Issue Three | Spring 1994
(or, ‘Do try this!’)
Tsolyáni take their meals seated cross-legged on mats or cushions around a low table. Dinner (served just after sunset) is the most important meal of the day. Serving dishes are set in the middle of the table. Spoons are used for soups and stews, but other dishes are handled with the fingers. (Only the right hand is used, the left being regarded as "unclean".) Bread made from red dna-grain accompanies the meal. To drink there may be water, chumetl (salted buttermilk), hot tea or sherbets. Wine and brandy are not usually served until after the meal.
In formal banquet-halls, the floor is divided into several levels, or daises. The higher your status, the higher the dais on which you sit. In a typical clanhouse there might be three or four daises to accomodate the different lineages. Noble palaces observe finer gradations of rank, and may have a dozen or more daises.
You can call a lower-status person up to your dais, but he remains standing while he speaks to you. If you descend to his dais you can sit down, but it is not proper to eat or drink.
If no daises are available and it is necessary for people of different status to eat together, some means of displaying their rank must be found. A higher status person may thus be given a cloak or bedmat to sit on. In the INTERNECINE! scenario, for instance, the castaways would tend naturally to divide into groups at meal-times utilizing the slope of the beach, descending from Lady Chamakiyang down to the youngest sailors, who would sit closest to the water’s edge.
Menu For a Banquet Held at the Jakállan House of the Most Noble and Ancient Clan of Sea Blue
very fine slivers of roast Sahelun served on a crisp wafer made from Salarvyani sea-fungus
(the height of luxury; the Sahelun is the renownedly succulent "fern-wing" of Salarvya, a little like quail meat)
slender sticks of jakkohl meat, basted and cooked over aromatic wood, served with a selection of nut pastes
(the jakkohl is a forest predator; its meat tastes somewhat like guinea fowl)
katru soup with a very hot hling-seed flavouring
(the katru is a "crustacean", tasting rather like soft shelled crab; the flavouring can be simulated with chilli and lemongrass)
kaika wings stuffed with spiced hma-mince and cooked in donudu milk, served on a bed of rice
(the kaika is a plump "bird" from the Pachi Lei homeworld which tastes similar to duck; the spices used can be simulated with cloves, coriander and ginger; the donudu is a coconut-like vegetable with a sour creamy sap)
roast tsi’il with saffron rice-cakes, sour salad, Khirgar-style vatra leaves, and bolu fruits with a dlel-flavoured stuffing
(tsi’il is the standard roast meat, not dissimilar to beef; the sour salad has an overall effect akin to cucumber, white cabbage, beanshoots, water chestnuts and yoghurt; the vatra consists of tasty green leaves steamed with something like shallots and garlic; the bolu resemble green tomatoes; dlel are similar to plums)
tsi’il brains, curried and served on maugha-dusted dna pancakes with dips made of urtse berries and mash fruits
(maugha, or omogga, is cinnamon; urtse are sweet black berries; mash tastes a little like mango)
various steamed fish dishes with a selection of sweet and sour pickles
aqpu beetles baked in honey and served with slices of melon
a lightly mash-flavoured soup rounds off the meal, followed by a selection of crystallized fruits
nut-butter sweetmeats rolled in cocoa-like powder are served with the wine, brandy and narcotics