Not-So-Mysterious Meats (Candidate Project)

Xanadu Weyr - Kitchens
As you enter this room from outside, good smells assail you from everywhere. State of the art equipment has been brought in from the various crafts to be used - stoves and large ovens replacing the 2 hearths that used to be in here. Three baking ovens are usually going full bore 12 hours of the day, while the nighttime hours bring the smaller stove beside the door to the main hall into use. This is where you find late night meals of stew and soup simmering in pots, and pitchers of klah and tea in their electric units to be kept warm. Large windows take up the entire of the western wall, generally open wide to the mountainous landscape beyond allowing the cool breezes in to keep the kitchen's temperature to a desirable level. Tables, cabinets, and counters take up the remaining spaces and walls. It is here the majority of the work is done, and spices, herbs, and other foodstuffs found.
Beside the night hearth in the southern wall is the door that leads out into the living cavern.

It is early afternoon, right around the time all the cooks in the kitchens start getting dinner cooking to make sure it will be done around dinner time. Idrissa is there, she is on kitchen duty, and has been given an apron and pointed onwards another cook off near a table that holds a few bowls, knives and other items covered from view at the moment. The apron is tied on while she wanders on over, smiling up to the cook in question. "Ah Hello I'm supposed to help you with whatever you might be working on tonight miss."

The cook's got short-cropped blonde hair and a heavy duty apron, and she looks up at Idrissa's approach to smile. "Oh you are?" she says, and beams. "Thank you, I'm so glad they've found some help for me. It's so hard to do this on my own." She puts down the bowl she was carrying over and reaches out a hand. "I'm Lydia. Do you want to hold or whack?"

Hotaru is generally on kitchen duty these days, though usually it's dish duty or general cleaning duty. That's all she's good for! Well, she can also run messages or muck stables, but without a craft she's stuck with the tedious chores. She, too, is in an apron. An apron covered in porcine goo. She's at one of the chopping tables, helping to carve up some pork for dinner tonight, breakfast tomorrow and for storage. She chats with one of the cooks for a bit, then yells "Walalalalalalalala!" Which is followed shortly by the sound of a cleaver hitting the cutting board. And so it continues for a few minutes until Hotaru notices Rissa's come in. "Hey Idrissa!"

Idrissa keeps her smile and nods to Lydia. "Nice to meet you Lydia." She blinks and peers at her, hold or whack?.. Wait "Uh What do you mean hold or whack?" This questioned with a curious tone. Color her confused. Then her attention is pulled away towards the yelling and she eyes Hotaru a moment wondering why she just did that. Oh boy, can she go back to the stables now? "Hey Hotaru. What Are you doing?"

"Nice to meet you too!" says Lydia with a cheerful smile. "Oh, well-" Thunk! Hotaru's got the idea, though the yelling is not, strictly speaking, considered necessary. "It tends to slide around if you don't have someone holding," Lydia says with a smile again. "Especially… well, we've got a leg. They roll."

Hotaru waves the cleaver around. "I'm helping chop meat! I'm good with a cleaver. I could split hairs with this thing." Though right now she looks more like a lunatic with a meatcleaver covered in blood. "I'll help, too!" She looks at Lydia, apparently having abandoned her pig to the other cook. "What are we chopping? 'beast? Ovine? Porcine?" Poor Idrissa. She probably knew some of these animals that they're prepping for meats.

Idrissa ahs softly and peers back to Lydia now. "Wait, I'm going to have to cut up meat?" This questioned with an unsure tone, and well she may look a little green at the thought. Her gaze flicks over to Hotaru and she just eyes the girl, her bright gaze widens as she looks at that meatcleaver. "Oh dear.." Is murmured softly while she looks back to Lydia and swallows. "Um, what would you like me to do?" Don't get sick, don't get sick. This is what Rissa is thinking about at the moment.

"Or you can hold," Lydia chirps brightly. "It's a good thing the firelizards haven't caught on yet today, usually they're all over us when it's a meat chopping day. Once, we had to send someone for a dragonrider to calm them down!" She smiles happily to Hotaru as the other girl comes over - more help! - and then pulls the cloth off from over a leg of bovine. "Oh, herdbeast. This is one of the older ones, it's meant for stewing."

Hotaru has been cutting meat since she was a wee lass, so the blood and guts don't even phase her in the slightest. Poor Idrissa though doesn't seem like she's used to seeing the animals she cares for turned inside-out. "You'll need to know how to chop if you impress. It's a necessary skill. Volendrung will chase the other firelizards out. Maybe. I can't seem to find him today." Hotaru waits to see what they're to be chopping. "Fun! You want the bone left in the rump or not? Should we just slice the rest of the meat off the bone then and cube it up?" Hotaru abandons her cleaver for a knife instead.

