Dumplings in Space

 
by Annie Stein
Welcome to Solaris, traveller! Let me get you up to speed.
Solaris is a soft science fiction webcomic set in our own universe, kind of. Learn more by continuing to read, or click here to be taken to the comic.
Q:Where am I?   You're still in the system known as Sol. Except this time each planet is habitable and developed its own life. The people are humanoid, mostly.
Q:I heard something about a comic?   Oh yes! The main comic is still in development, but you can read the first few pages of the Expanse if you click here.  
Q:What's going on?   Sol is invading. The resentful sun sends its angelic armies: the Scourge. For now, they're being held back at Mercury by Penumbra.
by Annie Stein
This article is a stub . It will be expanded upon later.
The whole world was in that very mouthful, and it was immediately addicting. The thin padi film burst as I pressed it up against my the roof of my mouth with my tongue, and what spilled out was a sharp and stinging. A cold liquid that made my mouth burn like the hottest summer day. Then, like ice cream on such a day, the milky cream of the sweetnut soothed my firey tounge. Even after I swallowed, my mouth was all sensations, numbingly it rolled in sweet, then sour, then a sharp floral sang all the way up my sinuses.
  The concept of the world citizen—an individual who is cultured enough in the ways of each of the planets to see beyond the narrow lens of national or even global identity—is a key part of the modern identity. According to many, the first step to becoming a world citizen is interplanetary travel. No reputable spacecraft travels without the iconic first meal in space, dumplings.  
Bao with Gel-Suspended Sesame by Annie Stein
solaris_sunsoupdumpling.png
Sun Soup Dumpling by Annie Stein
Neptunian Fishcake by Annie Stein
Table of Contents

Interplanetary Rite of Passage

 
When interplanetary travel went from being a matter of science to that of leisure, there was a desire to have some sort of ritual for the occasion of an individuals first space flight. The question of what exactly it should be was answered almost as soon as it was asked.   The first meal aboard and abroad served as an introduction to all the whims and oddities of Zero G, learning to use the velcro tables and manage floating utensils. The shared joy of weightlessness and discovery solidified a kind of solidarity with your fellow traveler, a bond that eased the later isolation.

Bao with Gel-Suspended Sesame by Annie Stein

Neptunian Fishcake by Annie Stein

Of course, the leisurely traveler was not quite as willing to adapt to rehydrated rations as professional spacefarers, but not all dishes were suitable for space. The lack of convection ruled out fried food, which was probably just as well due to the dangers posed by errant crumbs to machinery and peoples eyes. The Sol System is full of diverse cuisines with plenty of options for a space-friendly first meal, but one food united them all: the dumpling.   The dumpling, as a food all people of Sol have in common, gains symbolic meaning when it is eaten as the first meal after one becomes an interplanetary traveler: a citizen of the System rather than a mere planet or moon. The most iconic of these dumplings is the sun soup dumpling, created by the union of three iconic foods.

Sun Soup Dumpling

 
Sun Soup Dumplings are a staple of the first interplanetary meal. It is made from Martian padi dough, a translucent film that is formed into a conical parcel, and the fillings are a broth inspired by Venus' infamous and lethal cnidarian soup, and a creamy interior soup from Jupiter.   The Venusian soup is an oily and thin yellow broth, while the Jovian one is a much thicker orange soup. These two soups naturally seperate, causing the striking effect that lends the dumpling its name. Outside of Zero G, sun soup is known as sunset soup, since the thinner yellow broth settles on top of the broth. In zero gravity, however, the orange soup forms a sphere in the middle of the dumpling.

solaris_sunsoupdumpling.png

Sun Soup Dumpling by Annie Stein

 

Flavours of Venus; Cnidarian Soup

 
icon_venus.png
The yellow broth of the Sun Soup is inspired by the infamous Cnidarian Soup, a lethal Venusian favourite. Cnidarian soup is brewed from stock harvested from the sac of a family of carnivorous plants, ideally a few weeks into its digestion cycle. The stock is somewhat spicy, pleasantly perfumed, with a rich meaty flavour. It is usually boiled with even more aromatic herbs and bones.   The spicy sensation is caused by the cnidocytes the carnivorous plants use to disable their prey. Cnidocytes are explosive cells that pierce skin and chitin to deliver a paralyzing neurotoxin. When the cnidarian soup is harvested at the right time, the cnidocytes are degraded enough that they only cause a pleasant tingle while eating and a somewhat numb mouth afterwards. However, when the stock is harvested too early it carries a mild, but not insignificant, risk of full body paralyzation and a fast death.   Sun soup is rarely made with real cnidarian soup, for several reasons beyond the obvious. Primarily it is because the cnidocytes don't keep well, so it quickly loses its sting. Instead, the base for "cnidarian broth" is created with oil or tallow which is then cooked with plenty of capsaicin-rich seeds and aromatic herbs.

