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Codex entry: On Avvar Cuisine

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What is thrown into the Avvar's cookpots? What isn't! Far from the delicate creams and sauces of Val Royeaux, or the rich pies and ripe cheeses beloved in Ferelden, the Avvar must subsist on whatever their mountain valleys provide. Nothing is too humble for their appetites, from the small, succulent snails found on hillside boulders to fern fiddleheads harvested in the spring. This is not to say the Avvar do not dine on more dangerous (but far more filling) fare. Harts, rams, gurguts, and lurkers are all candidates for communal evening meals taken around the fire. "Lowlander" spices, while not unknown, are great delicacies reserved for feasts. (In fact, my parting gift to the thane of Fennec-Tooth Hold was, at his request, ten jars each of black peppercorns, powdered mustard, and Antivan cord-seed.)

Avvar cooking methods favor utility. Stews are common because they can be simmered until nightfall with small fuss. Holds by lakes or rivers will wrap fish in clay and pungent leaves and leave it to bake all day over banked coals. Most Avvar food preparation, however, centers around winter. From the spring thaw onward, the hold is an endless hive of activity as meat is smoked, vegetables are pickled, and fruits are dried and stacked in crude dirt cellars in preparation for the long dark.

Despite this race against the seasons, the Avvar freely leave out rich cuts of meat and piles of plump berries on wood and stone slabs around their village. They believe these "offerings" propitiate a strange collection of beings they refer to as "gods" inhabiting the forest. The wise traveler attempts not to judge, and I was treated with all care due a guest, but I never become accustomed to the sight of good food left out by such a practical people.

—From The Further Journeys of Marquis d'Lussard, with an Emphasis on Food and Drink, with Full Illustrations by the Author

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