I’ve just finished Winter, though I refuse to submit to the gloom and the fact that effectively, Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles has ended. (My mind is still telling me “NO. YOU STILL HAVE SEVERAL SHORT STORIES AND A NOVELLA TO DEVOUR!” so technically I’ve still got something else to sustain me for a short while longer.)
And while Winter is just as brilliant and rounds out the entire series in a fabulously explosive conclusion (and more thereafter), there was a charm in Cress that still pits it as my favorite of the series. It helps that its titular character is kickass in her own way, and continues to rock the portscreens even in the last book.
Anyway, one of the things I loved about Cress herself was her constant outlook whenever she experienced something new. Having been trapped in a satellite for a whopping seven years, it’s easy to understand that most of what she’s experiencing–touch, taste, feel, etc.–outside of her satellite are firsts.
Descriptions of food, in particular, played a bit of a role when she was on Earth for a brief time.
She nibbled slowly at first, trying to identify the Earthen foods. Peas she easily recognized–they had those on Luna too–but there were some other sorts of vegetables that she didn’t know, minced with rice and covered in a thick, aromatic sauce.
She scooped out a chunk of something yellowish and firm. She bit into it, and discovered it was tender and steaming on the inside.
“Don’t they have potatoes where you come from?”
“This sauce…what is it?”
“Just a simple curry. Do you like it?”
She nodded enthusiastically. “Very much. Thank you.”
It also played some role around Thorne, who had to work around his slight disability in Cress.
The drink smelled faintly of lemons. Taking a sip, he found that it was cold and frothy, tart and delicious. The absence of sudden warmth suggested there was no alcohol.
“Tamr hindi,” said Jamal. “Tamarind juice. My favorite thing in the trading cities.”
“Thank you.” Thorne took a bigger gulp, his cheeks puckering from the sourness.
And again when a list of an eight-course wedding meal was being described.
“For our third course, I thought a nice braised pork belly with green mango relish. That would then lead into our vegetarian entree, for which I recommend potol with poppy seeds on a bed of banana leaves. For the fifth course I was going to talk to caterers about some sort of shellfish curry, maybe with a vibrant coconut-lime sauce.”
There was just a lot of damn food in Cress. So of course by the end of it, I was going to at least make a semblance of the food that characters partook in.
Which led me to the “braised pork belly” which, to be honest, turned into a beef bulgogi with a seaweed salad on a bed of turmeric-infused quinoa. Which, if Priya Tashmi was describing this dish, would say it would blend “old traditions with modern sensibilities,” since, you know, I normally would have just used white rice to devour this.
Which also led me to the vegetable curry I imagined Cress to be eating when she was at the desert.
This was a little harder to do because I’m not particularly good at cooking curry, and I could have done without some of the textures coming from the vegetables. All the same, I totally wanted a potato-based curry so I threw in both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes, then pretty much doused my mixture in a coconut milk sauce.
And then, to wash it all out, some tamr hindi! Because honestly, the weather has been terrific lately and I was fortunate enough to have tamarind handy. Also, I frelling LOVE tamarind, so there.
(This particular concoction is a mixture of freshly squeezed tamarind and lemon, with a bit of sugar, ice, and water. Honestly, I could have gone an extra mile and added a bit of mango rum for a full-blown tropical experience. Maybe later *coughs*.)
Needless to say I experienced a bit of the Cress-adventures by reliving the story through food.