While biologically and historically omnivorous, Xentorns are a philosophically vegetarian race, as such they have no surviving recipes for any sort of flesh.
Traditionally this race grazes throughout the day on various foods in light meals and snacks. In this respect various pies, especially custard, fruit, or egg are quite popular; as are fruits and berries in raw or simple cooked form (e.g. boiled and spiced).
The single, traditional, Xentoran daily meal is a time for family and friends to gather and have a mini celebration and as such mimics, in small scale, the feasts of a temple gathering.
The family and guests gather in the household common room on cushions with low tables set close to hand. Or, for those associating heavily with other races often, they may gather in more local means such as in a dining room around a table. Regardless of setting, the meal is served in specific courses.
First comes a small, warm tayæ, a dish in small hand bowls eaten with a spoon and consisting of one or more stewed berries mixed with a sauce made of mild spices (typically described by Terrans as reminiscent of mulling spices) in a mix of a rich cream and/or butter (traditionally made from a plokëo, one of many Xentoran fruits similar to the coconut of Earth but just as often from an animal milk), and a syrup made from nectar or honey. This is served with a very small glass of a simple, weak wine or with water with a bit of fruit juice squeezed into it.
Next will come the raìsu, a cold soup made from pureed melons and nuts, and often features olkaeri, a fruit many have said is what one would get if a fig and date were crossed. This is eaten scooped by a soft pita or naan like bread. No drink is typically served with this course.
Next is the main dish, or yaero. Xentoran cuisine flourishes on the experimental and adopts new preparation methods and ingredients readily. The most consistent thing about a yaero is that it will be an experience, whether for good or ill.
Favourite themes in the dishes, though, do crop up out of long racial habit. On Xentor, and as a result, often elsewhere, the main course will rely heavily on foods similar to the dozens of species of tyheari, a family of fruits very similar, and potentially related to the plantain or banana of Earth and known to be related to the Ilzwik hathbok fruits. Other popular foods are various sweet tubers, and various things best described, in English, as figs, dates, and coconuts. These along with nuts, legumes, various rhubarb like plants, and vegetables will be cooked together. There are various family recipes, successful yaeroa of the past that were recorded for making again, but no really widespread recipes.
Xentoran cookbooks do contain a number of tayæ, raìsu and faeriea recipes, but for yaero it will merely give suggestions and advice such as one in a currently popular book Xentoriae Laeysô Junillash Qaelù [A Xentoran Take/View of/at Junillian Foods/Cooking], “a reasthê’s flavour and aroma is brought out and enhanced if you sauté it cut into small cubes then marinate it overnight with a mix of equal parts threasedi oil and a hearty Plotreadi beer”.
Many different kinds of drink might be served with a yaero, but most often it will be a refreshing, cool, mellow flavoured ale, any complimentary variety of wine, or coffee.
Finally is dessert, or faeriea. Xentorns do not, traditionally, eat sweet faerieaï. They prefer a final course that is spiced. Rarely to the degree of a strong pepper, though it is not unheard of; instead it will be more along the lines of nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, grishokna and the like. Popular faerieaï include seasoned custards, squash or tuber pies (Xentorns who’ve visited Earth often feel quite at home with a slice of pumpkin or sweet potato pie, for example), and similar preparations. This course is most often enjoyed with some kind of tea or naewi, a drink made of unsweetened cocoa mixed with milk from certain fruit nuts and juices from chilies.
A drink rarely found off of Xentor, but highly prized when it can be gotten is daesriu, a popular drink to enjoy with faeriea that consists of fermented milk (plant or animal is equally likely) sweetened with honey and flavoured with various herbs from mint and ginger families then served ice cold. It is, deservedly, noted for its ability to aid in digestion or to soothe digestive issues.
A Xentorn living alone, who cannot enjoy a meal with any friends or family will, normally, not have one – instead lightly snacking for all her food in a day. Some will prepare a lone five courses and enjoy them in private celebration of the day, usually as a self congratulation for a personal achievement, but many Xentorns find any solitary meal, regardless of reason, depressing so will find other means of self-congratulation.
Be forewarned: invitation to a Xentoran meal can be a truly fantastic experience, it being equally likely to be utterly horrible as profoundly enjoyable. As with all people, there’re varying degrees of competency, skill, talent, and instinct for cooking among Xentorns. And as in most beings, there is a varying degree of awareness of this. Unlucky individuals have reported waking years later to nightmare remembrances of a disastrous yaero. Others have likened various yaeroa to sexual and/or spiritual bliss. As with any race of humans, the average Xentorn knows her limits and will stick to what she is good at, and saves extremes of experimentation for herself or for certain of the less pleasant Xentoran celebrations.
Please note, too, that no part of a Xentoran meal will, normally, include any drink stronger than 10%ABV, as anything stronger is usually deemed to overpower the flavours of the food or to numb the palate. Exceptions exist in the form of adopted customs on various worlds, and individual tastes.
Some final notes regarding traditional diets of the Xentorn people: a common item for midday snacks is a readseuo, a deepfried starchy vegetable on a stick eaten with various condiments.
Also no commentary on Xentoran food is complete without mention of the widespread stereotype that Xentorns neither enjoy nor are competent in creating distilled beverages. Which, after extensive study is partially deserved.
Xentorns do not seem to have any racial aversion to distilled drinks, though they are slightly more wont to avoid high proof liquors, being 15% more likely to find drinks over 25% ABV to be unpleasant, or to enjoy them only sparingly. Not a significant margin, really, and this stereotype is more deserved by the Glokirthe people who seem to be quite loathe to drink anything much over 5% ABV — despite this they are popularly depicted as boozers and drunks, proving many things about popular perceptions and entertainment, one is sure, but will leave to the xenopsychologists and sociologists to work out.
The stereotype of being poor distillers is rather accurate, however. While it would be ridiculous to say that they never developed the technology of distillation, they never seem to have applied it to beverage making – only to purification methods and medicine production. The only distilled beverage made on Xentor that might pre-date their exposure to other races (though evidence for this is thin at best) is kearuiea. This liquor is generally 20-35% ABV and is made from the kaerophi nut, a plant so similar to the Earth hazelnut that xenobotonists have spent centuries trying to determine if the two plants in fact, share a common ancestry. It is also the only distilled beverage from Xentor that is often considered to be any good, all others being deemed rotgut or little better. Some Galfarran bartenders have been known to give a different, more expensive drink, on the house, to someone so down on their luck as to order a Xentoran liquor that isn’t kearuiea. The drinking of these distillations is also a popular dare at many parties among Junillian youths.