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Read "Exotic Food" by Dialecticdreamer
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has written a thoughtful essay about exotic food in speculative fiction.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: August 21st, 2014 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)
A few things spring to mind. First, a food item in Frank Beddor's "The Looking Glass Wars" series: when Queen Redd takes over the queendom, and turns it into a distopia, there's a kind of magical rice she sells to the poorest people. Eat just one grain of it, and it will expand to fill the stomach, giving the sensation of feeling full without much in the way of actual nutritional value.

Secondly, a scene from my Traipah stories. A group of humans and Ah'Koi Bahnis are eating a meal with some Duenicallo. The AKB are eating vegan meals, of course, since they're herbivores. One of the humans, Alex Davison, is eating some kind of meat he can't identify. He likes it, asks what it is, and one of the Duenicallo tells him "It's the best part, the uterus!" And he spits it out, sparking a debate about human food pickiness. Like the one Duenicallo says, "What? You liked it before I told you what it was!"

For the Lyria stories, I have thus far gone with the kinds of things people would have eaten in the middle ages. Wine and preserved fish for breakfast, lunch being the major meal of the day, and so on.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 21st, 2014 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> He likes it, asks what it is, and one of the Duenicallo tells him "It's the best part, the uterus!" And he spits it out, sparking a debate about human food pickiness. Like the one Duenicallo says, "What? You liked it before I told you what it was!" <<

*LAUGH*

>> For the Lyria stories, I have thus far gone with the kinds of things people would have eaten in the middle ages. Wine and preserved fish for breakfast, lunch being the major meal of the day, and so on. <<

I did something similar with Victorian meals for the Steamsmith series, researching what a likely pattern would be.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: August 21st, 2014 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

As for exotic foods, the Ah'Koi Bahnis may be herbivores, but they are also hunters. They hunt things called planimals - basically motile plants that eat other plants or eat animals for nutrients (most of them photosynthesize their own sugar).

Planimals are as prolific on Traipah as plants and animals are here on Earth. One kind of planimal, the korm'rand, has teeth and bones made out of wood, and there's a whole bunch of other species just like that.

Other planimals are stationary, such as the nihtiiohni, a dangerous planimal also known as a Pit Plant. Buries itself in the dirt and drags victims (including people) into a digestive pit with tentacle-like vines.

But other stationary planimals only eat insects or small animals. And many produce motile seeds that look like little green worms. Some of these kinds of seeds are edible. And, like gagk, best eaten live. (Honestly, not sure how you would even kill those seeds.)
fayanora From: fayanora Date: August 21st, 2014 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)

PS

Also, Ah'Koi Bahnis are able to eat some things that humans can't, and vice versa. Traipahni restaurants have to have all kinds of allergen warnings for lots of things, and sometimes even all their precautions don't help.

But on a more pleasant but related note, the Ah'Koi Bahnis can digest wood. So they can eat twigs and stuff, and many do gnaw on tasty woods during the day to keep their teeth ground down. Some of these woods can be enjoyed by humans, kind of like flavored toothpicks.

And of course a treat that's often mentioned in the stories is known simply as "sweet leaves." It's some kind of plant that grows succulent leaves that are high in sugar content. I think most humans can eat those, too.

Lastly, alcohol affects Traipahni people the way caffeine affects humans, and caffeine affects them the way alcohol affects us. So I have at least one scene where Nokwahl is getting drunk from a soda. Meanwhile, she can drink as much alcohol on the job as she wants to, because Traipahni body chemistry can metabolize alcohol without any side effects (beyond weight gain, I suppose).
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 21st, 2014 09:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: PS

I am amused by the reversal of alcohol and caffeine. It's a fey thing too.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: August 21st, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting essay, thanks for linking.

It reminds me of the time hubby and I went to Gencoon, a few years ago. We had rented a small suite in one of the hotels near the con (it was the price of a regular room, a real stroke of luck) and, naive Europeans that we where, we thought we could find a place nearby to shop for groceries and cook our own dinners after coming back from a day at the Con.

...only to discover that there was no grocer or mini-market or any possibility to buy raw ingredients within walking distance, it was a shock.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 21st, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

America's walkability is much lower than Europe's. Many areas presuppose availability of a private car. We've stayed in suites with great success, but we knew to shop ahead.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: August 21st, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Now we know as well...
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