Merinian slum mince

So... Are you guys gonna eat that ?
Condor inspecting a road accident involving a dead goat
  Life is not easy for Condors in the streets of Merinos. The largest flying birds of the Cylinder are mostly meat-eating, predatory birds: in most condori cultures, hunting is as much a game as a spiritual ritual. Because of that, they are known to be exceptionnal hunters, and they almost exclusively get sustenance on their own. In the wilderness, that is. As one can imagine, the largest, densest city of the world is not a haven full of foxes and rabbits. This Special issue focuses on what the big birds of our city eat, and where they eat. Specially for you curious gourmets, examples of meals and good locations will be disclosed at the end of the article.  

Finding food

 
Sewer rats, a convenient food source
by Pouaseuille
  Condors are simple birds. They hunt preys, cook them, eat them. Unfortunately, a city is all but simple. As if the scarcity of game was not enough, many laws and moral codes limit the food sources available to condors. The biggest of these invisible barriers is property. That is, enforced property. In the countryside, when they can't find a proper prey, Condors can always turn to herds of edible beasts gathered by shepherds. And if the shepherd manages to fend off or kill the thief, it's well deserved isn't it ?   In Merinos however, there are guards. Well-trained, organized guards, that can throw you in prison or even kill you if you eat or steal something that isn't yours. As a result, many things that Condors register as food cannot be safely eaten. This includes but is not limited to livestock, pets, and human toddlers...   Because of these limitations, the fifty thousand Condors that dwell in the big city have to turn toward novel food sources. It is estimated that more than five millions of rats dwell within the walls of Merinos. Additionally, a healthy population of stray cats and dogs feed on these rodents, all of which can be safely preyed upon.   Beside strays, two other meat sources are used by condors in the city: corpses, and worms. Regarding corpses, the line between what can and what cannot be done is very blurred. Taking a dead animal is almost always acceptable, unless it is a pet, or a somewhat special animal. Regarding human or perrot corpses, well, it depends. Condors are aware that grave robbery is a criminal offence, and most merinian get incinerated anyway. However, our sources confirm that several condors have noticed the random apparition of human and perrot corpses that are left unclaimed, in some of the poorly-lit districts of the city.   The last, but not least, condori food source, is worms. In some poor districts, particularly the outer slums and cattle markets, are packed with surprisingly large earthworm, that can reach an arm's length and be almost as thick as the wrist. While these aren't very tasty even for condors, they are easy to catch, and represent a non-negligible food source.  
Merinian giant worm

Meat kitchens

  Unlike in the wild areas of our world, Condors living in the city are usually employed. They serve as bodyguards, couriers, crafters, or even bird drivers. The point is, having a job takes some time. Most merinian condors don't have the time to look for their own game.   Meat kitchens are a result of that lack of time: some condor couples took the opportunity to specialize into finding and gathering food for their fellow workers, which they can exchange for money, a surprisingly useful trinket in the city. Usually, one or two couples will operate a kitchen. The condors divide their time between cooking, and hunting for food. They usually spend half of their time looking for anything that can be considered meat, and half the time processing it.   While meat kitchens seem similar to the restaurants and taverns held by humans and perrots, they operate sligtly differently. In particular, the meat sold at a kitchen is ground and processed, but not cooked. Several fire pits and tools are available, to let condors cook the meat the exact way they want it. Beside that, a restaurant owner usually gets their raw ingredients directly delivered, and don't have to gather them themselves. In the case of a meat kitchen, it is considered a matter of pride and hygiene to directly look for meat. Though some accept carcasses found nearby, or buy some from human slaughterhouses, most kitchen owners prefer to hunt themselves, or look for their own worms and roadkills.  
The city of Merinos, one of the most pluricultural cities in the Cylinder. Capital of a trading empire that spans across the entire Cylinder, its economic wealth is equaled only by the greed of its bourgeois elite. The city is famous for its mysterious Great Library, one of the Cylinder's greatest centers of science and magic, as well as it is known for its amalgamated slums in the Block district.
They never cease to amaze me, them condors. They're making the most sophisticated seasonings, yet at the same time, well... worm pies.
— Unknown Merinian giving an unsollicited commentary to our reporter
Condor eating a meat stick
by Pouaseuille
Item type
Consumable, Food / Drink
Related ethnicities

Recipes

 

Urban pâté

   
Thanks to the processing and heavy flavouring, you can't really assess how many different animals it's made of.
Even in the wilderness, condors are known for their many ways of processing and seasoning meat pastes. This is partly due to their hunting habits: it is not uncommon for a couple of birds to take down an animal several times their combined weight, such as a wild boar or a mountain deer. A good way to preserve the food is to spice it up, and store it as a paste.   In the case of urban pâté however, the reason for the processing is not as much to preserve it, as it is to hide the fact that it is generally made out of the already stale meat of several different animals...   Now for giving out kitchen tips! According to our own inquiries, and interviews with local condors, some of the best urban pâté can be bought at the Braen's Nest, a Meat Kitchen just next to The Block's hospital. While we aren't entirely sure of that, we think the owners have some sort of agreement with the cattle market knackers, and they get to keep some of the large carcasses. In any case, a place to check !
Urban paté
by Pouaseuille

Meat on a stick

   
In all seriousness, these can actually taste quite good !
Meat on a stick is the most popular condori meal, so much that it is even eaten by human workers.   Compared to pâté, or even large sandwiches, meat on a stick present two advantages for condori workers. Firstly, the diversity of choice: a meat kitchen usually has a wide array of processed meatballs. Secondly, the convenience: to prepare a meal, one only has to select elements, put them on a stick, and burn them until satisfied.   We have several choices of superior meat kitchens wherein high quality skewers can be found. One of the most accessible to humans, however, is the Bobblehead in the library district. The owners bought an human appartment and set it up as a meat kitchen. As a result, the ceiling height allows human to visit and process food, as much as condors. A wide array of dumplings, meatballs, sausages, and seasoned fried worms can be selected and put on a stick. As a matter of fact, several members of the Library have been spotted at this kitchen by our reporters !    
Meat on a stick
by Pouaseuille
   

Faux carcass

   
This, this truly is an abomination.
A non negligible part of condor culture involves the consumption of large animals. Sadly, beside the occasional stray dog, most preys within Merinos are much smaller than the condors themselves. A solution to this lack of small preys was developed in Kraka's rooftop, a famous Condor Kitchen located in Middelborough. It involves the skin of several rats, sometimes combined with one cat. The filling is meant to approximately reproduce the general structure of a mammal. Actual bones and mostly wood are used to make the skeletal structure, fried worms are used to make the entrails, and various ground meats are used for the rest of the organs.   While the finality of such carcasses is understandable from the condori culture's point of view, it is very hard not to be horrified at the sight. Condors are not well-known for their fine crafting skills, and it shows. Several rat heads, not always in place, show up on the crudely sewn together carcass.   Yet, these faux carcasses are a very prized meal among condors! They are eaten in particular cultural events, and are even exported to condors outside the city. Go figure...
Faux carcass
by Pouaseuille


Cover image: by Pouaseuille

Comments

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21 Mar, 2021 04:13

I love this article. The Meat on a stick, the Paste and the Faux carcass especially. The Condori culture has hunting oriented, carnivorous or scavenging. The "upright" citizens and the more questionable. Great article!

21 Mar, 2021 21:29

Thank you for that! Glad it was appreciated. I've gotta say, I do like exploring the Condori cultures, especially their urban cultures.

With love,   Pouaseuille.