Sugar, Spices and Money: The Thedas Cuisine Project
For the purposes of this project, using medieval money as a base, the following currency values will be applied:
Medieval Money vs Modern Day Money:
1 pound (20 Shillings) = $650 / £530 / €620
1 shilling (12 pence) = $32 / £26 / €31
1 pence (4 farthings) = $2.60 / £2 / €2.50
1 farthing = $0.65 / £0.50 / €0.60
Thedas Money Vs. Medieval Money:
1 gold = 1 pound, 9 pence, 4 farthings
1 silver = 2.5 pence (10 farthings)
1 copper = 0.1 farthing
Thedas Money Vs. Modern Day Money:
1 gold = $676 / £550 / €645
1 silver = $6.5 / £5 / €6.25
1 copper = $0.06 / £0.05 / €0.06
Sugar would be very rare outside of the nobility, due to its extreme cost. One pound of sugar would cost nearly 15 silver. In terms of real world money, you’re looking at an equivalent of about $98. The average lay-person would most likely make anywhere between 50 copper and 3 silver per day. Paying the equivalent of between 5 and 15 days wages on a pound of sugar was just not possible for most people. It should also be noted that a small two-person peasant home probably only cost about 3 or 4 gold.
To put that in perspective, that’s kind of like paying $98 for a pound of sugar when you only make $19.50 a day, and the cost of a house is $2000. Of course, most people would most likely rent their houses. The cost of renting that same house would probably be 1 gold per year, which would probably be payable per month like our own real-world rent. So most people would be paying the equivalent of $56 per month to rent their house.
To put that in perspective, given current-era real world money, that’s like making $300 a week and renting a two bedroom house for $174 a month (you could also buy the house for $6200). In this same scenario, sugar costs $300 per pound. To put in perspective how HIGH that would be, a brand new BMW S-series would cost $1300.
Because of these reasons, liberal use of sugar (even among the nobility) would be very rare, and would be a sign of extreme luxury.
Because of these prices, the vast majority of the common peoples within Thedas would use honey and local fruit for their sweeteners. Contrasted with today, where honey is now much more expensive than sugar, it was the other way around in the middle ages. Whereas sugar would cost around 15 silver per pound in Thedas, honey would cost closer to 2 silver per pound. Bee husbandry was far cheaper than sourcing sugar or growing sugar, and therefore the end product was much cheaper as well. Many families would also keep their own bee-hives, and so most communities had at least one steady supply of fresh honey. Most communities would still use it sparingly, however, as it would mostly be sold to nobles, with the excess being used by the community, or farmers themselves.
Spices would be exceedingly expensive in Thedas, especially if you wanted to get spices that weren’t native to the kingdom you lived in. While these spices were cheaper in their native lands, cheaper did not always equate to affordable. The majority of people who used these spices were either in the small group of those who could afford them - or they knew how to forage or grow them.
Cinnamon, for example, would have been native to The Anderfels, parts of Nevarra, and Tevinter. Inside of these kingdoms, cinnamon would still sell for around 15 silver per pound. Outside of these kingdoms, however, the price would vary depending on how far they would be shipped. The end price for spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves would be anywhere between 50 silver to 2 gold per pound. While the end price could still be manageable, given that spices were sold by the ounce, it would still be a considerable expense.
The following is a list of example spices. The first price is the price (per pound) in their native habitat, the second is the additional price for shipment (per 10 miles). The third price is the estimated price (per pound) after their shipment from their native habitat to the other side of Thedas (average of 500 miles).
For spices not listed, just assume that it would have a similar price as to any spices that are similar on the above list.
Herbs would be much cheaper than spices, but not as widely available. Most herbs that were shipped would be their dried versions, which would of course be inferior to the fresh variants. Dried variants of herbs would, of course, be cheaper than fresh.
With the following list, the first price is the price (per bunch) for fresh, and the second is for dry. For herbs, the shipping cost would most likely be much more uniform when compared to spices. Therefore, assume a simple 50 copper per 10 miles when shipping an herb from its native habitat.
The following is a list of food basics, and their average prices. This is not an inclusive list of everything. It is merely a guide to give you an idea of what the average person would pay for food in Thedas.
