Two years ago, my now-boyfriend Marcus made an odd request for our fifth date: would I give watching Game of Thrones a try? He offered to sweeten the deal by cooking dinner.
I thought he was cute and he texted in full sentences, so I accepted the offer. About halfway through the first episode, and my first of two bowls of lamb stew, I was hooked on both the show and his cooking.
Fast forward to now, when we've been eagerly anticipating Season 7 for months. Marcus is a huge fan of the books, and he's thrown a Game of Thrones premiere party each year since the series debuted. He spends days planning, shopping and cooking recipes from the official Game of Thrones cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire.
This is third year I've helped host. For the penultimate season, we went all out with a menu that represents the Seven Kingdoms, from Dorne to The Wall. This year's dishes include fiery snake, roasted chicken and duck with lemon honey chili glaze. Did I mention he made crusty bread from scratch?
We spent nearly $400 on food and decorations and spent this entire past weekend prepping. Sure, it sounds crazy, but this is our Nerd Super Bowl. Marcus has spent hours tracking down snake and grasshoppers. We spent $25 on freeze-dried locusts. Locusts!
Here's a sampling of what a $400 Game of Thrones dinner looks like.
To announce the menu to our guests, we hired a calligrapher (for $10) who could convey the sentiment of the old world AND let you declare your allegiances from the start.
A Cream Swan, just like Mom used to make, to celebrate the latest beheading.
A bargain at just $60 for 12 pounds, our duck would have satisfied even the surliest White Walker.
Our $25 worth of freeze-dried locusts, swimming in seasoning. It's an appetizer fit for the Hound, or really anyone tired from a day of pillaging.
The main course was rattle snake. And hold the door... a pound-and-a-half costs $90. Worth it.
When you go to recreate this, here's everything you'll need and the cost breakdown:
Assorted candles $30
Parchment for menu $20
Hand-drawn calligraphy: $10
12 lbs duck $60
1.5 lbs rattlesnake $90
Sliced almonds: $8
Fresh basil: $3
5 lbs turnips $4
Loose garlic $1
2lbs onions $1
6.5 lbs chicken $12
Brussels sprouts $9
Freeze-dried locusts $25
Ice cream $6