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Lore:The Feast of Saint Coellicia II

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The Feast of Saint Coellicia II
by Arfons Jellicandante, Expert on Nibenese Cuisine
A descriptive list of the first and second courses served during an infamous feast


Author's Note: As was the tradition of Reman court feasts, the first course was constructed to enliven the palate and stir the bowels.

CRUMBS, which was traditionally the only food allowed to be eaten on Saint Coellicia's fast. A single spoon of crumbs, gathered from every baking oven from Leyawiin to Bravil, was provided to each guest. Lady Tusks-Not-Seen, paramour of Emperor Brazollus, was allegedly so impatient during the Bishop's rendition of the Creed of Crumbs that she supped from the spoons of five of her neighbors.

OYSTERS served alive in their shell and shucked tableside. In the traditional Niben fashion, diners were provided garnishes of olive brine in addition to a wine reduction fortified with minced onion. More adventurous guests were permitted to adorn their oyster with a piquant sauce of Argonian origin, a favorite of Emperor Brazollus. Once the oysters were eaten, Emperor Brazollus directed that the shells be distributed among the poor of Leyawiin. It is unclear what he intended the poor to do with these shells, but records indicate that Brazollus had already quaffed several goblets of wine when he uttered the proclamation.

DROWNED GARNETBEAKS, served whole. Garnetbeaks, or more accurately, the Topal Garnetbeak, were a common feature of noble tables. Most often, these creatures were drowned in a fortified wine. They were plucked immediately before serving, and diners ate these creatures whole, typically with cloths draped over their heads. Ostensibly this was to trap the vapors of the wine, but in truth it was to contain the viscera and juices that often violently ejected from the bird as it was eaten. Years of this practice have left the garnetbeak extinct.

LOAF OF TONGUE, with a green sauce of mint and chervil. Another common sight at the noble table, the Loaf of Tongue was assembled from the tongues of whatever creatures suited the household. In the case of this meal, the loaf was more than likely made from duck tongues.

EGG PUFFS roasted in salt coals. Brazollus was known for serving cured chicken eggs, which were often buried in clay for several months. Their whites would harden and adopt a mahogany color, while their yolks turned to a green curd. Using techniques gleaned from the Argonians, Barzollus's chefs were able to imbue these eggs with remarkable elasticity, inflating them with steam conducted through their shells with needles until they had quadrupled in size. Diners noted the first pop, releasing the cured aroma of each egg, was extremely satisfying.

* * *

Author's Note: After the introductory savories, guests were served fish, whose definition was expanded to refer to all creatures of seas, rivers, and lakes.

NIBEN PIKE STUFFED WITH CREAMED SORREL, baked in a saffron crust. This is a classic example of Niben river cuisine, elevated to suit the table of Emperor Brazollus. While saffron was most certainly beyond the reach of the average fisherman, stuffing a fish with sorrel and other herbs was, and remains, a common method of preparation. The saffron crust is said to have been a compromise between Brazollus, who sought to encase the fish in edible gold, and his chef, who found the idea ludicrous.

FRESH MILT sucked from live mudcrabs. The feast of Saint Ceollicia coincides with mudcrab spawning in Topal Bay. While roe-laden female crabs are suitable for a pauper's table, nobles preferred to sup on the rich and milky milt of male crabs. Contemporary chroniclers noted that Brazollus, a lover of games, had servants dump bushels upon bushels of living mudcrabs upon the table, requiring his guests to grapple with the beasts and remove their milt with only their hands and mouths.

BEAVER TAIL rolled in flour and fried. Emperor Brazollus is reputed for claiming beaver tail to be the finest white fish one could eat (though any chef would tell you the flesh of the taleĀ [sic] is firmer and darker than any river-fish). The method of preparation described has little of the filigrees seen elsewhere in this menu, as Brazollus enjoyed eating beaver tail with no accompaniments.

DOLPHIN CALF simmered in the milk of its mother. This dish is a perversion of a popular Nord feast, which similarly simmers a calf in the milk of a mare, though it is done with cattle, not dolphin. The richness of this dish cannot be overstated, as both the flesh of dolphin and the milk they produce are denser than any creature of the land. Sadly, details of the seasonings and garnishes are lost.

SLAUGHTERFISH LIVER, roasted. As is well-established in the culinary record, slaughterfish liver is usually avoided because it is difficult to serve without first negating the toxins within it. That Brazollus served slaughterfish liver to over a hundred guests is a testament to his confidence in the thirty Argonian tribals he contracted to prepare the dish. His confidence was well-placed. Of the assembled diners, only Duke Nettio succumbed to blindness and laxity of the bowel.