Head Cheese

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Head Cheese
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Consumables
Appearance Block of opaque gelatin with chunks of meat and vegetables.
Difficulty 5/10 (0-Easiest)
Creator Unknown
Class Lower and Middle Classes
Ingredients
  • 6 ham hocks
  • 2 pounds of veal shank
  • 3 to 4 litres of water
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • Assorted seasonings/spices (most popular are peppercorn and bayleaf)
  • Salt to taste

The Tarkkin Ailor live in some of the most rugged terrain of Drixagh, and as a result, often must do anything to preserve their food supplies. Thanks to outside trade goods, however, such a necessity has grown rare for the Culture, and their only common-place dish known as Head Cheese is now only served at special events. Not true cheese, and not made from an animal’s head (anymore), the dish is a gelatin-based substance possessing animal meat, and root vegetables such as carrots and other greens are routinely added into the dish as well.

History

Head Cheese is a special dish made by the isolated Ylhällä Tribe of the Tarkkin people, who sit in the mountains of Drixagh which are occupied by the Culture. The dish has been made for generations, from the earliest years that the Ylhällä had access to the materials needed to make. While originally formed from the meat of their native animals, following the collapse of the Skagger Horde the Tarkkin gained access to new food products for their cooking. While a majority was ignored, the preservation methods of the Ylhällä were no longer as direly needed, and the dish became a specialty only served at special events, making use of special, outside ingredients like pork. Outsiders themselves have been rather adverse to the dish, given its unappealing name, as the dish once did make use of the meat from an animal’s head. However, this practice is almost totally dead, and those who have dared to try the dish have benefitted from its nutritional boost to the body. Still, the dish remains local to Drixagh, where it will likely remain so long as it possesses such a concerning term in its name.

Preparation

Head Cheese is formed through a long though simple process. First, the meat must be combined together into a pot of cold water, with the water fully covering all of the meat and brought to a boil. Once it has boiled, it should be reduced to a simmer for as much as three hours. Any foam on the surface should be skimmed away, while the vegetables should be chopped, peeled, and added into the pot along with the salt and other seasonings. Once the meat falls off the bone, it should be removed from the heat and separated, with the vegetables, meat, and broth separated apart, and the bones being thrown away. The meat should then be taken and chopped up, before being returned to the pot and cooked until browned. Once that is done, moulds should be taken and filled with vegetables on the bottom, meat on top, and then the broth to finish the dish before being left in a cold place to solidify, with the excess fat cut off afterward.

Characteristics

  • Head Cheese looks like a pale or cloudy block with pieces of meat and vegetables sitting in it.
  • Head Cheese has little to no smell given its method of preparation, though some may get wisps of fat depending on how much is in the individual Head Cheese.
  • Head Cheese is dense and gelatinous, with a prominent taste of the meat involved to make it along with the actual pieces of meat. The vegetables and further seasonings also hit the taste buds when bitten into.

Trivia

  • While, in ancient times, Head Cheese was often formed in water-proof pouches left to hang in the mountain cold outside of the Kotas of the Ylhällä tribe, modern Head Cheese benefits from the use of wooden or metal boxes.
  • Some have wondered if the Ylhällä had contact with the Fridurfolk in the past, and adapted Head Cheese from efforts to replicate the dish Höfsauð.

Accreditation
Writers HydraLana
Processors WaterDruppel, AlphaInsomnia, FireFan96
Last Editor HydraLana on 12/6/2020.

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