Martian Structure; Padi Film

 
Padi, a semi-aquatic grain native to Mars, is used to create the edible film surrounding the Sun Soup Dumpling. It is grown in large hydroponic shelves that line many of the hills and mountains of Mars. Padi is high in starch and pectin and can be easily refined into a translucent gelatin. In this state it is known as padi gum. When padi flour is reintroduced to padi gum and kneaded, a strong and flexible film is created.   Padi may well be the most modified food in the galaxy. All padi is fortified with some important mineral or the other, with strains tailormade for each species of the galaxy and the dietary concerns they may face in various situations. As padi also lends itself well to hydroponic farming upon spaceships, it has become a staple of space.  

Jovian Delights; Sweetpalm Soup

 
Jupiter is known for extravagant feasts, fried food and decadently rich food. The Jovian soup at the core of sun soup dumplings is known as Sweetpalm Soup, and is decidedly part of the latter category. Sweetpalm soup is a staple from the Comiterranean, a prominent region of Jupiter that hosts the Jovian Senate. It is made almost entirely of the large nut-like fruit of the sweetpalm. It is very mild and creamy soup with a buttery taste

Dumplings in Space

Table of Contents


Comments

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7 Jul, 2022 13:35

This is such a fun and cool article! I adore the art for the different dumplings!


Seek a new dawn, in Malkora!
Check out Antecedents, my entry for On the Shoulders of Giants!
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 13:38

Thank you so much! I had a great time drawing them all

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
7 Jul, 2022 13:47

This is a great concept! I love how the soups form a sun or sunset depending on gravity, and your descriptions and illustration really made me want to try some :p And I also absolutely love the idea of eating neurotoxins from carnivorous plants! This is such a cool idea! XD

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 14:04

I'm so glad you love it! I wouldn't be surprised if your love of man-eating plants influenced me ^^ Thank you so much for talking over the Cnidarian soup concept with me earlier!

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
7 Jul, 2022 13:49

This is nothing short of a master class in space-adapted food writing.

"What you know is the stars in the sky; what you don't is the darkness between them."
- Ashley Naftule
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 14:02

Thank you so much, that's high praise!

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
7 Jul, 2022 14:06

I absolutely adore this concept! The art is really well made, and I love the details you've gone into each type - especially how gravity affects the sun soup dumpling!

I hope you have a great day!   My most recent article!
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Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 14:07

Thank you! I'm glad you like all the little details!

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
7 Jul, 2022 15:15

I started reading this and I immediately got hungry. I might have to get dumplings now for dinner. :D   I love all the details here too - cooking in zero G, the fact that space-tourists definitely aren't going to want to eat rehydrated rations, all the different variants. It's a great, fun little article and oh gosh now I'm hungry again!!   Fantastic work as always :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 15:24

I hope you do enjoy a dumpling... on earth! I'm so glad you liked the article! Thank you ^^

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
7 Jul, 2022 15:41

Dumplings simply are the best :relieved face:   This is so well done, and I love that you picked dumplings as a sort of "first space flight" food, it truly seems perfectly fitting :D That opening description of flavour was amazing, and the rest of the article truly followed up. And of course the art is simply lovely -- sesame seeds suspended in gel is brilliant. :D


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Master PrincessESH
Aster Blackwell
7 Jul, 2022 17:19

This is awesome! I LOVE the concept of a food that is specifically designed to be enjoyed in zero gravity!

Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 17:31

Thank you!

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
7 Jul, 2022 17:53

The sun dumpling makes me think of hotpot but in a lil wrapper, I would deifnitely give it a shot. Not the originalversion tho :D

Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
7 Jul, 2022 17:57

I would simply shrug off the lethal neurotoxin. Thank you so much!

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
8 Jul, 2022 06:51

I think it was a great idea to wait until before a meal for me to read this, because now I am hungry BUT I can eat right after! Really though, this is a great right of passage, and really beautiful art!

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
9 Jul, 2022 08:32

Thank you so much! I'm glad you had something to eat soon after ^^

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury
12 Jul, 2022 05:43

I just... want to eat the soup dumplings. I want to eat all the dumplings!

Grandmaster nnie
Annie Stein
12 Jul, 2022 08:36

Thank you! I hope you can get some excellent dumplings where you are

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— On the Shoulders of Giants entry: Refugees of Mercury