Gehennese cuisine is based on a grain staple. In the Archaic Period this is provided by sorghum, but this is replaced in the [[[classical period | Classical]] and Decadent Periods by rice. The rice is generally unpolished (brown) in the Classical Period, but is often polished (white) in the Decadent Period.

This staple is supplemented in plenty by a wide variety of fruits, including bananas, mangoes, mangosteens, soursops, coconuts, jackfruit, durian, passionfruit, figs, lychees, and melons. Garden vegetables are also eaten in quantity.

Eggs are a common protein food. In the Archaic Period these are usually hens’ eggs, later more likely to be ducks’ eggs. On the other hand, the Gehennese do not drink milk or eat any dairy food—the thought would disgust them.

The most commonly-eaten flesh food is fish, including shellfish and aquatic crustaceans, although the availability of such food diminishes rapidly as one moves inland from the coast. In the Archaic Period small game (such as birds and monkeys) is often eaten in place of fish by inland-dwellers. In the later periods it is largely replaced by frogs, fish, and reptiles from the rice-paddies. Poultry is the livestock most commonly raised for the table. In the Archaic Period the most common poultry is domesticated junglefowl (bantam chickens), but later they are largely replaced by ducks, which can be raised in ricefields, feeding on the pests.

Pork and beef are luxury foods, eaten only by the rich and at festival-times, after pigs and oxen have been sacrificed to the daimons. Gehennese meat is well-bled, the blood being the daimons’s portion of the sacrifice.

The dietary importance of large game (wild boar, venison, etc.) diminishes with the decline of hunting as a sport a populations grow and access to jungle is restricted.

Gehennese food is eaten fresh: storage is rarely necessary, and hanging would be dangerous in Gehennum’s warmth. Part of the reason that beef and pork are eaten only at festivals is that there must be mouths enough to eat a whole beast before it goes off.

Gehennese cooks cut food into small pieces and cook it quickly at high temperatures, stir-frying or boiling in broth, or sometimes roasting on spits. Spices and fish sauce and other flavourings are used, but a good cook seeks to bring out and enhance the flavour of the food, and not to smother it.
A major meal usually includes several different-tasting (and, ideally, complementary) dishes to accompany the rice, preceded by soup, followed by fruit or other delicacies, and served with tea, coffee, wine, or beer.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.