A desert potage is a type of preserved meal kit commonly produced by residents of the Red Velvet Desert. While the individual components of a desert potage can be eaten straight from the jar, the real purpose of the herbs and spices found within is to make any water added to them safe to drink and more palatable despite contamination.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
Typically, the edible contents of a desert potage are kept dry and under seal within a glass jar until needed. When a potential source of drinking water is found in the desert, a portion is poured into the jar along with the ingredients. The jar is then placed in a campfire, over a campstove, or into the exhaust pipe of a dieseltech device until it has been boiled for at least 15 minutes. Once cool, the contents have all cooked together to create a stew, which may then be eaten all at once or gradually over the course of a day. A whole jar of desert potage has enough caloric content to sustain a traveler for most of a day. The electrolyte content provided by the salt helps to stave of heat exhaustion. The breadcrumbs, usually derived from hard tack, thicken the stock to help stave off hunger pangs. The spiciness of most potages helps the consumer by making the heat of the desert sun feel less intense in comparison. A combination of the boiling process and the properties of certain herbs chosen help to disinfect the water used in the cooking process, though chemical or radiological contaminants still cannot be removed in this manner. Generally, a jar which once contained a desert potage is not thrown away. Instead, it is kept as a piece of impromptu cookware or as a way to store additional water until one can refill it at a settlement. This reuse is done more out of a simple sense of utility rather than economic concerns, as the jar itself isn't expensive - while resources throughout the Manifold Sky are recognized to be limited, the Red Velvet Desert will not soon run out of sand to make glass.
Consumable, Food / Drink
Desert potages are common in Red Velvet Association food stores. They keep for a long time and are well-regarded for their exciting flavor profile.
Raw materials & Components
A desert potage contains a blend of dehydrated herbs, ground hot peppers, salt, dried meat, bread crumbs, and a little bit of rendered fat. All of these ingredients are thoroughly dried before being sealed in the jar to maximize the shelf life in the absence of refrigeration, and they are generally pulverized or pelletized to ensure that they blend easily with water. Desert potages used to be contained in fired ceramic pots early in the history of civilization within the Red Velvet Desert, but the growth of the local glazier industry has made mass-produced glass jars the less expensive option. The jar itself is typically red in color owing to the same iron-based inclusions which make the desert sand from which it is made red. This coloration - along with embossed logos relating to Ixa Ad-Korvidiu - can be regarded as the cultural 'trademark' of true desert potages, as opposed to imitations often made by enterprising Triple Mesa chefs.