Saturday, November 24, 2018

Elven delicacies

There's the simple way, then there's the elven way.  Elves have a reputation for complexity and over-engineering, in everything from law to technology to food.  A fine elven meal is hardly complete without a special delicacy, a treat for everyone at the table.

(This is a rather silly post, so if you're just here for wilderness adventures, you should probably look somewhere else.)

Chinese pastries,

Start with its shape.  I'll roll up a random delicacy as we go to show you how it works.

Shape (d12)
1round ball
2flat disc
3long stick
8twisted into a knot
9flattish with a pressed floral pattern
11irregular cluster
12layers of the exterior and filling

Decide what the outside of the delicacy is made of, and then what kind of finish it has.

5: This food is cut/pressed/molded into a diamond or parallelogram shape.

Exterior (d20)
1-4no outer layer around the filling
5candy shell
6mochi (sticky rice candy dough)
7steamed dough
8baked dough
9fried dough
10sugar glaze
12a pepper
14crispy pastry
15a tomato
16hollow/folded pasta
17a raspberry
18sticky rice
20crumbly cookie

14: It's a diamond-shaped crispy pastry.

Finish (d20)
1-2no special finish
3powdered sugar
5edible rice paper
6patterned paper wrapper
8cocoa powder
9crushed walnuts
10shredded coconut
11pine nuts
12dusting of flour
14sesame seeds
19grated cheese
20olive oil / butter

3: Diamond-shaped crispy pastry coated or topped with powdered sugar.


There's a filling inside:

Filling (d20)
1hard candyflavored with (d20) 1: honey, 2: molasses, 3: tomato, 4: pistachio, 5: cheese, 6: lemon, 7: pineapple, 8: peach, 9: coffee, 10: butter, 11: tea, 12: jasmine, 13: lavender, 14: rose, 15: licorice, 16: peppermint, 17: frankincense, 18: salt, 19: rum, 20: roll twice
2chewy sweet (like nougat or taffy)
4creamy filling
5ball of cotton candy
6spongy bread/cake
7crispy cookie/cracker
8candied apricot
10cluster of sesame seeds
12bean paste
14puffed rice
15candied ginger
16fig paste
17dried plum
18soft cheese
19hollow inside
20an inedible trinket with writing on it

19: The pastry is hollow inside.

Anastasiya Sviderska

In polite society, there's a proper way to eat these delicacies.

Method of Eating (d12)
1-2Pick it up with two fingers, but not using your thumb.
3-4Use a spoon.
5-6Use small tongs.
7-8Use chopsticks.
9-10Use a tiny sieve to dip it in tea or coffee.
11Stab it with a sharp skewer.
12Break it apart with a flat knife and a little mallet, then pick up the pieces on the knife.

7: You're supposed to eat this pastry using chopsticks.  Hopefully it's small enough to make that reasonable.

But there's a complication, something that makes these rather awkward.

Complication (d12)
1They are absurdly large.
2They are very small.
3They are eaten together with another delicacy.
4You and your neighbor feed each other.
5Surprisingly, these are the main course of the meal.
6Eat one to show that you would like to leave.
7You will have to pay for each one you eat.
8You are supposed to take one and pass the dish.
9The dish is placed near you, but you are supposed to ask the host to serve you when you want one.
10A large number of them are served to you, but this is not the main course. You are expected to return any you do not eat.
11They are served in a sauce.
12They are eaten in silence.

2: Turns out it's surprisingly small: a tiny, hollow, crispy pastry in a diamond shape coated in powdered sugar, eaten with chopsticks.  I'd eat that.

Let's roll up a few more:
  • A flattish layer of sesame seeds (probably held together with honey or something) with icing on top in a floral pattern, and then more sesame seeds sprinkled on top.  Eaten with chopsticks, but it's understood that you'll pay for each one you eat.
  • An irregularly-shaped crumbly cookie, filled with fig paste, wrapped in edible rice paper.  You take one and pass the dish, then dip it in your tea/coffee with a small sieve.
  • Egg, pressed into the shape of a camel.  (That's it, no exterior or finish.)  Pick one up with two fingers (but not your thumb) and feed it to your neighbor.
  • A long, skinny pepper filled with marzipan and dipped in olive oil.  Eat one to show that you would like to leave.  (I don't want to eat one of these).
  • A ring-shaped folded pasta (like tortellini, I suppose) with a creamy, tea-flavored filling, and sprinkled with poppyseeds.  The dish is placed near you, but you ask your host to serve them to you, then you dip them in your tea.
  • A crispy pastry shaped like a hockey puck, with a walnut inside.  Eaten with your fingers as the main course of the meal.

Roll up an elven delicacy of your own:


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