Cheap Ale (per gallon): 50 copper
Good Ale (per gallon): 1 silver
Cheap Wine (per gal): 2 silver
Good Wine (per gal): 10 silver
Cheap Beer (per gal): 2 silver
Good Beer (per gal): 8 silver
Milk (per quart): 50 copper
MEAT AND LIVESTOCK:
Cow, alive: 50 silver
Beef, butchered (whole cow): 3 gold
Beef, butchered (per pound): 35 copper
Pig, alive: 15 silver
Pork, butchered (whole pig): 70 silver
Pork, butchered (Per pound): 45 copper
Sheep, Alive: 5 silver
Mutton, butchered (whole sheep): 60 silver
Mutton, butchered (Per pound): 40 copper
Lamb, Alive: 10 silver
Lamb, butchered (whole lamb): 50 silver
Lamb, butchered (per pound): 60 copper
Fowl, alive: 25 copper
Fowl, butchered (whole bird): 75 copper to 3 silver
Fowl, butchered (per pound): 15 copper
Goose or Duck, alive: 1 silver
Goose or duck, butchered (whole bird): 4 silver
Goose or duck, butchered (per pound): 22 copper
FRUITS, VEGETABLES, GRAINS AND FATS:
note: 1 bushel = 60 pounds
Wheat: 15 silver per quarter bushel
Wheat flour: 4 silver per pound
Barley: 12 silver per quarter bushel
Barley flour: 3 silver per pound
Oats: 5 silver per quarter bushel
Oat Flour: 2 silver per pound
Peas, Dried: 1 silver per quarter bushel
Pea flour: 30 copper per pound
Peasant’s Flour (mixture of barley, oat, and pea): 15 copper per pound
Local Fresh vegetables: Between 50 copper and 2 silver per pound
Local Fresh fruit: Between 1 and 4 silver per pound
Local Dried Fruit: Between 50 copper and 1 silver per pound
Foreign Vegetables (fresh): 6 silver per pound
Foreign Fruit (Fresh): 12 silver per pound
Foreign dried fruit: 2 to 4 silver per pound
Butter: 30 copper per pound
Beef suet: 40 copper per pound
Mutton or Lamb suet: 20 copper per pound
Pork suet (or lard): 15 copper per pound
Bread: 40 copper per loaf
Cheese: 20 copper per pound
Eggs: 1 copper each
Yeast: 1 copper per ounce
This post will most likely be referenced throughout the Thedas Cuisine Project. As you can see from the above, most commoners in Thedas would very much live day-to-day as far as food cost was concerned.
Chasing after victims was never the fun part. Preferably, Syn had them on the silverplate, locked up in a pantry, running into a dead end street, circumstances that made it easier for her to get the job done as quickly as possible. Yet there she stood, between the many shelves of a library, peeking around corners and through some gaps between books just so she could keep her eyes on the target. The slightest sigh escaped her lips. Observing, ugh. It was obvious that patience was not her strongest trait, but why be patient if your target was meant to die anyways? There was no reason to waste time. Shuffling a few steps aside, the female pretended to be interested in the books standing right before her nose. Raising suspicions was not helpful either.
After figuring out that the man named Charles Brown, her current target, spent a lot of time in this library, Syn sadly was forced to become one of the regularly seen people in it too. Even though she was supposed to kill him, he held some interesting meetings here that gave away more interesting information than she would have expected. That was the only reason for her patience to extend so long. Her temper did not cope with it. The slightest disturbance could bring her to explode now, a sight not many had survived and less wanted to witness again. Her hands wrapped up in the fabric of light gloves (Yes, gloves. She did not intend on leaving any fingerprints) carefully brushed over the back of whatever dictionary she had to shove aside to get a better view at the table Mr. Brown sat at right now.
Completely focused on this man, she tried to sharpen her senses, especially the one responsible for her to understand every spoken word, Syn pressed herself a little closer to the shelf. Head tilted aside some and breath forced to slow some, her ear took in every silently muttered word while her blue eyes kept the end of the shelf in check if there was anyone to come and sneak around its corner for a surprise attack. This might be a library, but there have been crazier things happening at more unusual places. In this business, you had to be prepared for anything, anytime.
Il blu è uno stato d'animo, almeno così gli dissero sempre.
