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26 December 2017 @ 12:12 pm
_Cooking Hot_ part 2  

Chapter Two

"A cook-off? With all the other embassies?" Ebsa boggled. "And I'm in charge?"

The ambassador smiled, or at any rate showed a whole lot of teeth.

"I . . . will have an equipment list, and consumables . . . How many people am I going to be feeding?" Ebsa looked out the windows. "Small sampler plates, perhaps? For thousands? One! May I borrow all your kitchen staff?"

"All of them?"

"On the day. Before then . . . I'll teach them a bit about sauces."

"Excellent. Go make some lists."

Ebsa left the ambassador's office, still a bit boggled. :: Nighthawk? Are you around? ::

:: Yes. But I'm not going to tell you what the Witches are going to cook. ::

Ebsa grinned. :: A challenge will be good for them. What I actually wondered was how many people live on Embassy. I know we and Earth both have a couple thousand on staff . . . and it's a family posting . . . but what about the rest?"

A long pause. :: Andrei says a bit under twenty thousand, with half of them living here. ::

:: And some people are bound to come over for the cook-off, out of shear curiosity, let alone the agents picking up information about everyone else. One! I hope the ambassador is going to back up his challenge with a huge budget for food! ::

He got a mental laugh in return.

He punched the button for the elevator and fired up his minicomp. Stared the list with 50,000 small disposable plates, 50,000 disposable forks, 100,000 paper napkins.

Tables and chairs. We can rent those.

He stepped out of the way as people exited the elevator, stepped on and tapped the ground floor button. Beef, chicken , tofu . . .

"Hey you! Shouldn't you be using the service elevator?" The man glaring at him looked young, but with that attitude he had to be a High Oner, so he could be as much as fifty.

Ebsa gave him his best baffled expression. "No." Dropped his gaze back to his comp.

Green peppercorn sauce, mustard cream sauce, or wine reduction?

"You're just a cook Ambassador Ashe is trying to steal from the Directorate. I don't have to put up with your presence."

The man was glowing. Not quite to the point that it could be considered a challenge, but . . .

Ebsa eased off on his outgoing shields for just a moment, then raised them back to his usual "polite public level." Which was enough to let other Oners know he was of the One, but no higher. He ignored the man, now pressed against the wall, watching him with alarm.

What else do you need for a cook off? Rice or pasta, beneath the meat sample?

The elevator doors opened, more people got on.

And how long is this fair going to go on? I could do pastries in the morning, and deserts well after lunch . . . if "lunch" is when the cook off is . . . or will it be an all day sort of thing?

The new people were looking over his field uniform and noses were raising, and glares coming his way. He nodded to pathetic office staff.

But, of course, people will be sampling food from all over. It's not like I have to give each one a full meal.

He got off with the rest but split off and headed for building three. The rest of the bunch turned either for building two—apartments and shopping mall—or the lines for the busses home.

Except for the idiot who not-quite glowed at him.

"I want to know who you are." Very snarly voice.

Ebsa glanced at him. "Ebsa Clostuone Montevideo. I'm not actually sure who I'm working for, at the moment."

No, not tofu, not in a contest. Mushrooms and steamed asparagus. Maybe a cilantro-problano cream sauce made with almond milk? Hmm, have to do a bit of experimenting . . .

"I am going to report you! Who is your immediate superior?"

"Ah, try Wxxo Withione. Not sure where he is, at the moment. Possibly back across at the quarantine world, checking everything. I suppose someone in here will know." Ebsa trotted up the stairs.

Gotta finalize a menu and make a comprehensive list of supplies and get it in early tomorrow. Tonight . . . I wonder if I can find either almond milk or cashew milk? I'd like to give an all vegan sauce a try.

muirecanmuirecan on December 26th, 2017 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ebsa completely pwned that high oner without ever really paying any attention to him. I would be amused to see the young puppy finding out that Ebsa is one of the top new warriors.

Edited at 2017-12-26 11:47 pm (UTC)
cnmckenney on December 27th, 2017 12:14 pm (UTC)
He gave nosey about the same level of attention that you give the person that you are dancing around in traffic. I think he was getting about 10% of Ebsa's attention. I wonder how long it will take nosey to realize he's been insulted as inconsequential?
(Anonymous) on December 26th, 2017 11:38 pm (UTC)
Almond milk?
Almond milk is the easiest thing in the universe to make. At dusk, fill a blender with a pint or 2 of filtered water and a cup or half cup of raw almonds (amount is up to taste and blender size). Let sit over night. Come morning, turn on blender. Boom, almond milk. For those with more delicate pallets, strain with cheese cloth, fine strainer, or stocking (to get the grit out).
(Anonymous) on December 27th, 2017 12:29 am (UTC)
RE: Almond milk?
That's a lot of almonds to blend for up to 20000 people. And for a cooking contest they'd have to be strained.
matapampamuphoff on December 27th, 2017 02:05 am (UTC)
Re: Almond milk?
I do cashews soak in milk then blended as the start for Korma dishes.
(Anonymous) on December 27th, 2017 12:15 am (UTC)
Not to quibble, but all vegan is a tautology. It's either vegan or not vegan. Like being only a little bit pregnant. 😃
mbarkermbarker on December 27th, 2017 01:56 am (UTC)
Hum... given the fun and games we've had with vegetarians visiting Japan -- we've had vegetarians who ate eggs and milk, one who wasn't vegetarian at all, but had a life-threatening allergy to all seafood and found it easiest to stick with vegetarian foods, and various other combos. The Jain vegetarian was probably the easiest -- once he explained that anything that was pulled from the ground was taboo, and that he had his own stock of foods. All vegan actually does make sense to me, simply because I've known so many who kind of played at the edges...
ekuah on December 27th, 2017 09:24 am (UTC)
There is a serious difference with vegan and vegetarian.
Vegetarian means basically 'no meat'
There are some discussions if fish should be considered as meat.

Vegan on the other hand means nothing made from animal products. So no meat, eggs, milk, etc, not even the shoes on your feet, or the soap on your bathroom sink, or the filling in your blanket.

So you see, 'all vegan' is NOT a tautology. There are many different level of veganism.
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on February 28th, 2018 07:46 am (UTC)
Vegan is not vegetarian. Even traditional vegetarianism comes in different styles. Traditional vegetarianism is no meat but does allow milk products and eggs. There is a version that also allows fish. Vegan means if it had anything to do with an animal you can’t eat it.
(Anonymous) on December 27th, 2017 12:24 am (UTC)
I'm so greedy for this. Great Christmas present. Thanks.