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by Annet Nijmeijer

If you happen to think that every party of adventurers has its own cooking hobbit, you're terribly mistaken. Hobbits despise adventures, and rather stay at home warm and cosy with their own well-filled pantries. So, as a group of adventurers, you're often stuck with the cooking skills you have between your members. Next to the meat cravings of the friendly half-orc you picked up three villages back, and the non-fauna-hurting cravings of your elven ranger, you're quite stuck, I'd say. Luckily one of the Dwarfs has some dwarven bread in his coat… but unfortunately everyone reading Terry Pratchett knows that you'd rather eat the soles of your boots than dwarven bread. Anything tastes better than that!

So my current group of adventurers is sitting at their own warm fireplace, planning their next adventure. Our plan is to go to Drachenfest, one of Europe's greatest events. Tens of thousands of larpers flock to the hills of Germany and set up camp for five days, united under the colours of the dragons: silver, green, red, black and whatnot. Trying to form alliances with the other camps, and of course failing in the process, which after a day or four of diplomacy irrevocably will end in one mass battle (of over ten thousand fighters, yes).

Luckily, we're a tight band of adventurers, all good friends of one another. And the hobbit hole we are meeting in is large enough for our small band of twenty-five. And though I am more worried about how we are going to survive that mass battle where we'll be fairly outnumbered, the food is important. How are we going to feed twenty-five larpers for five days? Larpers, as a rule, eat a lot. Being outdoors all day, running up and down hillsides, through forests and crossing streams makes your stomach rumble a lot. Just feeding two larpers can clear out half a hobbit's pantry (which is saying a lot, if you ask me), never mind twenty-five. Thank goodness we've got until August to think over this problem. So no need to hurry, or wonder how many people will be slaughtered just to feed the orc mercenaries.

At other larps, you have to provide your own food. Especially the larger ones. But the small larps are the best, as food isn't often a problem. The organization will provide you with three meals a day. Mostly this consists of a free brunch from nine till eleven: some loaves of bread and chunks of cheese lying around in the inn and you can take care of yourself. If you’re smart, you’ll hold some leftovers in your bag for lunch. Around tea time you'll be lucky to beg some chocolate or cookies off a smart larper who remembered to bring some munchies, and around six and seven, you're ready to just massacre the elf camp in search of some tender she-elf meat. But around eight (which is late for my doing), dinner is served! Ah, and what a dinner it is. No sides of meat above the yet: a banquet provided by Rembrand and Suus! All hail Rembrand and Suus! All hail 'De Zwijgende Bask'!

If a LARP features a De Zwijgende Bask meal, you're sure to be better fed than a hobbit! Legs of chicken, slices of ham, spare ribs as many as you can eat. Fish too! Cauliflower and peas and carrots, three types of potato-dishes, three kinds of salad, some lettuces and fruits, and at the end of the banquet, when your plate is long-filled with enough food to feed a garrison, you’ll find bread, and several kinds of cheese! A smart larper brings a very very big plate to these LARPs. But do not be afraid, there is food a-plenty! You can get as much as you want, you can return three, four times if you want. And the leftovers? They're the Sunday brunch! So you can enjoy cold chicken the day after. With Rembrand and Suus around you don't have to be afraid of how to cook for a group of twenty-five. No worries of the orcs slaughtering half your camp for their barbecues. No sad frowns at your now sole-less boots.

All I need to figure out is how to get De Zwijgende Bask to come along to Drachenfest with us.

Annet Nijmeijer is a student in Holland who spends more time on Larp than on studying. She designs Larp costumes for her friends and herself. She has attended ten Lives so far, and doesn't intend to stop any time soon.

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