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Ch'arki (th-ahr-kee)

by hughpierre
A dried, salted and pounded form of all kinds of animal meat.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

Ch’arkadas

Jerky is a favourite method of meat preservation. Ch’arkadas are reservations in the flat high altitude pasturelands where large quantities of meat are spread over the area to dry in the hot sun and freeze in the cold nights. In particular, it is also the butchering site where as much as half of a quarter of a community's herd is culled every year for consumption.   Once carved, the meat-bearing parts are put out to the fields to be freeze-dried while the head and lower limbs are either discarded or made into secondary products at lower elevations. Narrow valleys at low altitudes and coastal lowland in the Corners, limit the amount of land available for ranching. Smoking or salting meat are the only other viable options as they can only be achieved in small-batches.

Manufacturing process

Meat Preservation

Pastoralists at high elevations use a freeze drying process that takes advantage of their cold dry mountain air and strong sun, much like with chuño.
  1. Cut deboned flesh into uniform slices; no more than three fingers thick
    • some regions dry meat with fragments of foot and skulls left inside reserved for home consumption
  2. Put the slices on ice for a time or expose them to the elements at high altitudes during the driest and coldest months
  3. Then pound them thin
  4. Hang the strips on lines, spear them on specially constructed poles, or simply place on rooftops to keep out of range of scavenging animals
    • some meats can be dried right on the bone
  5. After 5 to 25 days, pound the strips between two stones to make them even thinner

Significance

Ch’arki Tax

Ch'arki is demanded as a tax to be deposited in state storehouses along the road system to provision imperial armies. Fully dried jerky can last at least 4 months under the right conditions, and can be more nutritious than fresh meat.   Dehydration decreases overall bulk but proportionately increases in salt, ash and fat content by weight.  

Consumption

Ch'arki is made available to the common folk during ceremonial occasions and military service. Despite it being easily transportable, more nutritious than undried meat and boasting a prolonged shelf life; it is nonetheless a luxury food during normal times.   It can be rehydrated by soaking them in water or adding them to hearty stews and soups.

Item type
Consumable, Food / Drink
Current Location
Related ethnicities
Owning Organization
Rarity
Reserved for special occasions and eaten sparingly
Raw materials & Components
  • Meats from: 
    • Alpacas
    • Llamas 
    • Crossbreeds
  • Salt (optional)
  • Ice (optional)
Tools
  • High Elevation
  • Intense Sunlight
  • Pounder
  • String Lines
Hananhallpa
Geographic Location | Oct 17, 2021

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Cover image: Secrets of the Doe

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