Fleet-wheat is a merchant's name given to a concoction of sun dried wheat straws, powdered stock and various dried pulses, herbs and seasonings. Upon preparation, the dried mixture is added to boiled water, creating a filing broth-like meal. As it is quick, cheap and easy to prepare, Fleet-Wheat has become a favourite amongst those who are light of pocket and culinary talent. It is generally considered to be a snack only on the principle of its fleeting preparation, however in content it is more than enough to be considered a meal of its own. If kept under dry conditions the mixture has the ability to last for months without perish, hence its popularity on any manner of long voyage wether it be on sea or land. In its basic principle the dried chowder idea has been enjoyed by many cultures under many names for many years, however It was first used under the name "Fleet-Wheat" by a concerned sailor's wife, worried about her husbands diet while he was out at sea.
Description. Uncooked the mixture is tan in colour giving off a subtle hay-like aroma. The wheat straws are dried into a crispy block and surrounded by a generous helping of powdered stock and chopped dried basiloc, pfepper and mixed herbs. When boiling water is added the herb mixture darkens and forms a soupy broth releasing the intense sharpness of the pfepper and sweetness of the basiloc, the straws imbibe this mixture giving them a rich gravy like taste. Fleet-Wheat mixture is sold by the cupful and is accompanied by a block of wheat straws. Most taverns have a supply behind the bar, in preparation for the hungry traveller or patron in need of a quick meal. Dotted around the markets and highways of the Santharian Kingdom are Fleet-Food stalls, they provide quick and simple meals to-go, the Fleet-Wheat product being the flagship of this enterprise.
Although Fleet-Wheat is considered a very simple snack, its recipe of wheat and
pulses is packed full of ingredients that can help maintain a healthy diet. As
was its conception as a good hearty meal for nutrient starved men at sea. It is
often offered as a meal at taverns, and does wonders after a hard days work
accompanied by a cold tankard of ale.
Origins. The Fleet-Wheat franchise originates from Carmalad, where it quickly became a staple food in the cloth traders diet. Rowena Fleet, the wife of a cloth trader and now the chairman of the Fleet-Food enterprise, originally prepared Fleet-Wheat as a nutritious treat to be rationed by her husband while he was at sea. Due to its popularity for its taste and practicality amongst Mr. Fleet and his ship-mates, Rowena opened up a stall on the docks serving her recipe under the name of "Fleet-Wheat" to both returning and sea-bound sailors who couldn't get enough of the stuff! Due to its economical success Fleet-Food stalls began to pop up all around Carmalad and soon the whole of the Santharian Kingdom. Although Fleet-Wheat still remains the most popular of all the Fleet-Foods, the franchise has and still is expanding its culinary repertoire of fast and cheap foods, customers can now refuel themselves with a Travellers Stew or pick up some light snacks for the road such as prezzers, doch nuts and timbers.
The Fleet's stalls are located even deep into the wastes of Santharia providing travellers with a place to relax and enjoy some banter. Fleet-Wheat is generally packaged in a handy wax lined paper cone folded at the top for freshness. With every purchase at a Fleet-Food stall a customer will receive a parchment token, if ten tokens are collected the customer will receive a handy leather compartmented pouch decorated with the Fleet-Food Logo in which both the stock mixture and wheat straws can be handily stored. A traveller with a Fleet-Food pouch can be noted to be a very seasoned adventurer indeed.
The Fleet-Food chains success can partly be blamed on their innovative business ethics, such as their employment of local farmers and countrymen to man these stalls, not only creating cheap suppliers for the Fleet-Wheat ingredients, but taking advantage of the local workforce with no need to pay for townsman's travel and product's transport expenses.
Recently, following Fleet-Foods success, rival companies have sprung up providing similar products and services, one particular hobbit run company "Butterball King" is rumoured to be draining business from Fleet-Foods offering homely Hobbit cuisine such as mouth watering All-Year Pie and Butterball delights, for a fraction of the price. Mrs Fleet does not consider competition a threat as she states in an interview with a journalist from the Carmalad Financial Courier "The clues in the name, with halflings you get half the service and half the portion!"
Fleet-Wheat as a product has had competition ever since its invention, and nowadays many market stalls sell bulk buy wheat stalk broth of varying quality. Fleet-Wheat has however become the generic term used to describe this particular style of quick food, and with the household name comes a customer trust that is not threatened by any rival product.
Fleet-Wheat's popularity is very much in the working classes, as for 4 san for a scoop and a wheat block you could eat pretty comfortably for a day. It is actually its association with the lower classes and sailors that puts off those customers from a more privileged background.
Method of Production. The wheat for the straws is locally sourced around each individual stall and is ground into flour by mill. The flour is simply mixed with egg and a pinch of salt. The dough is then rolled into thin strands, compacted into a block and then left for a week to sun dry. Herbs are chopped and placed in a vegetable stock that is left to evaporate, and the powdery residue that is left behind is what makes up the wheat seasoning.
To prepare Fleet-Wheat, you require a pot of water and a cup of the stock mixture and the block of wheat straws. First of all you light a fire and place a half water filled pot on top, wait till water is boiled and add the stock powder and herbs and let to reduce, place the wheat in the bubbling broth, allow to simmer and when the wheat has absorbed most of the rich stock, you serve and enjoy!
Importance. Fleet-Wheat is a vital food for all manner of travels. It provides a cheap and easy meal for those who have little time or money to be concerned about decent food, and without the safe haven of Fleet-food stalls, journeys on the Santharian open road would become more tiresome, dangerous and much more tasteless.