In Nochet III

Mellia — In Nochet Iii

1627, Sea Season


Late in Sea Season, as Mellia prepares for her wedding. [[[s02:session-40|Session 40]]]


The house will be buying in food for the wedding, Mellia discovers, as well as hiring several top chefs for the main feast, and for food distribution as part of the celebrations.

Mellia thinks this is great; she sneaked into the kitchen as a child.

Mellia arrives on time for the wedding menu planning session, in white.

There are half a dozen people here including Verilltha, a distant cousin of Mellia’s, a generation older. She has the veil of Asrelia over her head, indicating that she follows the mother of Ernalda. Asrelia, treasure-house keeper…

“Good morning! I hope we can get things settled today. Mostly, I want at least half the offerings to be vegetarian.”

“Of course you must be able to eat,” Verilltha says, “But you do know we must show our wealth. Do you have any food you simply must have? Something Palmeltan, or a Pentan grain?” She is talking about places so far away that they are just words to most.

Mellia considers that. “Nothing that exotic. No gold leaf on the food, either.”

“It’s gold or platinum, dear,” Verilltha replies. “But only for the more intimate meals. The great feast will have foods that reflect on us less literally.” She is probably smiling behind the veil. Probably.

Mellia thinks. “I have missed our fruits most, Aunt Verilltha. Did you hear that the harvest in Sartar was poor?”

“I hear about many harvests, dear. But it is this year’s that interests me now. Is there to be a King’s Sacrifice, I wonder?” Whatever that means. “Fruit, did you say?”

Mellia replies, “Yes, Aunt. All the hot weather fruits. I would suggest berry tarts, but we’re already doing cake.”

“What has that to do with anything? We will be feasting hundreds of people over a day. The question is only which hour to bring out which berries.” Verilltha chuckles in amusement. “Making a feast where you can eat every sacred part, but meat is provided for others, is not too tricky, compared to knowing who will arrive to eat all of the blueberries.”

Mellia says, “Venlar likes….” and reels off a list of foods from Sartar and Esrolia. “Our foreign guests will be impressed by quantity. We just need to worry about impressing the neighbors.”

“Of course. Do you know if he’ll be sacrificing the cow himself, or will he have the Priestess do that?”

Mellia says, “He will probably ask the priestess to do it, Aunt.”

“Probably for the best. He is a dear young man but a little clumsy, and bad omens would be awkward. So hard to sooth away.”

Mellia nods. “So, how do we impress the neighbors while stuffing everyone silly? I do want lots of cake and white wine.”

“I know we will need to serve red wine with the cooked sacrifice.”

“It’s all about which spices are fashionable. This year, cinnamon is hard to get, and wanted by everyone. But for fire season, it has to be served with something cooling. The greater feast will have it on rubbings and as dipping sauces, but the smaller meals, where people arrange the next marriages, will have different arrangements, depending on who is there. That is only one spice, of course.”

Mellia comments, “Is mint fashionable this year? Fruit ices with mint might do.”

“No, although it is a popular fall-back, and of course if you like it, we can have mint. If there are any flavour combinations you like, let us know within a day or two. And no serving tortoises, no matter what anyone says. I despise those things as overly showy.” Verilltha says that while wearing a gown sewn with coins.

“No tortoises,” Mellia echoes. “I like a number of things, including chocolate. Can we get some chocolate?”

“Very Pameltan,” Verilltha says. “And exotics like that are always in fashion. It does come gold plated, of course.”

“Can we have that at the end of the grand feast ?”

“Probably not for everyone,” Verilltha admits. “But the morning breakfast will have the important guests.”

“Probably a better time, Aunt. Everyone is going to be drunk by the end of the evening,” Mellia says.

“That’s the time for the sweet wine and water, to ease them into sleep and peace.” She moves slowly and her gold-embroidered veil jingles. “Ostrich eggs. I had forgotten to suggest those.”

“Ostrich eggs are good. I thought of fish eggs, but they’re going out of season.” Mellia frowns a bit.

“It depends on the fish, and on the magic used. Those mostly count as a garnish. Of course you do not eat fishlings, so silver-coin stew will have to be something you distribute rather than eating. Your husband can have yours, traditionally.”

“Oh good,” Mellia says. “By all means, let’s have silver-coin stew. Hmm, what else? Would someone like to suggest something?”

“We have lists, plenty of them,” Verilltha says. “But your wishes help sculpt it. If you want something out of season, desperately, we can get it, but mostly the difficulties are political, and in transcribing recipes that call for garum or other offal sauces as a base. I am told various seaweeds have been fermenting for some time.”

Mellia says, “I trust you and the kitchen, Aunt Verilltha. I admit I have been more focused on after the wedding.”

“You will have to train a new husband, and get used to each other. Being married is not entirely like being lovers, no matter how well you know him.”

Mellia nods, recognizing sage advice. “Oh! How is saffron this year? And sage with fowl? Better not serve duck; at least one guest might object.”

“Duck is acceptable as long as it is to no durulz,” one of the other women pipes up. “And we have a variety of glazes.”

“Mark the dishes and we will decide later,” Verilltha replies. “Saffron, we can provide for ourselves, and it will be the main yellow sauce of the five element set. We have enough for that, but not for sprinkling. The crocus blooms were early, and some caught a storm.”

Mellia adds, “We may have a guest who can’t eat vegetables. Berra is a good friend, so we should have things she can eat.”

Verilltha looks at the other women, and all of them nod. “There will be dishes. We will have several Humakti bodyguards here, and Yelmalian Spearmen as well. Some cannot eat birds, and some can only eat meat from sky animals, so serving them dishes they can share is impossible. As long as we know what the restrictions are, we can do this.”

“I think those are the only restrictions, Aunt Verilltha.”

“Then I think we can manage this all. Nothing you have said is out of the question, and much is politically worthwhile. You will have to look eager to be married while drinking chocolate, which is something I think you can manage.”

Mellia grins and giggles.

Mellia discusses wedding food and eating geases