E dannazione, doveva di sicuro essere così, non poteva essere altrimenti. Tutto attorno a lui era blu, la luce che filtrava dalle serrande lo era.
La sua pelle, illuminata a righe in cui il nero sembrava essere la soluzione migliore.
Le pareti - inavvertitamente bianche - lo erano diventate, per puro spirito di simpatia. L'atmosfera ideale per suonare al pianoforte, per rileggere vecchie lettere, per guardare vecchie foto. Ma anche no, poteva essere il momento per far diventare il blu quello di un fornello.
Un caffè, un fuoco, qualcosa da bruciare per riscaldarsi, fossero anche i ricordi.
Ed i pensieri si accavallano come un letto sfatto, quel letto sfatto, di quella mattina, di quel mese, di quell'anno…E tornano di nuovo i pensieri. E’ un ciclo continuo, privo di monotonia perchè ogni ritorno è sempre imprevisto.
Chi poteva immaginare che tornasse? Chi poteva sperare lo facesse?
Lui alla fine no di certo, ed in questo non venne frainteso, nè deluso.
Da sorridere per la sua assenza, da sorridere fino alle lacrime per la consapevolezza.
Poi un fischio, il cervello lo metabolizza come quello della caffettiera di poco fa. C'è sempre caffeina nel blu, col latte, per sfumare i colori. Normalmente uno penserebbe all'alcool, ma a che serve?
Lui si è già dedicato all'eliminazione sistematica dei neuroni nei sentimenti, bruciarsene altri così sarebbe ridondanza.
Parolaio, logorroico, eccessivo in tutto ed in niente, odiava la ridondanza nella malinconia.
Buttarsi troppo giù gli avrebbe fatto vedere le cose da una prospettiva inesatta, scorretta.
Due cucchiaini di certezze da mischiare assieme, e tutto sembra migliorare.
Per il momento.
La Tv è un toccasana ottimo in questi frangenti, nessuno ha mai scoperto il perchè.
Le teorie sono che ipnotizzi il tempo necessario a levarti le pause e costringerti quindi a tornare al lavoro. Altrimenti che semplicemente sia uno strumento del demonio fatto per catodizzare la nostra anima fra culi e tette.
Un'anima uccisa da un capezzolo!
Sì, è una buona morte, per ambo i sessi.
Un cinque contro uno in onore di un'attrice gli levò il mal di testa e rese più esatta la caffeina ingerita, suo malgrado corretta con un goccio del solito vecchio amico. Jack, non pensate male. Quello che fa Daniel di cognome, malfidati.
E poi torna sotto gli occhi la sua foto, e guarda caso ricomincia il ciclo.
C'è il sigaro delle grandi occasioni, quelle che sono talmente grandi che non vengono mai. Difatti non lo accese, preferì illudersi dell'arrivo di una nuova, splendida mattina. Ma dal vetro il mondo era blu, e la notte sembrava essersi presa il suo spazio da star.
Un bel vestito di lustrini stellati, uno scialle di cumulonembi, ed un diadema a forma di luna che di tanto in tanto ci onorava della sua presenza sulla fronte di Lady N.
Il leit motiv era l'eleganza, la tristezza, e la vecchia classe che non c'è più.
O forse la povertà, i gatti randagi, e le persone sole.
Da pensarci su osservandola ballare attraverso le persiane, osservando le persiane attraverso il vetro, osservando sè stesso attraverso quel catorcio chiamato cuore. Un paio di battiti più accellerati, una protesta accennata da parte dello stesso, ed uno scusarsi a sorsi di liquido caldo.
Corroborante nel suo essergli nocivo.
Ma servi allo scopo.
Ci si calma sempre prendendo a piene mani ciò che ci fa più male.
E’ un masochismo connaturato alla nostra ricerca di felicità, una vita passata ad insegnarci che non si può ottenere qualcosa se non soffrendo ci dà la possibilità di soffrire a gratis, accumulando punti per vincere il servizio di sogni in silverplate forniti dalla casa.
Ed alla fine fece l'unica cosa sensata da qualche mese a questa parte. Rise di sè stesso, rise dei suoi ricordi, rise del suo cuore, del caffè, del blu, di tutto.