|The Ai-Naidari Guidebook|
Some names, then, for utensils:
Serving plates are called yeqev (singular, yeqevi), and serving spoons are lolnev (lolnevi). This is also the word for “shovel.”
The single plate you eat your serving off of is your jzangavi (plural, jzangav). If you are issued a bowl for food also, that is a yolikuli (yolikul, plural). If you are in a restaurant, you also get a gav qeja (more on that in the next section).
Bowls for drinking are called yolnav (one yolnavi). Some drinks are served in cups, which are called bipren, or glasses, nubril. Bowls are the preferred way to drink, but glasses and cups do show up on tables, depending on the drink. Some drinks are never served in cups or glasses however, like tea (in the same way we could drink hot coffee from a glass, but most of us would put it in a mug).
In addition to the bowls and plates, you will have your napkin holder, the kul kupi (the word kup meaning “small precious boxes”), a spoonish sort of thing called a nepi (plural nep) and a small cup/bowl for sauce called a bip hefa, which translates, more or less, to “bowl of yummy.”
Note that bowls are frequently used for ceremonies. A ceremonial bowl, however, is a quni (plural, qun). You do not mix the two, linguistically or in practice.
FOOD CARTS AND RESTAURANTS
Like us, the Ai-Naidar are fond of restaurants, probably because they think of eating as a social affair. Every district will have a selection of restaurants—places you walk in and sit or stand at tables to eat—and food carts, which will be set up here and there throughout the day (and tend to move on schedules).
Restaurants, called ushkev, (singular is irregular ushkevani), tend to be themed on their chef’s interests: one chef might enjoy the preparation of fish, another might be more interested in desserts and small drinks (nav kiri, “small drinks,” are things that are drunk not for nutrition, but for taste, and come in limited servings; the Ai-Naidar would call coffee a small drink, or cocktails). Each district will have some number of these restaurants, specific to the personalities there. Restaurant owners and employees are almost always Merchants, though there are the occasional chefs who have risen to the level of Public Servitude by becoming so beloved and necessary to the functioning of their districts that they’re rewarded.
Restaurants serve their food family style by default. When you arrive you are given the list of meals available that day and the first question you ask the person you’ve brought is, “What should we eat?” rather than “What do you think you’ll get?” the way we might. If you are dining alone, you will be served a special single-person serving, called a jzankuli. You can also request a single-person serving if you and the people you’re with are set on having separate meals, but your food will be served with a “sharing plate,” (gav qeja) specifically for that purpose: Kherishdar doesn’t charge for sharing plates!
Restaurants all keep the same hours, from the beginning of the public “day” until after visiting hours end in the evening.
Food carts, called gishirash (singular gishirashi), are also specific to their district, and tend to set up during specific times and at specific places; so the fruit pocket vendor will be on the corner by the physician in the morning, but will leave for the afternoon, or after he sells out. Food carts might have cooked food or edible produce, but all of it will tend to be small and easy to take with you.
As with restaurants, food carts tend to assume sharing; if the food can be, it will be prepared or scored so that they can easily be broken apart and given to someone else. This sort of easy-to-eat-easy-to-share food is called dari-dari, which I assume came from “Ai-Naidari, Ai-Naidari,” (“person, person,” a sort of “one for you and one for you!” thing). So you might buy a hot fruit pocket from a street cart vendor, and it will come crimped in the center so you can break it off and give half to someone (without burning yourself). Or you can break it off and save the other half for yourself for later.
My suspicion about the true difference between restaurants and food carts involves (as with everything) the caste system. Restaurants tend to be run by Merchant families, and are passed down by people who love feeding people and cooking. Food carts, on the other hand, tend to involve a single person’s passion: my observation is that they’re how Ai-Naidar deal with someone from some other caste who is mad to cook while the rest of his family—Priests, Guardians, farmers, etc—look on, puzzled. Such people are released to the Merchant caste in a way that allows them to feed people without needing a staff or infrastructure… their only other alternative is to become a chef for someone above the Wall of Birth, which would put them in the Servant caste, and when their liegelord or lady evaluates their ishas, they will take into account their interests and personality before suggesting one role or the other.
I should note that beneath the Wall of Birth, everyone cooks. Families meter out those duties according to their own personalities and whims: one family might have the same people doing the cooking because they’re good at it and enjoy it, while other families might rotate cooking as part of the chores.
Food is a big topic, perhaps not surprisingly…!
Mirrored from MCAH Online.