Silly question time

What would magi think about the recipes in the theoretical cookbook?

Most, not much. These are people raised from an early age in a house with staff. They wouldn't have a mum or a grandma teaching them time honoured recipes at the stove. To be blunt, they may even think of it as beneath them, peasant work.

Like usual though, it doesn't have to be like our world, or our expectations. We make the world. If you want this world to have a master chef competition at every tribunal with a bunch of mages heavily invested in the result, then your world has that.

even after fifteen years of cooking and stirring whatever obscure substance their master has in he cauldron?

You may not want to eat what they have cooked, but I am sure they have been cooking. A lot.

In most cultures, historically house cooking was "women's work", and thus like nearly everything labelled "women's work", was undervalued, however a chef was a profession and valued. I would suggest a similar dynamic. Cauldron is serious professional wizard work, cooking, not so much.

I refer back to my original response. One does not need to make the world like this.

Disclaimer: Commentary on previous social norms and lingering social norms, does in no way mean I condone them.

For a starting point to look for medieval books about cooking, look here:

Making magical food following a recipe -> making charged items following a lab text.

Maybe you would want a specialization in Texts. Would help you cook more portions at the same time (as would any specialization in Items, of course).

Anything to help you sort through recipes (a Bookstand of Hespera for example, as in Covenants) could help you.

Something to help organize your spices would also come in handy (I know I am always loosing mine in the top shelf). XD

I find it interesting to see the comments on how cooking may be seen as an activity beneath magi. For most magi, sure. But all magi? One of House Jerbiton's most numerous league is the league of gastronomers, with over 50 members - that's literally half the house. They have a thing where they strive to impress each other by making lavish, excentric feasts, assist each other with gathering rare culinary ingredients, and some members begin preparing years in advance for their feast. You would think if several magi can band together to track down that elusive deer of virtue just in time to get the perfect meat for the next feast, there would also be magi who also design cooking spells or cooking magical items handled with Finesse. Hell, Food plants is a canon major magical focus in the base book.

Of course not. There are extreme cases such as the Rusticani who do a lot of things the more Roman and Posh magi would frown upon.

There are probably some of these magi who rely on craft magic and superior finesse, but my guess is that the majority rely on their staff. There are so many ways to enjoy the good life that the Jerbiton cherish. And craft magic is not quite the same thing as the craft anyway.

That's hunting and its historic status is quite different from that of cooking.

A lot can be said about historic status of this and that occupation, and frankly, I'm not sure the Order of Hermes gives a damn what the nobles and the church says the society must be like. After all, in the medieval era, mundane craftsmen were very much beneath the nobility, and aristocracy was very much dominant, yet the order is strangely democratic, and doesn't have its nobles and clergy ruling over the rest of the Order. Nobody seems to merchant magi of House Jerbiton and craftsmen magi of House ex Verditius are lowborn compared to the Trianoma politicians. Warfare was a noble occupation, yet no one seems to consider House Tytalus, Tremere and Flambeau (all who replicate the martial behaviors of the nobility or knightly orders in some way) inherently higher status than say, a House whose members spend half their time as animals. In fact, funnily enough, hermetic prestige is typical of House Guernicus who are in service to the Order as quaesitors, rather than its rulers. The Order, unlike regular medieval society, isn't male-dominated.

I'm sure the league of Gastronomers isn't monolithic, and I'm sure there are many ways to prepare for a feast, including selecting the beast cooks, hunting, choosing a proper feasthall, finding the right musicians, finding the right gifts, etc. Some gastronomers obviously do that. But let's not boil it down to staff selection, I'm sure there are magi who are as anxious over agriculture and cooking. Oh wait, just in the Rhine book, we have Gunhilda Henrasdottir ex Jerbiton who focuses on housecraft (does that sound cooking and cleaning spells to you? Sure does to me.), Peter von Wurzburg ex Verditius who is known as a Master for... growing grapes and making wines, and Richard Caespuus ex Bonisagus who seems obsessed with plant productivity. Growing crops isn't as much a peasant occupation as cleaning and cooking, perhaps? Let's not imagine the order as a replica of medieval thought on what a society should be like - it is anything but.

2 Likes

Absolutely. Hermetic Magi are less conformant than any other group of the time. There are enough of them to allow them to be eccentric and non-compliant without sticking out like a sore thumb, like Jeanne d'Arc did.

However, magi are *men of leisure. They have the means to leave the toil to others. Thus, with the exceptions of a few eccentrics among the eccentrics, they would only do it for sport. Cooking for the sake of cooking, or smithing for the sake of smithing, or anything for the sake of whatever, would be strange. Cooking to make meal to be remembered for the next decade, because your craft magic outperforms any chef in the land, is a different matter altogether, just like smithing the greatest magical longsword the world has ever seen is long recognised as a worthy Verditius mission.

I wonder if that sounds a little more like an oppressive father, than a maga's vocation, but nobody ever disputed the existence of surprising exceptions.

I feel I need to put a #notallmagi.

I put qualifiers. "Most". "One does not need to make the world like this". Even a disclaimer.

Furthermore, magi pursue the magic they have. A mage who has notable inclinations toward crafting, who does not craft, is doing wrong. They might be considered vaguely perverse.

What recipes would such a mage use in such a laboratory?

There are foods that historically took a ridiculous time, or a really large degree of input which a magic kitchen could change. Magic could create the equivalent of refined sugar and allow you to make pavlovas, souffles, etc. Something to freeze certain berries and make certain deserts and cakes out of season will be astonishing.

Alone the possibility to offer ice with syrup during the summer was something even the romans could only do thanks to slaves. Not sure if what I saw in the TV was real but from what was shown there runner that had to travel to the nearest glacier break out a large block of ice and bring it back before it was complet gone.

If you are still going with magic food that gives bonus to whoever eats:

  • cakes that make the person increase or diminish in size (MuCo). Think Alice in Wonderland.
  • potions that make whoever drinks them immune to fire for one day (ReIg). You can make other versions that give immunity to wood or metal.
  • wine that let the grogs fight unfatigued (cast Endurance of the Bersekers on the driker);
  • any useful MuCo, CrCo or ReCo spells are probably a good choice.

Other ideas:

  • a gingerbread house that becomes a real sized, sun duration house where you can shelter for the night (CrHe) (don't eat this one, it's an horrible way to die)
  • a seed that grows into thick underbrush, stalling pursuers
  • magic beans that grow into instant ladders to reach very high things (again CrHe)
  • sweets that make the person fall in love with the first one they see after eating (CrMe)
  • a serum that makes the person speak only the truth
  • a magic apple that kills whoever takes one bite (could be PeCo, or CrAq to create a deadly poison in the apple when someone eats it)
  • meat that transforms into a burst of flames inside your mouth. Very fun at Flambeau meetings, not so fun at the bishop's table.
1 Like