What is ME culture/food?
Middle Eastern. I abbreviated it. This could mean any spectrum of things, esp. if we’re talking about cultural appropriation. Just as an example, my dad’s side of the family is Lebanese. My grandma sometimes makes dishes like stuffed grape leaves - literal grape leaves wrapped around ground beef and mint and stewed with a lamb shank. (Super delicious and my favorite food EVER, but slightly beside the point.) If she was going to model her fictional culture on a real one, I feel like she could’ve just… picked one? That sounds terrible, because it would still be cultural appropriation, but if she had included details like (for example) people in the Night Court - I don’t even know. She could’ve gone so many different directions. She could’ve chosen something from Indian culture and had them use rice or flatbread more than utensils, just as a random example - flatbread is something that appears in a lot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean and even more food traditions (lavash, naan, pita, to name just a few). But in my opinion, she’s so focused on making the Night Court more “civilized” than the rest of Prythian (read: white) that she wouldn’t even have considered that. So instead, we have “buttery green beans” in ACOWAR, and the highly descriptive “chicken” in ACOMAF… If I were Feyre, that would not be food that made me feel alive.
I mean, at the end of the day, it comes down to that I feel really, really strongly about food in cultural tradition, and I feel like SJM tried to make that part of her worldbuilding - but didn’t go far enough. It feels like she didn’t do any research, or any - dare I say - actual thinking about how to go about this. I would’ve LOVED to see it mentioned more, especially as Feyre not only notices the food several times, BUT HAS A REASON TO - she’s been starving for years. Of course she would notice the food. Think Harry Potter at the Weasley’s. I can’t tell you how happy it would’ve made me if SJM had described, in detail, what made the Night Court’s food… different. What about it made Feyre feel awake. Is it heavy? Is it full of spices? (It’s implied that it is, at least at that one restaurant Feyre goes to in ACOMAF.) Feyre describes it as simple compared to the “overwrought” food of the Spring Court. What makes it overwrought? It would be such a good character detail if Feyre paid attention to the food. She can’t eat mortal food after tasting the food in Prythian. Were there fresh fruits and vegetables in the Spring Court that she’d never tasted before? Does the Night Court eat fish a lot since they’re on the coast? (At least I think they are.) What do the titles of the different Courts have to do with the food there? Does Lucien miss the food of the Autumn Court? I NEED TO KNOW.
Anyways, I would have to do a lot more research to provide more specific examples of Middle Eastern (and Mediterranean, for that matter - I can go Lebanese, Greek, and Italian, but that’s about it) food and culture, since it isn’t one culture, of course. SJM would, too. But she didn’t - she reverted to food that I assume she knew.
And I yawned and turned the page without having any clearer idea about the Night Court traditions, realizing that SJM just skimmed enough aesthetic off the top of ME culture to give Feyre and Mor an excuse to wear over-sexualized clothes and give her bat boys a tan.
(Note: this was probably way more than you were looking for, nonnie. I got a little carried away. Hope this helps anyways!)