Idrissa is glad her firelizard aren't around at the moment, this would be well hard for her to handle. "Well, yes there is that.. I don't have a problem with that Hotaru." She pauses while peering at the bovine leg and she tilts her head. "Um, well why don't I hold first and watch?" A glance is sent to Hotaru as she goes for a knife? Oh wait, is Hotaru helping her now?

Lydia giggles. "Just so long as he doesn't try for some of his own!" she says of Volendrung. "Not that we don't save some scraps for them, but they always want to go for the good bits. Like the organs! I don't know what it is with firelizards and livers, they'll burrow right into them if you give them a chance." Poor Idrissa. Poor, poor Idrissa. Lydia doesn't seem to notice her squeamishness. "All righ!" she says of the offer to hold. "Get a good grip, there at the top." Y'know… the end that was recently connected to the beast's body. "Oh, bone in today. Cook's going to make chili, and the marrow gives it flavor. Cubes are good for the rest!"

Hotaru peers at Rissa. "You don't have a problem chopping? Good! You can start then. I'll hold." Of course, then Rissa is saying she'll hold. "Well, if you want then…" Removing meat form the bone requires a bit more finesse than one can get with a cleaver, which is why Hotaru is going for the knife. She laughs. "I never was a fan of liver, they can have it all if they want. Bleh." Sure, liver is the one thing that Hotaru is grossed out by. "Okay!" She says about bone-in. Yum! She'll wait for Idrissa to get a good hold. "Just don't move your fingers around. People don't generally like fingers in their chili."

Idrissa bites down upon her lip and eyes the area that she is suppose to take hold of? Wait what.. She has to grab hold of it and hang on or something? She doesn't remember that being part of the task. "Alright.." This is said to Lydia before she peers at Hotaru, wide eyed once more. "No no.. I'm not chopping." Please don't make her do that! She pales once Hotaru talks about fingers in chili and goes about getting a good hold of that leg. "Ok.. I'm ready… I think."

If it's not held down, it might flop down over the table! The last revenge of the kicking bovine. Lydia laughs to Hotaru. "Have you had it with onions and apples? Liver's really easy to overcook, I know I've had some really /awful/ liver…" Oh, but no time to share recipes now, because Idrissa's getting into place and so she does too, holding down the hoof end and giggling. "No fingers. They cook all funny." That's a joke, right? …kitchen humor.

Hotaru reads too many novels or something. Novels about renegade assassins and battles and other horrible things. Once Rissa has a good grip, Hotaru holds up the knife and yells "Walalalalala!" again. She doesn't start to cleave though, instead she carefully removes the top portion of the leg as a whole. And leaves Rissa standing there holding a hunk of meat known as the rump. "Just onions." Hotaru explains to Livia. "I wasn't really a fan. It could have been overcooked, I'm not sure. But both my grandparents seemed to like it, so maybe not." Hotaru giggles as well at the finger joke. "Everyone still got their fingers?

Idrissa swallows at the talk of liver is still going around. Really? Can they now see her so paleish looking at the moment and well perhaps a bit greenish around the gills still? She does her best to hold onto that rumplegthing and whimpers just a bit as Hotaru goes about yelling and attacks the meat with the knife. A soft meep escaping her in the process and she eyes what was cut off. "Um.. ya I still have them."

Admittedly, most of the adventure novels aren't very accurate about the sound of meat being cut. It's far more… squelchy. And then there's the tendons! Or, as they're colloquially refered to, the 'nasty stringy bits what catch at the knife'. Lydia nods to Hotaru. "Grandparents and firelizards. The two creatures on Pern that most like liver." She smiles, glancing up to Idrissa again. "Good… oh! That reminds me, we'll be doing some roasted knucklebones for the beastcraft kennels. Do you think you could take them over?"

Eventually Hotaru will probably be hauling Rissa out of the kitchens over her shoulder and off to the infirmary. While Rissa has nightmares of being chopped open by other candidates wearing aprons and wielding cleavers. "Good! I'm just gonna slice most of this off, then you can cube it?" At least then she won't have to wrestle with the tendons and things? Hotaru laughs. "I think you're right. My grandparents ate all sorts of things that really ought to be ground up into a paste. Chicken feet, pigs ears… scrapple. Bleh." Even Hotaru looks curiously at Lydia. "I don't know knucklebones. How do you do those?"

Idrissa will be spending the night in the infirmary at this rate, she is getting close to tossing her cookies at his rate. An even more so with the talk is going and going. Then here is the tendons which make her urp a bit and she has to bite her lip to keep from anything else happening. She closes her eyes, not even able to look a Lydia at the talk of knucklebones. "Sure. I can do that." She can /handle/ that. Oh dear they are going to talk about how they are made now? "What do you all do with chicken feet?" Why oh why did she just ask that?

