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Gorean food and drink is quite varied. Slave girls are trained to serve, prepare and cook a wide variety of foods and recipes. Even free women also learn how to prepare many recipes. Paga kajirae must be familiar with many foods and beverages so that they can properly serve the patrons of the tavern. Some foods and beverages are very similar to Earth ones and others are uniquely Gorean. This scroll shall explain a wide variety of foods and beverages on Gor. This is not an exhaustive list as there are obviously other foods and drinks on Gor which have yet to be described in the novels.
Not all of the food and beverages listed below will be available everywhere on Gor. Some are regional items that would be very rare outside of their place of origin. Not every tavern will stock all of these products. Some items would be too expensive for an average paga tavern to keep on stock such as Falarian wine or black wine. Other items would be so rarely ordered, that a tavern would see little profit in stocking the item. For example, a paga tavern in Thentis would see little need to stock fermented milk curds, a drink of the Wagon Peoples.
Ale: The north regions, like Torvaldsland, have a strong ale. Ale would be rarer outside of the northlands. In Torvaldsland, it would commonly be served in a drinking horn. In taverns south or Torvaldsland, it would simply be served in a cup or goblet.
Bazi Tea: This is an herbal tea that comes in many different varieties. Consider all the varieties of tea on Earth and you can see the multitude of possibilities for Bazi tea. Most people seem to forget that Bazi tea has such variety. Bazi tea is a common Gorean drink, enjoyed by High and Low Castes. It is commonly served hot and heavily sugared. It may be served in either of two fashions. First, there is a more traditional and formal serve. This serve does not reach the level of a Japanese tea ceremony, it is simply a more formal serve. The tea is carefully measured into three tiny cups, which are drank in rapid succession. Various sugars and milks may be added. Such a serve would rarely, if ever, be done in a paga tavern. It is more likely to be done in one's own home while entertaining. Second, Bazi tea is also drank informally, in regular-sized cups, with or without sugars and milks. Some taverns may have a pitcher of tea ready for its customers. Cakes and Bazi tea is a popular breakfast on Gorean holidays.
Black Wine: This is a coffee-like drink made from beans grown in the mountain city of Thentis. It is very strong and bitter. It is traditionally served very hot, with yellow or white sugars and powdered bosk milk, in tiny cups. Other sugars, spices or cream may also be served with it. The cups may have small handles or not. In some ways, it is like expresso coffee. In the river cities and some northern cities, the phrase "second slave" indicates that you do not want any creams or sugars with your black wine. This comes from the custom in some areas for two kajirae to serve black wine. One kajira is responsible for putting down the cups, taking the orders and seeing that the drink is prepared according to the customer's preferences. The second kajira only pours the black wine. In some areas, there are more formal blackwine services, such as in the Tahari region. Thentis does not trade the beans to make this drink. In Thentis, it is commonly only served in High Caste Homes. It is an expensive luxury outside the area of Thentis, affordable only by the wealthy. Most paga taverns would not serve blackwine due to its rarity and expense.
Hot Chocolate: Warmed chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree from the tropics. It is a rich and creamy drink. There are no known marshmallows on Gor. Not all tavern would carry this item.
Juices: There are a variety of juices on Gor as there are numerous fruits. Larma fruit juice is very popular.
Milk: Milk from the verr, bosk, and kaiila are common. Hot milk is also drank. Kaiila milk is reddish and has a strong, salty taste as it has a lot of ferrous sulphate. There are milk vendors in Gorean cities like the milkmen of Earth.
Beer: Rence beer is commonly available only in the marsh communities. It is steeped, boiled and fermented from crushed seeds and the whitish pith of the rence plant. It would be very rare to find this available in a tavern.
Falarian wine: This is an extremely rare wine that is rumored to exist. It is said to cost enough gold to buy a city. There is some indication that it does exist though only wealthy Ubars or Merchants might own a precious bottle. No paga tavern would have this wine.
Fermented Milk Curds: This is an alcoholic drink among the Wagon Peoples. It would be very rare to find this drink available outside of the lands of the Wagon Peoples.
