“Potato, potato, pumpkin bomb, lots and lots of nuts!”

Eiko, singing about her rock-fisted potato stew in FFIX

Remember walking into Dali for the first time, and how there was a little table in the inn with plates and a jug and a menu? It read:

* Dali Inn’s Breakfast Service! *

A delicious breakfast for 20 Gil!

-Cold water, fresh from the well
-Fresh scrambled eggs
-Vegetables, fresh from the farm

* This is a sample menu. *

If you kept walking through the village (and why wouldn’t you?) you found a garden out back where a woman was tending the pumpkin patch. “You’re in my way, kiddo,” she told you.

Now, if your reaction to the experience was, “How can I turn this into a recipe?” — congratulations, you’re me. (And you can find the recipe here.)

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I got the idea for this project when a friend of mine asked me to write some joke recipes for his videogame site. “You know, like roast chocobo,” he said.

Dali Village Road

I was appalled.  “People in Final Fantasy would never eat chocobos!” I think he rolled his eyes, but I was already making a list — Coq Au Madhu, Icicle Inn Hero Drink, South Gate Bundt Cake, and many more I haven’t gotten to yet.

So, yeah, this collection of recipes isn’t cute moogle cupcakes and bento boxes (although those things are obviously awesome and I need them in my life!) but, much sillier, a sort of anthropological survey of Final Fantasy.

* * * * *

What I’ve always loved about Final Fantasy is how immersive its worlds can be, from the medieval/steampunk cities of FFVI and FFIX to the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern topography and architecture of FFXII’s Ivalice and the Southeast Asian influences that ground FFX’s Spira.

Where, say, FFVII is futuristic and multicultural, Spira is conservative and insular — like, in FFVII you could walk into a bar and order anything from burgers to sashimi to Korean B.B.Q., but in FFX you’d order noodles, yeah?

So, to use Spira as an example, I have Kilika mapped to Thailand with Kilika Green Curry Shrimp and Kilika Grilled Shrimp with Soba Noodles. The Besaid recipes are inspired by the cuisine of the Pacific Islands (Besaid Smoked Duck is based on a famous Indonesian recipe, and Wakka’s Fried Rice is Hawaiian in origin).

I read an interview with FFX’s art director, who said that Zanarkand was modeled after the Uzbek city of Samarkand. A friend of mine who grew up in that region gave me a traditional Uzbek recipe which I used to create Zanarkand Lamb Pilaf.

And then the Al Bhed, because of their name and their desert homeland, I linked to Persia and came up with Al Bhed Pomegranate Soup, which is very similar to something they serve at my favorite Persian restaurant.

* * * * *

All my recipes aren’t regional. The mage series focuses on concotions with medicinal powers, like White Mage Chicken Soup (when you realize you’re coming down with a cold, make this recipe right away to raise your defenses!), Green Mage Juice (great for detoxing), and Sector 5 Flower Soup (a fantastic overall health tonic; use maple syrup instead of honey to make it vegan).

As for the recipes themselves, I believe in using good ingredients, organic and local when possible. I try to use as few pots and pans as I can (I don’t have a dishwasher!).  All my recipes are thoroughly kitchen-tested, most of them several times, until I’m entirely satisfied with them.

So there you have it, and that’s what I mean when I call this project an overview of Final Fantasy cuisine. Instead of roast chocobo, you’ll find cockatrice soup. If you have questions about any of my recipes, you’re welcome to send me mail!