Fort Weyr - Kitchen
After rising up an imposing flight of steps you enter an elaborate vaulted ceiling. The delicious smells that gently infuse the air drift out from this portion of the cavern. The head cook, Rickard, bustles about creating the masterpiece dishes that the weyr as a whole consumes. His extensive collection of prized copper cookware hangs upon their custom-made racks, reflecting soft light back out into the cavern proper. A handful of sub-cooks and helpers are engaged in an variety of food preparations, moving briskly but efficiently about their work. A pair of spit canines trot in their wicker wheels, continuously turning the spits with their slowly roasting joints that hiss and crackle over the fires.


While the rush of the morning wave is over, the kitchen cooks have departed to collect and review the weyr's most recent shipment of food stuffs. A pair of kitchen helpers have vanished to properly stuff one anothers wherries leaving one behind to do the prepwork for the afternoon meal and dinner times. Zelda looms over a cutting board, slowly sharpening the blade of her cleaver against the stone in smooth movements. She holds the cold steel up to the light and frowns as she runs her thumb across the edge. The young woman turns back, sharpening the blade once more. "Not fit enough to cut through bone in one swipe. There'd be bone shards in every bite."

With the crowds gone, that means Hotaru's duty has just begun. She's on dish duty, and there are always a lot of dishes that need to be cleaned. There's a scared looking weyrbrat cleaning alongside her. Or rather, drying. But Hotaru is working too fast for him and he's got a stack of hot wet dishes piling up in front of him. "If you slice through the bone won't that mean there's bone in every piece?" Hotaru adds another dish to the stack, then another tray to the drying rack next to her.
"The pieces will be larger and easier to remove than shards." Zelda peers through her long black bangs towards the girl, raising the blade to the light once more. After running her thumb along the edge, she offers a wide smile with even wider eyes at her reflection, slowly turning towards Hotaru. "Just makes cleaning the meat for stews and other things simpler, otherwise we'd never have meals done on time or fresh meat. How long are you on duty for this time?"

"I suppose so." Hotaru pushes her red glasses up her nose with her wrist, since her hands are all soggy. "Is it sharp enough now?" She asks Zelda as she holds up the blade again. "Maybe we ought to test it. I think they have a porcine hanging up in the cold store." Hotaru shrugs a bit. "Until I finish these." She looks at the weyrbrat frantically drying dishes. "If stumpy here ever finishes drying, that is. Then I'm off until lunch dishes. I was gonna go wandering in the woods after if you want. Unless you got chores? If you got to cut meat I can help."

"That porcine is next on the list I think," Zelda mutters as she slams the blade of the cleaver into the cutting board. She takes a step towards a stack of papers, gingerly lifting the top most just enough to see the words underneath. The pale girl nods, smiling. "Yes, we'll test the blade out when you're done. It needs to be quartered and the head has to be hole. It's going to be hallowed out, stuffed, then baked for a centerpiece."

The sound of the cleaver hitting the cutting board makes the weyrbrat jump, and Hotaru laughs at him a little. "You can finish up here, right Stumpy?" There's some quiet protesting and whining from him, but Hotaru ignores it and moves off to dry her hands before she goes into the cold store. After a bit she comes out with the porcine draped over one shoulder and plops it onto the big cutting area with a thunk. She dusts off her hands then. "Ew. Why do they do that? Staring at a dead pig-head doesn't really spark up my appetite. It's gotta be for some holders."

"I think they don't want it to go to waste. When they need broth, they'll use the head so they can serve the bones but we have more than enough in the larder for quite a while. Zel grins, removing the cleaver from the block of wood and she takes a step back, holding the blade handle first over to Hotaru. "Just make sure you get right across the neck. The rest is going to get rubbed and roasted later."

Hotaru wrinkles her nose at Zelda. "Still. It's gross. And so is sticking the leftover bits into a broth, but I guess it is what it is. It tastes good at the end." Hotaru grins and takes the cleaver from Zelda. "Here?" She asks, putting the blade up to its neck. But she doesn't wait for Zelda to respond, there's a nice whoosh and then a thunk as she brings down the cleaver through the porcine's neck and it hits the cutting board below. "Oop, I didn't get the whole thing." Another few whacks and it's head is severed completely. "Hey Stumpy, look!" She picks the head up by its ears and wiggles at the weyrbrat who looks like he might cry at any point, and instead turns his back to them and continues his work. Hotaru hands the cleaver back to Zelda then, handle first.

Zelda takes back the cleaver and places it off to the side in a safe spot while she begins to neatly arrange the body and the parts around it for easy access. The head is picked up and dropped into a metal roasting pan off to the side before she rolls up her sleeves. The young woman clears her throat, picks up the cleaver and begins to dismember the porcine in rough swift swings of the blade. One limb, two limbs, tail, back leg one and two. The pieces are moved and the remains flipped for better access. Zelda begins to hum a light cheery tune with a frown on her face while peering thoughtfully at the carcass. She taps the edge the cleaver lightly against her lower lip then shrugs, seperating the rib cage from the spinal column one thwack after another.

Hotaru ponders the head in a pan for a bit. "Are we cooking this now or should I just put it back into the cold stores?" The red head finds a knife for herself so she can start de-boning the bits of porcine that require it. Some things will just be left to the soup. "Have they taught you anything how to cook? Or did they just show you how to dismember animals?" In between slicing and dicing, Hotaru balances the tip of the knife on the end of her finger, catching it when it starts to tip over.

"So far just have been spending time with our butcher. He said a girl like me should know how to dismember and quarter a beast because it could definitely come in handy. He didn't think my spoon was sufficient." Zelda pauses and scratches at the corner of her mouth while glancing at the head staring cold eyed at the pair. She hums, tapping her index fingers in a little tune on the counter top. "Couldn't figure out why he would think my spoon would even be considered for dismembering and quartering beasts. Foolish man, perhaps he was just joking. The head just needs to be covered so it can begin to thaw in time for tonight. It's just a little chilly, once the little bit softens it can go in the smoker. Roasting it will make the face fall off and where's the fun in that?"

Hotaru laughs. "Are you sure that's what he meant? I hear new weyrlings have to do a lot of choppin'. For their dragons and all. Can your spoon cut through flesh?" Instead of a spork maybe Zelda carries around a spife. Hotaru does a little dance to the rhythm of Zelda's fingers. "What's the spoon for anyways?" Hotaru covers the pan with the lid and sets the head aside for thawing. There's no need for the head to be staring at them. "I dunno. It might be fun to watch the face fall off? But whatever they want to do with it. I won't be eating it." Hotaru sticks the knife she's using into the cutting board and turns to lean against the table. "It'd be funny to toss that head someplace where someone would get a scare if they found it.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.