Then one day her Gran said she was old, dying, and must soon leave her. The princess felt such sorrow at these words and begged to be able to do anything to ease her going. 'Anything? Only one thing,' said the old lady, 'the princess must go outside the city walls and find the roast and bring it back.' If she found the roast, the princess would find a magic so powerful that her life would become a wondrous thing.
So Ria, the Storyteller in the second of the Sefuty Chronicles, relates the story of the first Chronicle. Ria’s self-imposed mission is to turn recent and painful history into ‘Once upon a time’ stories to ease pain and hurt, already in this second book the prosaic is turned into magic.
Ellen’s Tale, the first of the Sefuty Chronicles, does indeed deal with roast lamb. In a city that for fifty years has been living off manufactured food pastilles Ellen’s great grandmother, survivor of the Great Climate Wars, longs to taste ‘real food’ again before she dies. Ellen is sent out to do her bidding. Aided by Bix who is a genetically manipulated soldier she begins the quest. Bix takes her to a village where food is farmed; this is where she will find roast lamb.
Ellen has never eaten anything other than the pastilles, she struggles with ‘real food’. On her first day there she finds she is expected to eat it.
I tried. I choked and spluttered. I disgraced myself. The temperature was too high, the texture was so strange and the taste was indescribably horrible.
I tried the food a second time. A small mouthful as Bix advised. Held it in my mouth. It filled my mouth and not only stayed but seemed to expand. It intruded into the whole cavity. I was aware of roughness and grease …. Oh Gran, you never warned me. It was horrid. It was disgusting. It was impossible.
Food of course is only a small part of what she has to struggle with on her course to a new life with Bix, because of course they fall in love and are then separated. It is a love story of sorts!
The series is called the Sefuty Chronicles and the word Sefuty itself is taken from food security. Se for security and fu for food, as it is pronounced. The Sefuty Line is the route taken to transport food for the City. Heavily mined and patrolled by the Feral Soldiers, such as Bix, it is a magnet for those who are starving, outside the walls. The countryside outside the City walls is one devastated by war, reliant on the vagaries of weather and luck to be able to produce food. Millions have died of starvation in the back story and survivors are on the edge of extinction.
Ellen and Bix will need to learn not only how to eat ‘food’ but also how to grow, harvest, and preserve it. With no fossil fuel there are no tractors, fertilisers or pesticides. Farming has crashed back to the labour intensive methods of a bygone age and, as then, a bad harvest caused by adverse weather, disease or pests could mean disaster. Food, and the lack of it, plays an important role in the whole series written and still to come.
And the ‘roast lamb’? Well, it’s my absolute favourite dish.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing some Food For Thought, Alberta!
You can find Alberta at: