Thanks to the "Song of Ice and Fire" saga (for you greenhorns, it's the basis of HBO's"Game of Thrones"series), George R.R. Martin has been called, among other things, the American Tolkien.
But when you look at the culinary side of his books or the ingenious compilation of recipes in "A Feast of Ice & Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook" (Bantam: 225 pp., $35), you realize another moniker that's just as apt for the stocky little fantasy master from New Mexico: the medieval Dr. Atkins.
Waging battles requires lots of protein, and there's plenty of beef, pork and fowl (even a frog or two) to be found in many of the stories. "Feast" creators Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer have zeroed in on many of the meals — like the salad of chickpeas and spinach eaten at Castle Black, the poached pears of Highgarden and the roasted aurochs eaten by the Starks of Winterfell — to give readers a taste of what it would be like to be a denizen of the great continent of Westeros. These are real recipes, including menus for all occasions: a simple dinner, a feast after jousting and what to serve for a royal wedding — how about some fresh cream of mushroom and snail soup?
Just be forewarned: The book covers the entire saga thus far, and if you're behind on your reading and don't want to be surprised, epigraphs to some recipes might spill hints about plot twists you probably don't want to know.