Thangien Squiggle Bean Tradition / Ritual in Age of Defiance | World Anvil
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Thangien Squiggle Bean

Beans, beans, the squiggling fruit...   Anubis has a very well-documented distaste when it comes to legumes of any variety, from any region. When he used the Raider to disable the Vyerrdeklagn before Mal Daggur could capitalize on the chaos unfolding in the city, he needed to get close enough without drawing suspicion. Dais deployed his powers of Illusion to disguise the Raider as a D-class fighter and Anubis as a Thunthen pilot, the ruse lasting long enough for him to discharge Raiders' payload right into the Maw of Flame's gullet point-blank. He'd wagered Dais' illusions would not last long even in lower-Earth orbit, but did not count on space strengthening Dais' power rather than diluting it. As payment, he was required to eat a bowl of this very niche, very obscure Thangien cuisine...


Deres brought back samples of this strange stringy-looking growth he found in the Southern Salt but did not get much chance to study it and left pickled specimens in a jar in his study. By the time someone else did get to examining them obviously they were no longer edible. Their appearance piqued the curiosity of visitors, but between various events throughout the ages, launching expeditions to the Salt to harvest more fell went to the back burner.   Fresher samples were provided recently from Freelanders swinging by the city to trade, affording researchers a better opportunity to experiment and study. More of a fungal growth, these "squiggles" would latch onto the base of reeds and skim nutrients from the water surface, avoiding too much direct sunlight thanks to the density and height of marsh grasses.   They've been found to have a slick, earthy texture and are something of an acquired taste, but are deceptively filling and nutritious. They might feel awkward to an unaccustomed palate either from a lower-ranked house or an Oldworlder.   Much the same way time seems to pass quickly with boiling water, people insist the squiggles move on their own just out the corner of their eye. Due to various preparation methods this is highly unlikely, though it would stand to reason that steam traveling up fungal capillaries might give the illusion of them moving on their own.


Squiggle beans can be boiled or steamed. It is not recommended to eat raw without extensive washing and soaking in clean water. It can be served on a plate of assorted vegetables, diced meat, or on its own. Fingers, forks, or even chopsticks can be used to pinch a squiggle by the end or middle. They are best eaten whole, though some people suck them in individually like spaghetti.  
Wisps of steam rose from the bowl of pale white squiggles and springs. Anubis sat at his place at the conference table and stared down at the bowl apprehensively. “C’mon, a bet’s a bet. You were the one claiming my illusions wouldn’t hold up in space,” Dais prodded from where stood behind Anubis.   “I thought you were supposed to be all about personal honor?” Cale teased from his spot at the table.   “This is the Thangien variety, remember? You’ll never know till you try them. Who knows, you might actually like them. They’re more like a fungus rather than a legume, so think of them being closer to a mushroom,” Michelle added from where she leaned against the table beside her father.   “That does not make it any more appealing to me,” Anubis replied levelly.   “Hey, we’ve put this off long enough after everything that’s happened since the city fell. Think of it as a way to honor the fallen, like Rona,” Cale insisted. Anubis let out a heavy sigh and grimaced, picking up a pair of chopsticks and holding them over the bowl. He could’ve sworn he’d seen one of the squiggles quiver slightly… He tweaked one such ‘formation’ and raised it to his mouth. He glanced once more at the others who either gave encouraging smiles or sinister grins before taking a deep breath and opening his mouth and closing his teeth around the squiggle.   Kaosu stirred from his meditation in his room when he thought he heard a loud “WAAAUGH!!”   “Remember, the bet was to eat the entire bowl!”
— Cataclysm War Ch. 6

Components and tools

Herbs, vegetable, and meat can contribute their own flavors to a dish overall but seasonings like spices and salts do not seem to affect the texture of the squiggle bean.


Anyone with even a modicum of culinary expertise can prepare a bowl. Even though it could be considered a 'peasant dish' the effort to obtain them adds the illusion of scarcity and anything from from the Southern Salt has a air of mystery and exoticism for residents of Bainshaebo far north in Kundain.


Squiggle beans have become something of a novelty among the higher-ranking houses in the city, and as such, they will pay handsomely for sufficient amounts. Very few Freelanders go deep enough into the Salt to go out of their way to harvest them, however. Pegasi have revolutionized transport, however, and even a handful can fetch a good price. Svampflanders can sometimes harvest them from their boats using scoop rods to peel them off the reeds safely.
A Bet's a Bet(thumbnail) by Mardrena
raw pencil sketch
  Other fungal strains can serve the same culinary purpose as legumes but must be dug from the soil and is considered too tedious unless there is a good rain to loosen the pack.
Anubis staunchly refused to eat a dish his daughter had made especially for him-something she called “Southwestern Style”-due to the presence of a particular ingredient. Michelle argued something about “beans and rice are nice”. Rowen commented that Thanged lacked legumes, but a deep-soil fungus served a similar purpose. Anubis replied that he found that even less appetizing. Kayura tried to explain to Michelle how picky her father could be.
— Foes From Another World Ch. 30
"Anubis! So, how ya feelin?” Rowen flashed the miserable-looking Elder a grin. “You finally finished Michelle’s dish?”   “…That standoff…lasted…for three…hours…” Anubis muttered tightly. In truth, only timely intervention from Whiteblaze spared Anubis from consuming the detestable dish. Michelle had partially dozed off and in an instant, Anubis lowered his plate and Whiteblaze cleaned it thoroughly. Anubis placed the empty plate back on the table before Michelle awoke. When she saw it, she mumbled triumphantly, but then sleepily declared she’d cook it again in the future.   “You must be starving then?” Cye remarked   “I found sustenance in secret afterward…”   “You raided the fridge, didn’t you?” Rowen smirked. Anubis only replied by averting his gaze.
— Foes From Another World Ch. 30
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Michelle has tried unsuccessfully throughout Age of Defiance to get Anubis to try different things, but no matter how many spices dress it up, a still a bean....
Anubis looking none to thrilled having to eat Thangien squiggle beans
A Bet's a Bet(thumbnail) by Mardrena
In the Original Animated Series, Anubis-or Shuten in YST-has strong dislike for beans being his namesake is a mythological ogre who also has a strong aversion to beans...

Cover image: Age Of Defiance Header by Mardrena


Author's Notes

The idea of them being "mushroom caviar" came from a episode of I think CSI where they were investigating a murder at a swanky estate and interviewed some of the staff. One of the maids got the bright idea to eat a whole can of caviar despite a warning from a senior maid. The younger maid scoffed saying "it's an acquired taste" before promptly gagging on a spoonful. Also I'm reminded of that one scene from Spider-man 2 where JJ is arguing with his wife about serving caviar at the wedding because of the price then when MJ is a no-show he tells his wife to "put it back".

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