Dartesian Sesir’ri Tel Ionel
[...] Dartesi's efforts in the kitchen had not been in vain. He could thank his prep and beautiful assistant for his speed, but in end it was his personal skill as a chef that made each dish dazzle. He mixed, cooked, chopped, and moved with a ferocity and elegance that belied his shape and his size. The dance of his work was such that the billows of steam and smoke which poured from the kitchen whorled with the magnitude of his passing. "After the interview process I took the liberty of squeezing our dear dear dear Julant for a roster of races and positions, and homeworlds of each of you. Nothing that wasn't public data, hehe, don't concern." He called out. Something flashed, a plume of flame which outlined his bulk. "Ahzsrin: Aen scientist, medical officer and engineer, lovely. Jhosei: Parisan guardian, strapping. Daea: Ka soldier, my what a woman. Keilo: Vodalkyn meta-engineer, alluring. Carmine: Human engineer, dashing. Adelai: Human scout and survivalist, sharp. A mixture of brainpower and physique which, just... muah." Another flash, this time a blue glow and something that made a rushing noise, like a waterfall. "I packed ingredients for something for each of you. A personal hello from yours truly. Dancer? Dance." "Okeydoki!" Dancer said, grinning as she backpedaled into the steam. The phantom glow of projections stepping out of her and spreading through the kitchen threw everything within into an ethereal glow, and they got a good look at his host at last as she began to dance behind him, moving to and fro like spotlights. Music broke out, upbeat and ancient, in a rarely used dialect of Human that indicated the song was very old. Woooh! ♫ Dartesi skidded over the kitchen floor with a pirouette and a flourish that sent the golden silk of his robe splaying wide and lent a flounce to the snow-white, bead-struck mane pouring down from his scalp. He stopped with a start as his hands clasped the doorframe and he emerged from the steam, grinning so wide he may have to walk sideways through the frame. I feel good! ♫ Seven and a half feet of rotund Helyk filled the doorway. Chubby fingers glittered with a bevy of rings as they tapped and danced in excitement, mirroring the bling ringing his toes and ankles between the straps of his sandals. His robe was clasped under his white, fuzzy belly, framing his navel and his chub—a rarity in a universe of supermetabolistic people. Nestled against the crook of his arm was a long, golden staff with an ornate, maced head engraved with all manner of fantastic patterns. I knew that I would, now! ♫ The maroon-tinted lenses of his gold-framed, circular sunglasses flashed with laughing faces and exclamation marks before he whipped them off, regarded them all, and let out a booming laugh. The music fell over to instrumental, so that the lyrics did not interrupt his introduction. “I am Aushejlt-Dartesian Sesir’ri Tel Ionel Tor Nuova Roma Drat’n Gino, but, please, call me Dartesi! I will be serving as your most humble chef!" Dancer and her projections poured out under the bridges of his arm, squeezing past him on either side as they carried out dishes for each of them and brought them to the center table. Their heads skimmed the loose sleeves of his robe as they passed. "For Jhosei and Daea: similar classics. Daea, you get a lager of Kale I found in a back-alley market on a spacestation in Valuselu space. I know it's the good stuff not only because I tried it and spiced it myself, but because the woman who sold it to me didn't speak a lick of Ubiq and threatened to beat my head in with a pint glass for haggling the price. Jhosei, you get a mug of hot Helmshigh mead, mulled with juniper and k'kathar berries. Both of you are getting cuts of sirloin which I've been treating for the last four days. It's so tender you wouldn't even need teeth to chew it. A mixture of veggies and starches for your sides to fit, with garnish, and a mefyar for both of you for dessert, should you enjoy them. Each is rolled as the custom of Valdutan and Kajh-Tai accordingly." Dancer's clones lay down the sizzling dishes and dashed back to the kitchen as two more swept past, one of them the actual Dancer. "For Keilo: a modest classic from your homeland of ancestry with a modern twist. You've got a meze of assorted cuts of prime meats served on a bed of squashes and