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Boundless, sprawling empires. Hidden, mountain kingdoms. Isolated cities. Great armies engaging on the field of battle.

The above blurb seems to describe a lot of stories in the Fantasy genre, including but not limited to books, movies, and video games. Readers are awed by vast populations living in secluded cities, locked in a perpetually Medieval epoch, complete with the limited technological advancements of that age. It all begs the question:

What do these people eat?

All too often, the issue of food production gets skimmed over. There is, of course, no shortage of farmers in Fantasy fiction. I’ve often wondered if they get annoyed that their sons are constantly turning out to be Chosen Ones summoned to save the world, leaving a whole lot of chores undone. But usually, we’re offered little more than a cursory explanation of what kinds of food sources they depend on: cows, sheep, Medieval staples…

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