Last Wednesday, I had the awesome opportunity of interviewing Wayne Thomas Batson about life, writing, and his latest release, Dreamtreaders, but today we’re back with the next installment of the ABC’s of Nälu.
The Cuisine of Nälu
What is a visit to a new land without exploring some of the cuisine? I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food and discovering new favorites. If you’ve been by my Facebook page, you probably have guessed that. Ha! Well, here in Nälu we have quite a variety. Today we’ll just look at a few favorites.
Among the dwarven clans, there is an age old argument of which clan makes the best Tazid Zavoc, a layered honey pastry, but just as popular are the many versions of the dahka-gasr. A meat, sometimes fruit, filled roll. In Indestructible, Elothryn and his son visit a priest in Kvazkhun, and purchase these yummy goodies in the market square. The Kloven clan make a goat cheese that rivals the desert elves and the best dried beef this side of the Zriab Desert, called drad-dahka.
It’s no secrets that the most common food you’ll find in western Nälu, is stew. It’s cheap, quick, and stretches well. Plus it’s the best for reconstituting dried vegetables. But I’ve heard many visitors groan, “Not more stew!” So, we’ll move quickly on. Soured Cabbage is a favorite served over roasted potatoes, and if you’ve a bit of extra money to spend, a pat of butter meld the flavors to perfection. In Badara, roasted duck is served for many of the higher paying customers, but the people’s favorite is gota, made mainly with beans and dried tomatoes. If you’re around during blood month, you might find chunks of beef or goat, and quite possibly meat of questionable origin, but, hey, if it’s cooked long enough, it doesn’t matter, right?
The Haruzo of Bonzapur eat lots of meat ranging from pork, mutton, and beef with lots of nuts, sugared figs, and flat bread, but at special celebrations they will serve roasted türuza much like a roasted pig but it’s a giant skink from the desert. Not very appetizing to look at, just ask Ayianna and Vian. Although, they much prefer their meat fresh, they do make good dried meat known as pur’zarn-po.
The cuisine of their mountain cousins differs quite a bit, although, they claim no relation to the feline shape-shifters in Bonzapur. They do serve pork, mutton, beef, but prefer the wild boar and mountain ibex native to Kha Vaaro Mountain Range. The smoked red fish is a favorite here and a must try if you visit. Occasionally they will hunt bear, especially if it’s for a kingly celebration. You won’t find many vegetables among their kind.
The only race we don’t get to visit much in this story, but perhaps we will at a different time. On the island of Moruya, fish is one of the main sources of protein. The most common and favorite meal among the giants consist of a cornmeal mash thick enough to pluck into balls and gather the sautéed veggies and relish before plopping it in your mouth for a rich, flavorful taste. Most relish is made with tomatoes and onions, but veggies can range from cabbage to collard greens. Their favorite spice is curry. Beef and chicken are reserved for nobles and high paying customers, but for guests, such as yourself, they will bring out their best for you.
The Sarheymor Elves of the desert love their food hot, hot, hot. Sometimes the spices overpower the rest of the food, but they will serve a milder meal for their guests. So there’s no need to fear if spice is not your thing, especially if you are human. They know better than to serve humans their favorite spicy meals.
In Zurial, you’ll find flavorful combinations similar to the desert elves without all the spice. Rice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, limes, avocadoes, and even cabbage, but you won’t find any soured cabbage among the elves. Being next to the sea, you are bound to find many fish dishes from soups to salads and just plain salted fish as well. Although, quite a different cuisine than you would find in Ganya among the merfolk.
No one has seen or heard from the Wofsehmor elves in such a long time, there really isn’t any telling what type of cuisine they serve, but if you manage an invitation to one of their feasts, please take note of their cuisine and let me know.
Ah, the merfolk of Ganya. Lots of fish, obviously. In Dragon Thief, Semine enjoys a breakfast of tea and rice-flour wrapped minced fish. Mainly a diet of rice and noodles, veggies and fish. Even raw fish, wrapped in seaweed. The merfolk do not eat beef, pork, or mutton, but you will see plenty of livestock among the highlands as they are a staple food for their dragons.
So which nation would you like to visit?
If you are just joining us and would like to check out the previous letters, here ya go!