world building: sources of food

This is where the food comes from– it’s a big topic, so I’ll be touching on what meals would be like next.

Wild Fish
As opposed to domesticated fish. πŸ™‚ Fish outside of mariculture (as well as other types of seafood– eel, crab, clams, shark, spoon worms, squid, ect.) are caught in the outlying lake, and is the farthest out that Vastii reaches away from the Pit; getting there from the center takes hours of walking. Still, as it is a source of food, many of the commoners live and work there, trying their luck and hoping for something large and expensive. The lake is over-fished, but it is also extraordinarily deep, and a majority of the water is not accessible by the air. Some experts believe that the lake accessible to them is less than a tenth of its true size.

Mariculture
There are various types of fish farms, but all of them must keep their water at a certain temperature, which is the most difficult part of the trade. Clams, eels, and certain fish are the easiest to farm, and for those that can afford to buy them they make up a significant portion of their diet. They also farm seaweed and other marine plants.

Livestock
Creatures large enough to provide decent meals require feeding, and the best tasting animals are herbivores, so livestock are expensive and the selection is limited. Farmed animals also provide fur and leather, and most good clothes come from these farms as well. Animals kept include goats (well, furry goat-like creatures prized for their milk), dogs (a principal source of labor, transportation, fur, and food), moles, and cave-hares (these are blind, with plenty of very long whiskers).

Vine Farms
With so much fish and meat in most people’s diets, vine farms are usually used for other things besides food: various types of wood, pitch, oil, medicines. Still, there are several plants also used as food; hardy root vegetables thrive in mixtures of volcanic soil, mixed in with goat and hare manurer, and some of the climbing vines produce waxy red fruits that drop down and would otherwise be eaten by hares (who would spread the seeds after exiting their digestive system). Plants are not regarded as a meal, however, and other than a flat bread is made from the easy-to-grow root vegetables, it is not consumed nearly so much as is fish except by those who work cultivating plants (who tend to be healthier than most).

Other
Ice worms are small, white creatures that are found on the surface between the earth and snow. They are particularly difficult to gather in any quantity, and eating them with a meal is a display of wealth and social status: they are regarded as a delicacy, despite their bitter flavor.

It should also be noted that almost everyone below the craftsman’s district will practice cannibalism at least once. Some communities within Vastii eat their own dead to commemorate them, to obtain their wisdom and experience. Some are just hungry, and see a frozen body as meat. And then there are a few that develop a taste for human flesh, who know that hunting men is easier than stealing livestock.

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8 thoughts on “world building: sources of food

  1. Ewwww…gross. But excellent πŸ™‚ This is going to be an interesting world.

    Just wondering how you are going to get the plants to grow – they depend on light in the visible spectrum to work. If it’s dark, how do they grow? Are they different from plants on our world? Are they plants at all?

  2. Well, a plant that depends on photosynthesis would need visible light to work. Some of the plants I’ve described use chemosynthesis (hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide, or methane as a source of energy), and there’s plenty of that around. That’s how the plants at the bottom of our oceans get their energy, particularly around the oceanic volcanic vents.

    I also decided that some plants would also convert their chemical energy from heat rather than light, using an endothermic reaction. This means that the plants I describe have no chlorophyll. They’re a colorless brown-gray, and not particularly good to look at, though some smell quite nice. πŸ™‚

  3. Ah, so your plants aren’t really “plants”. Chemosynthesis in our world occurs in cyanobacteria, not plants. There are no plants around the vents, only invertebrates and bacteria. Plants, by definition, create their energy by photosynthesis.

    Sorry for the science lecture! It doesn’t make a difference to your world of course, as long as it’s clear they aren’t plants as we would know them, and they aren’t green. It would certainly make for an interesting landscape, and what wonderful colours.

  4. Well, yes. My goats and tigers aren’t goats or tigers in the strict sense either, but if they’re close enough it’s really just easier than referring to them as something else. You know, if it looks like a duck… πŸ™‚

  5. i’m curious about the lake and how large it is; what are the signs of overfishing? or do people just claim that it is due to the amount of people attempting it from the tiny 10% they have access to?

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