veggies to sweeten and enrich the meat. Don't chew, lay them on your tongue and feel them dissolve, filling you with the warmth of a hearth on a cold night. Inspired by your cuisine, I've lain all that on a bed of steamed grains and wreathed it in a variety of dolmas." Dancer sat the steaming plate down. It really was a variety. Some were tight packages of vine leaves, but there were also small stuffed peppers, the sweet-and-spicy sort which grew in the spring along the Faur'ridar'ru slopes. She also placed a bottle of heated k'kathargishe wine and a small glass to pour it into. Steam coiled from the neck of the bottle. "Adelai, you and Carmine took a little bit of research because of the variety of human cuisine. I've made you a moqueca—pardon my pronunciation—with a small cut of carne asada and a couple casquinha de siri. I’m not sure how much you like spice so I put slightly less than it would take to put a passing enthusiast under the table." The piquance of the dish as such that it made Adelai's eyes water as she took her seat. She couldn't help but smile. She went to grab her fork but Dancer lightly pushed her hand away with a look that said 'wait for him to finish!' before planting a beer by her plate. She scowled at Dancer, but instead took the moment to close her eyes and bow her head. Graces and godsends. "For Carmine I had a bit of fun with the dim sum-slash-hibachi experience," Dartesi continued as a Dancer projection sat a small tower of woven bamboo containers and splayed them out before him. "Seared and smoked cuts of sirloin and fine meats, pork bao, Nege-inspired dolmas... honestly there was about twelve different things and if I named them all I'd end up making new words because I was having so much fun I deviated a bit. Try the sauces, they taste like they look. Oh, his umeshu, Dancer?" "Of course~" she said, setting down a bottle similar to what Keilo had gotten. "Last but not least, my most challenging and entertaining meal, Ahszrin's. I know Aen tend to not be big on food unless they are, and then they're huge on it, but I'm sure even you will appreciate this." Dancer lay down a tri-tier of short woven bamboo baskets on a stand which held them in an inverted pyramid shape. The design was to finish one basket's contents before moving to the next, smaller basket. Dartesi stepped forward and touched each in turn, top to bottom. "A prime course of salad and sushimi—excuse me, wrong language,” he tapped his brow and shook his head, incredulous. “D̅e̅l̅u̅t̅h̅thars̅u̅l̅a̅, rather, with 15 types of fish and six crustaceans from both Jhoutai and Earth ecosystems, most of which have been genesculpted for the most rewarding flavor and texture." He wiggled his fingers at the mention of texture. He knew Aen loved food as an experience more than anything, flavor was only a fraction of the dish, the rest was mouthfeel and interaction. He tapped the next basket down. “S̅v̅e̅r̅’̅r̅u̅gr’ruts̅u̅l̅a̅ bursting dumplings on rice with kale-spice and sweetwine sauces drizzled over. Also meat- and mint-jelly- in a bao so fluffy it crumples like cotton candy under your tongue. This one is all about the kokumi/umami interplay, isn’t it?” The Helyk clapped rapidly, excited, swaying from foot to foot. “Last you’ve got the kicker, tartcream marblemelons ‘structed so that even the rind is delicious, yes? Woven into a nest of flavor-crystal lattice, brushed with a—unf—pearl-dust fondant and with a scoop of v̅e̅a̅t̅h̅ crystals to pour over it when you’re ready, to release a mild dimethyltryptamine vapor from the lattice that should last about as long as it takes to eat it.” Dancer poured Ahszrin a glass of shimmering purple liquid. “And a sunrise liquor to top it all off. The color and the flavor cycles through the colors of the sunrise as you drink it.” He took a deep breath as Dancer lay down his and her dishes last. It seemed he was having a little bit of everything leftover from everyone else’s dishes. Dancer too, but in a much smaller quantity. Dartesi bowed wide and deep, mane pouring down from his shoulder and over bare chest before he straightened and took off glasses to bare irises the color of an atmosphere seen in profile: rich blue fading to sharp black. “Graces and Godsends! S̅a̅d̅i̅k̅a̅s̅u̅l̅a̅! Alussa! And as we say on Nuova Roma: Buon appetito!” He kissed his fingers, muah, and took his seat.