Writing flavour text for games must be a strange job. On some days you're shaping the world around you, expanding and enriching the story with a tantalising trail of literary breadcrumbs (the Dishonored series would lose a lot of its depth and charm without the letters scattered about the place, for one). On others, however, you're less an epistolary world builder and more an archivist-cum-forger, creating mundane artefacts from a culture that doesn't really exist.
I imagine it's a tricky balancing act - on one hand, these articles need to be interesting and authentic enough to be worth the player's time and attention. On the other - well, do I really need to make sure this fake recipe for stew is edible? Nobody's going to bother to make it, after all.
Au contraire, flavour text writer from 2014's reboot of Thief. Au contraire.
In Thief you can find a recipe for Sloop, a cheap broth sold to 'the common man' by an anguished chef from Auldale. The penitent cook starts this recipe with an appeal to his parents for understanding, which never inspires the greatest confidence. Vile though the recipe sounds, I decided to give it a go in this week's episode of Chiodini's Kitchen. You can see how I got on in the video below, and find the recipe as printed in Thief below that.
Father, mother, forgive my crime. This 'broth', I refuse to use the street term 'sloop', would not pass for runoff in Auldale. But I must make coin to rub together, and the common man must eat.
Broth base: four parts water, one part animal blood, one part cooking grease.
Boil the base. Add sweated greymeat.
Separately, boil vegetables until the rot rises to the surface.
Skim the froth, add vegetables to base. Add alcohol or pickling brine to taste.
Serve piping hot.