#4 - Food
Mood: Sad / hungry
Location: at my desk,
Hi my name's Luteia, Devil of the Twice-Lit World and King of the Damned, and you should fear me and my palate of "taste this once and then tell you to add this this and this and suddenly your spaghetti sauce is perfect".
I can't become a wine-taster because I can taste tannins exceptionally well, which means no charred steaks for me ( :(((( ), and it's overpoweringly bitter, but let me taste your sauce or your dish and I'll tell you what it needs to be perfect, and it'll take you ten minutes to fix it, and you'll have no idea how I did it.
Let's start off something simple. Take a portobello mushroom. Cook and mash some garlic potatoes, and then shred some cooked salmon and some prawns. Mix up your potatoes and salmon/prawns and add them to the bottom of the mushroom. Then, grill some fiddleheads with garlic, rosemary, and truffle oil. Put your fiddleheads on top of the potato/fish mixture. Add some shredded marble cheese and deep-fried onion. Then, mix a mustard sauce with a little bit of horseradish, aioli, and liquid goat cheese. Drizzle it lavishly on top, stick it on the barbecue, and grill that mushroom until the outside is a little crunch.
Huzzah. You have now made the closest equivalent I have to a very popular Twice-Lit appetizer.
I don't eat very much - we can thank the teenage trauma for that - and when I can eat like there's no tomorrow, it's because I'm on a boat. We all carry scars. But I have a very good palate, and I can taste lots of things, which means figuring out what I ate before is really just working backwards and knowing how it was put together.
Sometimes you give up and have a peanut butter and bacon sandwich on toast. (That was a Leviantan thing, I didn't get to sit down for good meals as Pale Noel as much as I wanted to. Ironic I spent most of my afterlife watching over a cafe.) Sometimes you try to reverse engineer dishes your subordinates made from the world you created, and it works most of the way.
The shrimp and salmon I added to the Mushroom Yorkie thingy isn't quite right. I haven't tried enough different kinds of fish to get the closest equivalent. It's a red fish, that much I know. It doesn't taste anything like cod or halibut, two types of white fish I'm very familiar with. It's certainly not oyster.
Garlic is a common thing for most of my noemata, and that's because my brain understands that when I don't have anything like what I remember, substitute garlic, and it almost always works. Goni dislikes garlic, which makes this a lot funnier, but he mostly ate fish and salad so he doesn't get an opinion.
Took me a while to recognize that the recipe had mustard sauce, but it does. Or something very similar to that.
Some things from the Twice-Lit World absolutely would be taboo by today's standards. For one, you can't get angel meat but if you could, you probably weren't allowed to eat it. You had to be careful eating it back then, too, because it was potent and just a little but poisonous. A lot like being spicy, but it was sweeter, and made your lips tingle a little. Overeating angel meat would absolutely kill you, but it always made you feel good. Were we more advanced, I'm sure we would've been making heroin from their flesh instead of from poppies (which we didn't have either).
As far as customs or rituals go, this is where my noemata fail me, because as the queen, what I did for meals and what everyone else did are two totally, vastly different things. We didn't sit down for formal meals, because to be honest, I didn't care enough about my court for that. I ate when I felt like it, and I went down to the kitchens looking for food when again, I felt like it. If everyone else sat down for meals, I didn't care enough about them to notice it. It was quite literally beneath me to notice, I had Devil things to do and eating was a pleasantry that I didn't actually have to deal with if I didn't want to.
So I don't know. I know what foods we had, because I know what I ate. There's a type of milk we got from a specific kind of flower that was light blue in colour, bubbled a lot, tasted amazing chilled (I want to say close to goat milk, but I've never had goat milk so I can't say), and was a little bit thick considering how airy it was. About the consistency of gravy, I want to say, but bubbled and frothed like milk does. It tasted kind of like the way honeysuckle and violets smell, but I've never eaten those, so I can't say much more than that.
I know a lot about food from the Twice-Lit World, and where it came from, and how we got food from the 'natural' world. But anything like customs and rituals and how everything around the food worked? No idea, alas.