Home Delicious in Dungeon Episode 1 - We're Eating What Now?

Delicious in Dungeon Episode 1 - We're Eating What Now?

Have you given any thought to how what you’re eating came to be? Not in a “how was this prepared” kind of way. But in a “how did we even come up with this?” way. Somewhere in our history, food changed from something to be revered to just another commodity. The proliferation of ready-made meals, fast food chains, and pre-packaged and pre-prepared food has caused most of us to lose the connection we once had with food. Unless one finds themselves in financial hardships or in an emergency situation. We don’t have to “make due” with whatever food we can source. But in the Delicious in Dungeon, we get a unique twist to this most modern of dilemmas.

As the show begins, we are given a brief explanation of why dungeon exploration is a thing and how it came to be. We’re then shown an adventurer’s party fairing badly in a fight against a dragon. During this melee, the party’s front-liner (Liaos Touden) falls into an introspective monologue on how their usually on-point reactions have been slowed down due to hunger.

In fact, he is so distracted by this that he becomes oblivious to the fight around him and only jolts back into reality when his sister pushes him away from the dragon’s oncoming attack. Unfortunately for them, this momentary lapse in awareness results in his sister being eaten by the ravaging beast. In her last conscious moments, she teleports the rest of her party out of the dungeon and to safety.

Outside, the party wakes up and realizes that their friend is most likely dead by now. Luckily, it seems that they should be able to recover her corpse, or at the very least her remains. She can be brought back to life. But that poses a problem. Their sudden teleportation left them without supplies; they were low on cash, and two members left the party after their near-death experience. Should they wish to undertake a rescue mission, they need to resupply. Laios contemplates selling what little gear they still have and asking his two remaining party members to leave him so he can attempt the rescue solo. But his teammates Marcille and Chilchuck refuse to abandon him.

So, what do they do now? Any practicality that a solo mission offers is now gone as they are once more faced with the reality that they lack supplies. Most importantly, they lack food. To remedy the situation, Laios suggests a practical but somewhat repulsive idea. They’ll gather all the food they need by hunting and foraging in the dungeon. While there’s some level of apprehension by his party, the elven mage Marcille is the loudest objector. Yet, they press on.

Huge Scoprion & Monster Mushroom Hot Pot; A Delicacy?

As if by fate, soon after they enter the dungeon, they encounter and dispatch a mushroom monster. Laios mentions this will be their first meal, causing Marcille to throw a tantrum and Chilchuck to question the sapience of having an unknown mushroom as their first meal. Comedic relief from this scene aside. Under no circumstances, not even in an emergency, should you ever consume any mushroom unless you are entirely confident in knowing its identification. Eating the wrong mushroom would, at best, make you wish you were dead. And, at worst, it would let your relatives cash your life insurance.

But they confirm that it’s safe to eat and press on. Give a moment to appreciate how often this dilemma happened in the distant past. When we were still learning about what was and wasn’t edible, that trial and error placed many people in an early grave. We eat a lot of things that lacking proper preparation, are deadly. So, know that at some point, one person ate something in a certain way in front of someone else and then left their mortal coil because of it. And then the other person spent their entire life warning about the dangers of that food/preparation method.

Yet, despite their freshly acquired sustenance, Laios is still somewhat unhappy with their fare. Haios decides to catch a monster scorpion so that they can have some meat in their upcoming hotpot. While this may seem utterly disgusting, scorpions are, in fact, a delicacy in many parts of the world. If you can get over the texture, you’ll be greeted by a tidal wave of unease. Most scorpions possess a slightly fishy taste. Imagine eating shrimp in peanut sauce or having a brown ale with fish tacos. It’s good eating; it’s excellent eating. It’s a culinary adventure. But, even though they have an assurance that what they’re eating is safe, they fail at their first attempt at monster cuisine. Luckily for them, the dwarf, Senshi, shows up to remedy the situation.

How do you know you failed at cooking? A foodie is going to tell you. Seriously, you could be in the middle of the Sahara desert. And if you say that fish goes well with cheese, a foodie will show up and give you a sermon on why your pairing is an abomination. So, Delicious in Dungeon nailed this dude just popping up out of nowhere to tell these culinary peasants that their brains have as many creases as watermelon is not only funny, but it’s true.

To further add to their luck, not only is he knowledgeable about monster cuisine. He’s also an expert at dispatching monsters. Displaying this ability when he effortlessly saves Marcille after she is attacked by a slime. He’s so unfazed by this assault that upon ending the slime. He launches into a sermon on how slimes are a delicacy. He does this while still preparing a proper scorpion and mushroom hot pot.

His knowledge further shines as he foraged for plants to add more flavor to the hotpot. While this impresses most of the Delicious in Dungeon party, Marcille raises the objection that they’re currently in a cemetery. So, she does not want to eat anything with roots. In case anyone didn’t understand why, she’s referring to bioaccumulation. This refers to how pollutants and nutrients enter a food chain and become more pronounced the higher up in the chain they go. So, in this case, any grown plants in a cemetery would have gained nutrients from rotting bodies.

He mentions that the plants he’s collecting aren’t the ones Marcille is objecting to. His hot pot proves to be a success when everyone in the Delicious in Dunegeon, including Marcille raves about its taste. As the group gets to know each other more. Senshi decides to accompany them as it might allow him to eat a red dragon. From there, the group proceeds to another level of the dungeon. Where again, they’ll need to get their meal from the surrounding monsters.

Man-eating Plant Tart; sweet and savory

In this case, their meals will be fruits collected from man-eating plants. A nice little tidbit on botany, “carnivorous” plants evolved to supplement their nutrients that way because they often grow in nutrient-poor soils. How those plants catch animals in the show is correct (though scaled up). The topic of bioaccumulation in food is once again touched on, and they nail a part of it that’s not usually covered.

Aside from the detrimental effects of bioaccumulation, there is another aspect to it. And that is taste. What an animal eats, the habitat that plants grow in, and the quality of their environment affect their taste. For example, the richness of an Iberico de Bellota Pata Negra ham is not only due to the fine craftsmanship displayed during the long curing period. But also due to the pigs being fed an acorn diet.

The monumental difference between regular beef and Kobe beef comes from how the cows are raised and what they eat. Sadly, the show glosses over this as if it were common knowledge. A little more explanation from Delicious in Dungeon on this would have been great. But the basics are there, as we are told that the gelatin from plants that have eaten humans makes a better tart than slime. We’re also told that carnivorous plants that rely on trapped animals to use as compost taste sweeter than those that actively digest flesh. On the other hand. Plants that actively digest meat make for a more compact and rich flavor.

There is a lot of merit to this, and not just in plants. An easier-to-explain example can be found in seafood. A parrot fish, which is herbivorous, has a very mild and sweet taste. It’s very delicate and reminiscent of shellfish. Big-eye tuna, on the other hand, have robust flavors due to their predatory diet. Now, this isn’t scripture. Some predatory fish, like swordfish, have a light and sweet flavor. Likewise, grass carp have a primarily herbivorous diet. Possess almost no fishy taste when in clean water but will quickly pick up pungent flavors if they become more omnivorous or frequent muddy water.

From there, the first episode of Delicious in Dungeon dies down, with the group enjoying a meal consisting of the fruits of the carnivorous plants they encountered. There is seemingly little urgency to rescue their fallen comrade. That may be because they know they can revive her. But, losing yourself to a good meal is excusable, no matter the situation.

Screenshots via Netflix
© Ryoko Kui, KADOKAWA/Delicious in Dungeon PARTNERS

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