“A SELF-DEFROCKED HOLYMAN TRAVELS a fantastic landscape, giving aid and comfort while eking out a meager but honest living as a mercenary cook.”
PROSATIO SILBAN DIDN’T ACTUALLY MEAN to offend a decedent cook – but sometimes, that’s just how the game-bones fall.
This is how it began: The culinary mercenary was browsing his favorite secondhand book-and-scroll shop in the city of epicurean Pormaris when he happened upon a slim and ancient rag-paper codex titled Mistress Areo’s Instructions for Serving a Hungry Household. Intrigued, he leafed through its yellowing pages. Recipes he had never heard of met his curious eyes – rice trifle; stuffed beef gut; potato pudding; crushed-buckwheat and noodles – and a smile slowly spread across his face.
PICTURE, ON EVERYTHING/PLACE/PERSON/MOMENT you encounter, a big bright label that says, “LEARN HERE.”
THE RICH PANOPLY OF UULIAN cuisine offers recipes suitable for everyday use, as well as those forming the culinary backbone of special occasions. And sometimes, one can serve both conditions.
Prosatio Silban smiled the smile of a man completing a beloved task. Just right for the Heir Second’s feasting-table, he thought, putting the finishing touches on his work. It’s amazing that this one dish can be applied to any occasion.
He paused, reflecting, and his smile deepened. Indeed: here is history on a plate! This has been cooked at countless times and places since the Uulian Commonwell began, and perhaps even before. I feel privileged to bring it to life for all who request it…
1. PREPARE INGREDIENTS.
2. Combine them.
3. Adjust temperature as necessary.
(To paraphrase the sage Hillel, “The rest is dishwashing. Now go dry.”)
WHEN VISITING YOUR BOYHOOD HOME after the passage of too-many years, it’s only natural that it should seem quite a bit smaller than last you saw it.
But aside from towering over the landscape, Prosatio Silban was amazed by how little Bustan had changed: the same thatched creekside huts, the same arched stone bridge, the same goat-browsed village common, the same ivy-covered inn.
I should really get back here more often, he thought. But I know I won’t.
If my audience will feel that these interpretations are also relevant to their perceptions and emotions, I shall feel amply rewarded. However, I shall not feel hurt if my thoughts will find no response in the hearts of my listeners.”
— Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith
THERE ARE FEW SITUATIONS AS disquieting as falling awake in the middle of the night convinced you’ve heard an intrusive sound, but with no aural evidence to back such an urgency.
Prosatio Silban lay still in his galleywagon’s sleeping berth, listening to his own breathing. He could have sworn there was something else that oughtn’t be. But try though he might, he could hear neither scratch nor skitter of mouse-paws, nor the enthusiastic chewing of a meat-seeking voonith. Two potential wilderness culprits eliminated, he thought. But why, then, am I awake?