Chnagahn is a simmering stew served in large cauldrons kept over open fires with raw ingredients dipped into the broth to boil before consumption. It is a popular dish across Araea as more than just a meal. To host an Chnagahn is an event, eaten in groups or enjoyed at parties and celebrations.
When all the food has been boiled and eaten, the last of the broth served as soup and the cauldrons emptied, the festivities are signaled to draw to their end.
The first step to making Chnagahn is to make the broth. Water is boiled with bone and mushroom to create a heavy stock, then seasoned with flavorful fungi and animal blood. The broth is kept heated once served, with the flavor of the stew changing as ingredients are dipped, boiled and added throughout the meal.
Some chefs insist on the traditional recipe for Chnagahn and consider any alterations to this age-old recipe to be sacrilegious. Brawls have broken out between competing schools of culinary thought over what kind of ingredients are acceptable. Everyone has an opinion of how Chnagahn is supposed to be served - everyone.
The other ingredients are added raw or with minimal preparation. They are submerged into the stew either piece by piece and eaten individually, or left in the stew to boil and later eaten with ladle or spoon. The common variant of Chnagahn use Skarok
bug in their larvae form, diced or whole slug-fish, a variety of mushrooms and fungi, lizard organs and thinly sliced meat. Many chefs have their own favorites they include, like spiders or other kinds of meat when available.
Traditions and Customs
Chnagahn is a popular dish and enjoyed by nearly everyone. While some of the very wealthy consider it a peasant's dish, to say so out loud would be a black mark on their social standing. To say "he doesn't like Chnagahn" is to levy a subtle condemnation of someone's character and good taste. But the stew is most commonly consumed by the working and middle class. At the end of a long week of work, Chnagahn is a pleasant and relaxing comfort enjoyed with friends and plenty of alcohol.
The larger the party, the larger the pot
The size of the Chnagahn is a way to display ones wealth and generosity. People compete with one another about who can host the best Chnagahn as a sort of social status sparring.
But competing chefs must be wary not to go bigger than what they can manage: there is nothing worse than watery Chnagahn.
Informal Chnagahn are community affairs. Neighbors or work-teams all contribute to the ingredients needed to dip into the boiling pot, while one or two people prepare the broth and fire. Those skilled in the task typically end up reprising the role and are greatly appreciated for their particular talent for preparing their part of the meal. People who decline to attend the Chnagahn are only excused once. Those who do so repeatedly lose standing in their community and people begin to look on them with suspicion.
The whispers start: "he doesn't like Chnagahn".
A common way to end a feud or quarrel is to invite the other party to host a Chnagahn together. The ensuing feast is a carefully choreographed ritual, where the feuding parties are expected to sit together, drink together and eat together. At the end of a successful Chnagahn and in the eyes of all those there to witness it, the feud is put to rest.
It is considered exceptionally poor form to dig it back up after such a feast.