Kal-da: This is an alcoholic drink that is served hot, almost scalding. It is made of diluted Ka-la-na wine, mixed with citrus juices and stinging spices. It is cheap and most popular with the lower castes. Paga taverns that catered to the Low Castes would serve this but higher class taverns would not. Most Warriors would not deign to drink kal-da.
Ka-la-na: This is commonly an almost incandescent red wine, bright, dry and powerful, made from the fruit of the Ka-la-na tree. The fruit can also be used to make dry, sweet and light wines. There are actually quite a variety of types of this wine. Many cities make their own brands and most people have their personal preferences. Boleto's Nectar of the Public Slave Gardens is a major brand of Ka-la-na served in Ar's public slave gardens. Boleto is a well-known winegrower from the vicinity of Ar. He is famous for the production of a large number of reasonably good, medium-grade Ka-la-nas. Ka-la-na is normally sold and served in bottles. It is said that this wine makes any woman a slave if but for an hour. An unnamed white wine exists on Gor and there are inferences in the books that lead one to conclude that white, or other color, ka-la-na may exist. There is no passage in the books that states ka-la-na is only red.
Mead: This is made with fermented honey, water and often spices. It is primarily drank in the north and favored over paga there. It would be rare to find this is a paga tavern.
Pagar-Sa-Tarna: This word translates to the "Pleasure of the Life-Daughter" and it is commonly called "paga" for short. Its full name is rarely used. It is a fermented brew made from Sa-Tarna grain. It is probably the most popular alcoholic drink on Gor. There are many varieties, usually named for their city of origin, such as Ar, Tyros, Ko-ro-ba, Helmutsport, Anango, and Tharna. The primary difference in these pagas is usually the spices or grains added. Paga is normally served at room temperature. Paga may also be served warm or hot, which is most popular in Cos and the lands of the north. Some claim that you feel the effects of paga sooner if it is heated. In taverns outside of Cos and Torvaldsland, you would need to specifically asked for your paga to be heated. Paga is a strong drink and is commonly cut with water in taverns. It may be bought from merchants in bottles or botas.
Palm Wine: This is a big export from the city of Schendi. There was no description given of this wine so its color, flavor and such are unknown.
Sul Paga: This alcoholic drink is made from suls, a vegetable like a potato. It is most like strong vodka or moonshine. It is clear, almost tasteless, and very strong. It is served at room temperature. It is seldom available outside of a peasant village. It would be a rarity in a paga tavern to find sul paga available.
Ta Wine: This wine is made from the famous Ta grapes of Cos. Ta grapes also grow in areas outside of Cos and wine can also be made from those grapes. Thus, different cities have their own varieties of Ta wine. The color of this wine was never stated in the books.
Turian Liquors: Turian wines are sweet, syrupy, flavored and sugared heavily. Their wines are made specifically so that you can add various spices and sugars to it. They are an acquired taste. The liqueurs of Turia are regarded as the best on Gor.
Many Gorean wines are very strong, 80 to 100 proof. Most Earth wines in comparison are only about 12 proof. Thus, wine may commonly be cut with water. This occurs often when wine is drunk at homes at meals, at certain parties and in some taverns. A wine krater, a mixing bowl, is used to mix the wine and water. "Krater" is an ancient Greek term that means "mixing bowl." If the wine is not cut, it might also be served in very small amounts. At more raucous parties or taverns, the wine is rarely cut or only in a slight amount.
There are a number of common drinking vessels in the taverns of Gor. There are generally no restrictions over what cup or bowl you use to serve a certain drink. Paga and wine can be served in nearly any drinking vessel. Most taverns will have ordinary vessels of cheap metal or pottery. They will not have vessels of gold or silver. Only the most expensive of taverns might have such expensive items.
