So a Mind Flayer eats brains as a diet. But can they cook brains into other foods? The book says they need the brains to survive but from what I read the brains don't need to be alive. Does that mean it's possible for them to cook the brains into other foods and eat that and still get the nutrients from the brain? I know it sounds ridiculous but I'm just curious.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What problem are you trying to solve? Mind Flayer famine? Has UNICEF dropped the ball on this one? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's for a character I'm making for my campaign. I just wanted an opinion on the idea of mind flayers eating human foods. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maddie
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ This reminds me of the TV show iZombie. The main character is a zombie who needs to eat human brains to stay sane, and she can absolutely get the same benefit no matter how they're prepared. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


Probably not.

MM 221 states,

Illithids subsist on the brains of humanoids. The brains provide enzymes, hormones, and psychic energy necessary for their survival....An illithid experiences euphoria as it devours the brain of a humanoid, along with its memories, personality, and innermost fears. Mind flayers will sometimes harvest a brain rather than devour it, using it as part of some alien experiment or transforming it into an intellect devourer.

This passage suggests that if a brain is not eaten "fresh" from a skull, then it's used for some other non-food purpose. It does not mention saving the brain to be eaten later, cooked or otherwise. Additionally, one could argue that cooking a brain maybe would remove any "psychic energy" it had.

Of course, the DM has full latitude to determine the gastronomy of an illithid--if you're not the DM, you should ask your DM how mind flayers work in their world.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Brain Jerky is popular at Illithid convenience stores. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 20:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe fried brains don't have psychic energy, but are incredibly delicious, and so eaten as junk food? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 22:47

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