed into pockets and bags. While some proprietors are generous and delighted that their guests are so appreciative of their cooking, others consider “dawn-snaffling” a liberty and will even spy on breakfasters to ensure that nothing is taken.
A very popular breakfast buffet takeaway is the bacon sandwich. Adventurers can usually secrete around 6 rounds of “pocket bacon” within their clothing. Thank you to Silva Sweetberry, the halfling thief, who taught me this trick, and who gleefully offered a sarnie to every NPC we met during our 7-day in residence at The Blushing Tankard in Hupperdook, a residency which our party won as a prize in a drinking contest.