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 in both roles.
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…
* * *
“It must be simple and plentiful, and easy to eat while watching the Sacred Games,” said the Tirinbar athletics enthusiast. “And it cannot be too expensive. I am not paying you for an extravagance.”
“You need have no worries on that score, no pun intended,” Prosatio Silban reassured his potential client. “I have just the thing. It provides substance for the belly and a delight for the palate. And the cost is quite low, especially considering the volume involved. Twelve in copper for the ingredients, plus labor and delivery…shall we say twenty in copper, that is, one in silver?”
* * *
“It is for my daughter’s wedding night,” said the beaming Pormaris merchant. “Her mother made it for me on our wedding night, may her soul be bound up in the All-Mother’s tender embrace.”
“It is something rare to be able to carry on a family tradition,” Prosatio Silban affirmed. “I am certain your daughter and her new husband will enjoy it as much as you did. May they bring you many fat grandchildren.”
“Thank you. If such is the will of the Flickering Gods, I will be content.”
* * *
“We cannot afford much,” said the Soharis marketplace porter. “But we want our event to be comfortably memorable. All of our friends are pitching in to make it so.”
“How little you spend will not detract from the quantity I shall provide,” said Prosatio Silban. “I can feed a small crowd for no more than six in copper for the ingredients. After that, you may pay me what you will for my services. I know your limits, and will not balk at their restrictions.”
“Done. And – thank you for your kindness.”
* * *
“Let me see,” said the village customer in the shadow of Prosatio Silban’s galleywagon as she consulted the bill-of-fare. “I can’t believe you have that on your menu! How can you stay in business by charging so little for it?”
“It is not there as an oversight,” replied the cook. “People genuinely enjoy it, and I try to make affordable my offerings while ensuring a balance between the familiar and exotic.”
“Well, then. Bring me a plateful, please.”
* * *
That night, after the cookware, tableware and cutlery had been cleaned and put away, Prosatio Silban grinned an anticipatory grin as he spooned the cold leftovers into a shallow bowl for his own late supper. He dug in a fork with gusto.
Truly, a dish for all seasons, he thought, chewing happily. No matter how it’s seasoned.