Lydia nods, adjusting her grip as Hotaru cuts so as to not let any fingers get chopped off. "Oh, but scrapple already /is/ ground up into paste, practically" she brings up. "It doesn't always help. At least not when it goes gelatinous." She sounds so… cheerful! "Oh, the knucklebones? They're one of the smaller bones down here." She points. "Hard to work with, which is why we just hack them out and roast them in the back oven until they crack, then feed them to the dogs. Well, the beastcrafters do, anyway." So ponder that next time you give Asher a treat, Idrissa. "Oh, chicken feet? You can steam them, bake them… I think they're spiced and fried, to be honest. That way you can just slurp it off the bones. Crackly on the outside and soft on the inside.

Hotaru has to wipe the knife clean between some cuts, which means removing the sticky tendons, which she gathers into a pile along with the rest of the giblets. Look Rissa, dinner! At least once the bone has been scraped clean it's no longer so gross. "Are they going to boil the bones or just give them to the 'lizards?" Or the canines, or whatever. "I suppose." She says about scrapple. "That still doesn't make me want to eat it." There's a nod about the knucklebones. Rissa has volunteered for that fun, so she'll continue to chop the meat up she's removed from the leg. "My grandparents used to fry them, yeah. So the skin got crispy and the inside turned to chickeny-mush. They considered it a treat since chickens are so hard to get hold of. Wherry feet are even more gross."

"Wait What's scrapple?" Idrissa is totally digging her hole deeper and deeper it seems. There is another little urp at the talk of what one does with chicken feet. "Why Why would you want to do that with chicken feet?" She looks confused. As for the canine treats, she is alright with that if she doesn't have to help with making them. She looks to Hotaru now. "Wherry feet.." She has to let go of the leg a moment as if about to touch her face but then eyes her hand seeing well, meaty bits on it. The smell so close to her face is enough and her eyes close and soon she finally lets go of the leg and turns running over to (hopefully) an empty bin and upchucking right into it Oh dear…

"Hog offal and cornmeal!" Lydia chirps informatively, then smiles to Hotaru. "Oh, we don't usually bother with the wherry feet here," she says with a wrinkle of her nose. "The fishers use them for chum." So apparently they've got some standards around grossness in this kitchen. Usually. "Oh, the big leg bones are for stew." Lydia reaches down with one hand while holding the meat in place with the other, and brings up a large metal tray. "Here, uh… Idrissa, was it?" She smiles to the girl. "Go ahead and lay the bones out on this, will you? We'll give them a quick roast to bring out the flavor, and then-" Aaaaand then Idrissa is fleeing the table, and Lydia blinks after her. "What… oh, dear. Is that stomach bug going around again?"

Hotaru wrinkles her nose. "What she said." She says about the scrapple. "When they say offal, they mean 'awful'. They basically take all the parts they don't use, heart, lungs, bits of innards, grind it up and mix it with meal into a loaf. Then they slice up the loaf and fry it. You can imagine how it -smells-, let alone tastes." Some standards! At least Hotaru can rest assured she won't find bits of bird feet in her stew. The bone is just left aside for now. Hotaru blinks as Idrissa… can't take it anymore and goes running for the trash. "…yikes!" Hotaru peels off her apron and then washes her hands off quickly. "Rissa! Rissa! Are you okay? I've not heard of any stomach bugs… maybe we should take her to the infirmary though…"

Idrissa can still hear them talking about butchering, cooking, and livers.. She can actually see firelizard swimming in them, which only makes her upchuck more into the bin. She finally is able to stop after a few moments and a faint eh escapes her. "Can… I leave now.. Please..?" She is close to begging here it seems. The beastcrafter still looks pale, and her form quivers as if she isn't too sure if she can keep herself up at the moment.

"Oh, dear," says Lydia, setting down the pan and looking between that, the meat, and the knife. "Can you take her?" she asks Hotaru. "Only, I've got to finish chopping this meat, and the sauce for tonight hasn't been started yet… and we're still down a cook out to see her grandkids…" She picks up the knife and starts to resume the chopping, pausing in between. "I hope you feel better soon, Idrissa…" She smiles encouragingly.

Hotaru will talk about something else. Flowers and fresh air. Clouds. Clear running water. All sorts of things to help Idrissa get over her bout of nausea. Hotaru moves over towards Rissa to pat her back comfortingly. Apparently Hotaru also is impervious to vomit! There's a nod given to Lydia. "Sure. I can take her. Come on, Rissa… Let's go have a lie down at the healers…" Hotaru tugs Rissa's arm gently to lead her the quickest way out and into the fresh air. That always helps, right?

Idrissa isn't able to pay attention to whom all is talking to her, but she follows after Hotaru. "Fresh air? Ya that sounds good." She murmurs once able to get her apron off and uses her sleeve to wipe off her face before she is tugged on out towards someplace where there is not animal parts and so forth.

One of the drudges is promptly tasked with dealing with the bin of vomit, and Lydia waves to the girls as they depart. "Feel better!" she calls, then resumes her work. Soon enough, the smell in the kitchens is of roasted meat and spices. Should have stuck around, huh? But, hey, at least Idrissa will have a whole new perspective come dinnertime. And whole new suspicions about the meatloaf.

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