Sitting in a small back room of Le Vilain Caneton, Kane and Damian patiently awaited their upcoming meal. A modest table had been set up for them, draped with a white linen cloth. Drinks had already been poured and a cheap bottle had been left to distract them.
“So remind me again how you know these people and why we’re sitting in a back room.” Damian queried, swirling the dark amber liquid in his glass before taking a small swig.
“I told you earlier, Damian.” Kane responded, taking a drink himself and leaning back in his wooden chair. “The chef is a close personal friend of mine. We’d always stop by for a meal whenever our troupe was in town. As for why we’re sitting in here and not out there…” Kane gestured with glass in a wide sweeping arc. “If we were sitting out there, we’d be paying full price.”
At that moment, the door swung open and a shorter gentleman came in, carrying a silver dome in each hand. With an obvious practiced grace, the two domes slid from his hands to rest in front of the two men. With a flourish and a smile, he lifted both domes to reveal a steaming plate of food beneath.
“Mes frères, je présente un saumon rôti sur un lit de riz oriental. Sur le dessus est un filet de gastrique d’airelle et un saupoudrage de safran. Prendre plaisir!”
“Oh, mon ami!” Kane responded with eyes wide, “C’est magnifique! Tu es un artiste culinaire qui ne manque jamais d’impressionner. Merci!”
“De rien!” the chef responded with a subtle bow and proceeded to exit the room, leaving the pair to enjoy their meal.
With his attention clearly caught by the beautifully arranged dish, Kane didn’t notice the slight hesitation that came over Damian at the sight of what had been placed before him.
“I caught that this is salmon, but what else did he say was all of this?” Damian slowly asked, gently prodding the small slab of fish.
Looking up from his plate, a small pile of rice held in the air on his fork, Kane’s brow furrowed as he realized that Damian was nervous about the meal before him.
“He said that this is roasted salmon on rice from the Orient. On top is a lingonberry sauce and a dusting of saffron.” Kane replied slowly, pointing to each component as he explained. “You don’t want to try it, do you?”
“I’m not sure yet, to be honest.” Damian replied defensively. “I mean I was hoping for something a little less… fancy?”
“What do you mean less fancy!?” Kane said, forcefully setting down his fork. “This is salmon… on rice… from the Orient. The Orient, Damian! How can you want something less fancy?”
Taking a sip from his drink, Damian explained, “I just find that the simpler things are better. Like… rat on a stick or a royal hen cooked on a spit over an open fire. Mhmm… now that would be good.”
“I like those things too, but… look at this dish!” Kane said, indicating the plate with both hands. “This is a work of art, cooked to perfection. It’s not only a treat for the eyes, but a treat for the mouth and soul. In just a single bite you can experience far off places and cultures we’ll never see. It’s a story and a history culminating into a single bite. How can you not appreciate that? Plus, you forced me to wear your fancy uncomfortable clothes. The least you can do is try it.”
Pausing to gather his words, Damian thought carefully before responding, “I can appreciate that. I just think some rat would be better.”
“You’re hopeless…” Kane said laying his head down on the table with a thud.