Goblets, of various materials, are the most common vessel in taverns. Some goblets have rings, maybe four or five, around the cup area and a patron may ask for his cup to be filled to a certain ring. Sometimes bowl-like vessels are also used. A kylix, an ancient Greek term, is a footed, two-handled cup. A kantharos is a deep drinking cup with a high-footed part and upraised handles to grip it. It derives from the Greek word meaning "dung beetle." Some peoples use drinking horns. The Wagon Peoples and Torvaldslanders both use such horns. A bota is a leather flask commonly used for paga and wine. Most botas are made of verrskin. A bota is squeezed to release a stream of liquid. Botas are commonly carried by travelers, as they are portable and not subject to breakage. A bota would not be served within a paga tavern. Wine and paga may also be sold in bottles of various sizes. A hydria, another Greek term, is a high-handled, water vessel. It is a curious aside that the drinking vessels on Gor almost all derive from Greek sources.
There are many types of food on Gor and all women, free and kajirae, learn how to prepare a variety of meals. Trained kajirae especially learn how to prepare intricate meals, many with an alleged aphrodisiac effect. "Sa-Tassna," that literally means "Life-Mother," is the general Gorean word for "meat" though it can also refer to "food" in general.
Fruits: These include such fruits similar to Earth fruits like apricots, berries, cherries, dates, grapes, melons, olives, yellow peach, yellow pear, plums, pomegranates, raisins, strawberries. The cherries of Tyros are famed. There is a yellowish, red-striped spherical variety of melon. The red olives of Tyros and the Torian olives are very popular. There are also fruits indigenous to Gor. These include larmas, ram-berries, Ta grapes, and tospits. There are two varieties of larma, a hard larma and a segmented juicy larma. The hard variety is red with a crunchy shell like an apple. It has a single-seed, a large stone, and thus is also called a pit fruit. If a slave offers a larma to her master, it is a plea to be raped. The segmented type is more similar to an orange. Ram-berries are small, succulent reddish berries with edible seeds. It is like a tiny plum. The tospit is a yellowish-white peachlike fruit, about the size of a plum. It has a fairly hard-fleshed fruit and a bitter taste. It is commonly eaten sliced with honey, used in syrups, or its juices used as a flavoring. It usually has an odd number of seeds except for the rare, long-stemmed variety. Seamen eat it to prevent against disease and is thus sometimes called seamen's larma. Ta grapes may have originated on the island of Cos though they are now grown in many areas. They may be the size of a tiny plum and are often peeled by slaves before eaten.
Vegetables: These include such vegetables similar to Earth ones like cabbage, carrot, corn, garlic, mushroom, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkins, radish, squash, and turnips. There are also vegetables indigenous to Gor such as katch, korts, suls and vangis. Katch is a foliated leaf vegetable, likely similar to lettuce, cabbage or spinach. The kort is a brown and thick-skinned, sphere-shaped vegetable which is about six inches wide. The interior is yellow, fibrous and heavily seeded. It grows in the Tahari region and is often served sliced with melted cheese and nutmeg. Suls are a tuberous vegetable like a potato. They are large, thick-skinned, starchy, and yellow-fleshed. There are a thousand ways to prepare and serve suls. Vangis are an unknown type of produce. They are mentioned though never described in the novels.
Sa-Tarna: This is a yellow grain and the staple crop of much of Gor. There is a brown variety grown near and in the Tahari that has been specifically developed to withstand the hotter temperatures of that area. Most Sa-Tarna is now ground in mills. It is used to make the popular Sa-Tarna bread. This bread is baked in ovens and commonly made in round flat loaves. Larger loaves are commonly cut into eight pieces and small loaves into four pieces. The bread may be served with honey, melted cheese, melted butter or unmelted butter. Many are under the misconception that the bread is cut into six pieces. This is based on two references in the early books. Multiple references in the latter books though correct this error and even give a reason for commonality of the eight-slice cut. As there are eight tarsk bits in a copper tarsk, bread is also similarly cut. There are other grains available on Gor. One type makes black bread which is most common with the Low Castes. It is cheaper and of poorer quality than Sa-Tarna bread.
Soups and Stews: These are very popular on Gor and come in a wide variety. One such soup is sullage made from Tur-pah leaves, suls, kes, and anything else around. Kes is a salty, blue secondary root of the Kes shrub. Stews with meat and vegetables are very common in low caste homes.
