Cooking IC - top tips?

Never been to empire before, and will be IC camping as part of house Aurelius in the Dawnish area!

What tips do you have for storing, cooking and then cleaning up afterwards that work reasonably well in character?

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Freezing stuff and heating it is fine! It’s how I do most of my cooking as I’m out of the house for 12hrs when I’m working, cooking is the last thing on my mind when I return home! I tend to batch cook chilli/spag bol etc and just heat it through. Imo it doesn’t really affect flavour etc.
No real IC cooking tips as it’s not something I have yet done myself.

Im wondering about cooking over open fires etc as well as much as recipies

I’ve cooked over charcoal open fires before, and a lot of one pot stuff is totally possible.

We were using a charcoal fire with a grill over the top. Hard to control temperature though.

The main thing you can do to control temperature, if you’re making a fire for cooking on specifically, is to build your fire in half your firebox. Then you can have a hot area and a cool area, which gives you a lot more option to switch stuff around.

Keeping stuff cold isn’t too hard - even frozen. If you really want to keep stuff frozen for a weekend in a field, the basic trick is two cool boxes, one filled entirely with ice, the other filled with your food and some ice. Every time the ice in the second box has melted (pack it around the outside and top), replace it with new ice from the other box. In general, keep things shut as much as possible, and adding a blanket or two (and particularly foil blankets, very helpful) will do a really good job.

Food-choice wise, I’d generally favour stuff that isn’t too hard to keep or cook. Meat in particular I’d skip most of the time, although pre-cooked and frozen you can do a lot better. But if you’re trying to work with raw meat, remember you then need to properly clean all your utensils and chopping boards and so on. This can be one good use of meat substitutes like Quorn, if you want to have most of the effect of meat with much less of the faff.

Stuff you’ve prepared in advance is a real lifesaver. Unless you’re going to play a cook for the weekend (which is a perfectly valid choice), you probably want to not have to spend hours preparing side dishes and so on for each meal. That’s the sort of case where it can be really helpful to have e.g. pre-made a couple of veg sides that will work well cold, along with bringing some cheese and bread and cake and stuff, and then just heat through a stewed dish of some type. The hot centrepiece, plus a bunch of other stuff being laid out, makes the meal feel pretty fancy and well-catered.

The final thing I’d bear in mind is that focus on immersiveness of actions more than of props. Especially with cooking, it’s an absolute fortune to buy fully 100% IC cooking equipment. Pick things which aren’t jarringly OC - e.g. bright blue, and just trust with the quality of your roleplay to make it work. So don’t worry about whether your spoons look a bit OC - as long as they’re plain wood/metal, basically no-one will notice or care unless you deliberately draw attention to it.

Kelly Kettles are really good for heating water quickly and help get your fire going too - much faster than simply putting a cold pot over the flame.

PD do provide wood but it tends to be large pieces and they’re out in the weather. You will want to bring some fuel along that you know is dry for cooking and a supply of kindling. Most people prefer cooking on charcoal to wood - less smoke and flame, more predictable heat.

top tip - make your midday meal your main meal.
you get to cook, eat and clean up in daylight.
have a fire bucket full of water in your camp. good for cooling scorched fingers as well.

Bear in mind that it all takes longer.

Wood fires take a while to get to cooking temperature and are not that efficient.

You’re looking at an hour minimum for cooking form scratch even for simple things, longer if you’re mass catering for a group (any more than 4).

Bringing stuff frozen and reheating though is great, and makes things easier for storage too as it’s all in one.

Nibbly things like cheese, fruit, salami and so on are also good because you can just about guarantee the plot is not going to run to your schedule!

Thanks everyone - good advice!

Having never been to this site, can anyone tell me how close to the IC camping area things like toilets, safe drinking water etc is?

Is it a campsite, or just a field?

How do you other IC campers manage with transportation and storage of water?


This should give you an idea of where everything is … 5#Site_Map

Safe drinking water you get from stand pipes which are mostly along the centre line of the site (the line between The League and The Marches). Normally in our camp we get a bunch of the really big water bottles and stash them in our larder, then we carry them to the pipes and refill them in the morning before time in. But if we need to we refill them in time in as well, no one is going to give you hassle for that specially if it’s hot and people need hydration.

Would a rocket stove be okay as a vaguely IC cooking method? They are really efficient, & not too difficult to make at home.

Can’t see why not, depending on the materials used and the overall look of the thing.

Considering it’s a fantasy world with things like Urizen glow stones, the Heliopticon and the like I don’t think a more efficient wood burning stove is out of line to use in Anvil :slight_smile:.


Urizen has a whole load of mirrors/magical lighthouses sending morse code messages all over the place. Basically the clacks from discworld. (light based telegrams)

I’ve used one at some Empire events: the simplest model from the StoveTec brand, which seems to have closed down but the EcoZoom ones are broadly similar (but a bit fancier with their metal inner linings). Mine is just ceramic in a painted metal wrapper about the size of a typical bucket, with a cast iron pot-support at the top.

Gets going fast (given decent materials for burning) and works well, though it can be fiddly and needs very frequent attention.

Another thing I’ve seen done: taking one of those cheap flat gas-powered camping-stoves (the sort for car-camping rather than backpacking) and putting it in one of those reenactment-style metal box/tray things on legs, the kind meant to hold a fire of wood or charcoal.

So it looks right from the side, but doesn’t make the smoke to sting eyes and throat, and has the convenience of gas.

(Some people also use those stoves without dressing them up; they just keep them out of wide visibility.)

Great replies and a lot of good advice

Thanks everyone!