Delicacies, Part 3
look at foodstuffs before we glance around at some recent news and local
intrigues and then take our leave of Delzimmer. Indulge me, an old man
who likes his tarryings at tables -- but indulge yourselves far more,
readers! What I write of is, as they say, "fair on the tongue."
and Mlael: I made mention in an earlier discourse of the local hot
brown sauces. Specifically, these are of two sorts: sacra and mlael. Sakra
is a fiery, brown gravy made with beast blood and boiled-down organs that
are mixed with mushrooms and quace root to color and thicken it. Mlael
is a boiled mixture of herbs, spices, and edible roots that holds no remnant
of any creature. Both tend to be lumpy, thick brown liquids that taste
filling and even sensational (depending on the cook and available ingredients).
Sakra tends to be hotter, less gluelike, and more variable in taste, and
is the more often slaked (laced with strong drink, sometimes covertly
but more often as a selling point or deed of pride). Mlael is a subtler
blend of herbs and spices and can be simmered for days, during which it
is augmented by additional ingredients as they become available.
of a good mlael is almost always chopped surt and diced chasstil. Surt
is a bulbous root that ye might consider a strong-flavored, oversized
cousin of what's often called Jerusalem artichoke. Chasstil is a durable,
coil-shaped, green, spear-bodied plant fairly close in flavor to thy asparagus.
time, most Delzmaer households have mlael on the simmer or about to be
made for ladling over almost every meal. Sakra appears on platters handed
to guests or at the main evening meal. Visitors are warned that Delzmaer
who sip much wine whilst they eat skewers of fried meats under the stars
on summer evenings are taking in as much drink in the sakra gravy as in
Delzmaer dishes even use both mlael and sakra, usually with mlael covering
everything first and then a thin overwash of sakra over a central dish.
One of the things that makes sakra hot is this crimson-skinned, white-fleshed
root akin to your horseradish. 'Tis a brave person who can eat it raw
or even in large chunks after boiling. Most folk taste it only in sakr,
or as a few grated flakes added to the water that will boil vegetables
in a Delzmaeran solaut (many-legged hearth cauldron). Carved stars of
braskh are sometimes floated in drinkables served at Delzmaer feasts or
by healers. Those who chew such stars invariably burst into tears, sweat
profusely, and run out at the nose and mouth, as the violent heat of the
root purges them. (If chewed and swallowed, it warms the body. If swallowed
whole, it has a strong laxative effect.)
roots grow wild in areas of thorny bushes and rocks and are usually gathered
by Delzmaer youths digging with hand tocks (short-handled mattocks), who
sell them in the city at a copper per goodly root (or two small ones).
having fed, 'tis high time to listen to local gossip, before we move on.
'Tis how I acquired most of my vaunted wisdom, look ye!
the previous Elminster Speaks
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