“In the Game of Food, you win, or you wash the dishes.” That’s the tagline of The Inn at the Crossroads, a food blog with a unique twist: Authors Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer are trying to cook every dish that appears in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Well, almost every dish — the denizens of Westeros and beyond sometimes eat things that are illegal in the U.S. (horse meat, camel, dog) or downright horrifying (olives stuffed with maggots).
But Monroe-Cassel and Lehrer have triumphed over challenges like honey-spiced locusts and the mysterious “bowls of brown” served in Flea Bottom, as well as a score of more appetizing recipes (lemon cakes, anyone?) — and now they’ve taken their hobby to the next level. Next Tuesday, Bantam will release A Feast of Ice and Fire, a Game of Thrones-themed cookbook that has George R. R. Martin’s official seal of approval; he even wrote the tome’s poetic introduction. Before its release, EW called up Monroe-Cassel and Lehrer to chat about the challenges of cooking fictional food, weird medieval recipes, and which fantastical world they’d like to tackle next. Hint: It rhymes with “Larry Totter.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What inspired you to start your blog?
Monroe-Cassel: We really wanted lemon cakes, and a Google search didn’t bring up anything that fit the almost reverent description of lemon cakes in the books. So naturally, we decided to try and make our own.
Research must have been a huge undertaking. Can you explain your process?
Monroe-Cassel: We basically try to do an historical and a modern take on each dish when possible — it can be anything from ancient Roman to Elizabethan. We’ll look at the description in the book and then we’ll go back in old cookbooks and try to find a description that fairly closely matches. The old recipes often don’t have quantities or very clear directions or temperatures or anything like that.
I’m imagining you two sitting in an enormous library, examining scrolls.
Monroe-Cassel: [Laughs] That would be the dream. I’m a classical history major, so I did put my dead language skills to work for some of the recipes. We’ve done a lot of library research and a lot of online research.
I guess you can find anything on the Internet.
Monroe-Cassel: It’s true. We got our crickets from Amazon.
It’s a little disappointing that the book doesn’t include a recipe for a pie filled with 100 live doves.
Monroe-Cassel: We get that a lot!