Porridge: There is sul porridge and grain porridge. Both are often seasoned and some people prefer to season it themselves. A hand-rack of small vials and pots of seasonings, spices and condiments will often be brought with the porridge.
Meats: The most common meats are tabuk, bosk, tarsk and verr. Tarsk is rather salty, like pork. Many of these meats are roasted over an open flame. They are served in a variety of ways. In taverns, cubes of meat may be cooked and served with a variety of sauces for dipping. Sausages are also made with some of these meats. Vulo is the primary type of poultry. At least some of the meat of the vulo is white meat. It too is served in a myriad of ways. Its eggs are also eaten.
Seafood: There are many varieties of fish and shellfish eaten including carp, clams, oysters, eels, crayfish, grunts, shark, and parsits. The blue, four-spined Cosian wingfish is a tiny, delicate fish and is a great delicacy, especially its liver. The clustered, black tiny eggs of the white grunt are similar to caviar. In the equatorial waters, most of the fish are poisonous to eat due to certain seaweeds they eat which are harmless to them. The river fish though are generally good to eat.
Other foods: Butter and cheeses from verr, bosk and kaiila are common. Rice and beans are also common.
Wakapapi: This is a word in the languages of the Red Savages that means "pemmican." Pemmican is a word used by the Native Americans of Earth to describe a certain type of food, similar to the one on Gor. Pemmican are soft cakes, made in various ways depending on what one adds in the way of meat, herbs, seasonings and fruit. One common way on Gor is to take strips of dried kailiauk meat, thinly sliced, and pounded fine almost to a powder. Then you add crushed fruit, commonly chokecherries, to the meat. This is then mixed with kailiauk fat and then divided into small, flattish, rounded cakes. It is normally carried by hunting or war parties.
Spices: There are many spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, spikenard, various salts including red and yellow salt, and hot peppers. The Tahari is known for very spicy foods.
Desserts: Desserts are very popular on Gor especially with kajirae. Chocolate, pudding, pastries with creams and custards, molasses, honey, hard candy, mint sticks, flavored, minced ices and nuts are all common. Sweetmeats are candied or crystalized fruits. There are at least four varieties of different sugars including white and yellow. Not all of the types of sugar are listed though so various other colored-sugars may exist. Red sugar is a real possibility. Tastas, also known as stick candies, are soft, rounded, succulent candies, usually covered with a coating of syrup or fudge, and mounted on a stick like a candy apple. Sweets are a common reward for kajirae whose diet is commonly rather bland.
There is little cold storage on Gor. Most food is preserved by being dried or salted. Ice is cut from ponds in winter and then stored in icehouses under sawdust. You may go to the icehouse to get it, or have it delivered from ice wagons. Ice is an expensive luxury, especially in the summer. Few paga taverns will have cold storage areas. It would be much more common for them to store certain foods and drinks in a basement area to keep it cool, though not really cold. An amphora is a two-handled, narrow-necked vessel with a narrow, usually pointed base. It is a storage container for liquids and is commonly put into a storage hole in the ground at night to keep it cool.
The most common utensils used on Gor are knives and spoons. There is an eating prong, similar to a fork, which was invented in Turia. It is not commonly used outside of that city. The wealthy of other cities though may use these prongs. Eating prongs would be very rare in taverns outside of Turia.
Goreans are very sociable people and enjoy giving dinners and having parties. At such events, it is an honor to be seated above the bowls of red and yellow salts. It denotes your high station and status. The Turian feast is a unique dinner. It consumes the better part of a night and there may be as many as 150 courses. Etiquette requires that you at least taste each course. Guests may use a tufted banquet stick, dipped in scented oils, and a golden bowl to vomit into between courses. Different wines are commonly served with each course, specially chosen to complement the cuisine.
There is no precise Gorean expression for a restaurant. There are public kitchens where people can get a meal but they are more functional than social places. You can get food at paga taverns and cafes but those establishments serve many other functions as well. There is no social place where you simply go to eat that would be akin to an Earth restaurant.