Online:A Culinary Adventure, Volume 2
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Today Mach-Makka took me on a tour of his impressive caterpillar farm. Of course, I use the term "farm" loosely. In actual fact, the farm is just a series of small reed enclosures that each house hundreds of caterpillars. I was shocked by the sheer variety. I saw long caterpillars, fat caterpillars, orange and purple-striped caterpillars—I've never seen such diversity! I asked a few questions, but Mach-Makka's limited mastery of Cyrodilic continues to interfere with our repartee. I've attempted to learn some Jel to bridge the language gap, but it is slow going to be sure. Still, he tries to help me along. I'm told that he thinks I'm hilarious. Of course, it's impossible to tell such things with Argonians.
I asked if he ate the caterpillars and he seemed amused by this. He simply shook his head and took me into a larger enclosure. When he ignited the lamp, the room burst into a spray of colors. Huge butterflies and moths erupted from the walls, dancing around the lamp in a cyclone of beating wings. He gestured at some of the larger specimens and spoke at length in pig-Cyrodilic. He encouraged me to grab a few before leaving the enclosure.
Eating moths and butterflies is a challenging but rewarding culinary experience. Most outsiders who are brave enough to sample the local cuisine remove the wings before eating. Mach-Makka offered to remove them for me, but I refused. He said something to his assistant in Jel and for a moment both seemed mildly amused. That probably means Mach-Makka said something fantastically funny. A few moments later, he served me five Green Slipper-Tails in a traditional "ajum" (a woven tray with a netted lid). I set upon them with relish!
A truly satisfying butterfly dish hinges on the delicate art of "Iuheeez," or "wing folding." Argonian master chefs use their claws to bend and fold the wings into tiny but ornate edible sculptures. Unfortunately, local custom dictates that outsiders fold their own wings. I made my best effort to replicate the simplest "Xeech" fold, but I wound up making quite a mess. Even so, the meal was delicious. Green Slipper-Tails are perhaps the sweetest of the Slipper-Tails species—tasting of honey-grass with a sweet but chalky finish. Hopefully, I'm provided with many more opportunities to master butterfly cuisine!