"I arrived at the celebration as Shen Pilo's guest. The various other guests were important people in the city, from jewellers to farming folk to fishermen. It was a menagerie; from the lowliest servant to the highest priest of Getranus, anyone you could see in the city has come. I had never been invited to a kitako party before, but I have to say, it is exquisite! One gigantic dish of local grain (called resu) is placed out to serve as a base. I rarely eat it, as the small brown grains remind me too much of maggots in size and colour. After that, several large platters come out, covered in a colourful variety of anything edible. There are strange purple and orange vegetables, effervescent fish and brightly-coloured fruits in syrup. I would be amiss to mention that I was fully sated by the time I was finished. All the while, a person read out the names of all the various providers of the foods. That's when I understood the purpose of this meal; it was a way of giving back to the community that had given all of this food to them." ~Banosar Chinolöras, Travels in the West
PreparationKitako is an example of the communal spirit of the Sha-din. If a person wants to host a kitako party, they have to collect on a huge number of favours. That is why it is such a key ceremony among the people of Sha-din-ko; in a land based on favours, anyone who makes a show of how many they have has to be owed a very large amount. Collecting these favours is specifically needed to gather all of the required ingredients. The powerful show off their networks by buying exotic ingredients and particularly colourful fish, vegetables and fruit.
CeremonyThe ceremony starts with a large amount of socializing. Due to the large number of people that are invited to these events, it becomes one of the key social moments of the year. People of various walks of society meet and exchange favours with each other. After that, the meal begins. While the kitako is served, the host of the party shows off where each fish, meat, and plant used came from, and who provided it. Everyone spoons up some kitako, some resu, makes sure they have their preferred resu wine or cider, and dig in. Toasts are declared, fortunes of favours are won and lost, and people eat and converse long into the night.
IngredientsThis meal is meant to show off the sheer number of people that owe debts to the person hosting the meal. As such, the best way to do that is to make the most colourful and flamboyant possible dish. To do so, the hosts of a kitako party often purchase the following ingredients:
- Colourful vegetables from small farms in the bamboo forests surrounding Sha-din-ko: purple, blue and bright green roots and orange and red peppers are very popular. They are usually steamed or stir-fried and basted in hot sauce or spices;
- Fish and seafood from the sea: many of the local fish are very colourful, coming in iridescent colours like silver, gold, and copper, as well as a variety of greens, blues, and reds; and
- Fruits grown in the city: the city's greenhouses and farms grow a variety of grains and fruits, many of which come in a variety of colours and shapes.
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