As the west winds shifted and the November monsoons dripped their last drop, the King and Queen of Tamarindia decided it was time for their annual banquet.
“Who should we invite this year?” asked the King. “Usual suspects?”
“Meh,” replied the Queen, scrunching up her nose. “I’m tired of the old crew. Let’s spice things up.”
“If we don’t invite the Duke and Duchess of Appleland they’re going to make a stink. Maybe launch some of their rotten citizens our way. And the Prince of Grapeovia will insist on an invitation after last year’s mix-up with Cherrovia.”
“Fine,” said the Queen. “Applelanders and Grapeovians can come. But can’t we invite some sovereigns from other regions? Tropicandia? The Isles of Paradise? Oceanica?”
“We can try,” said the King. “But who knows if they’ll show up.”
But the Queen was determined. She sent out invitations everywhere, borne by fast-flying carrier pigeons with brilliant red and gold plumage. Meanwhile back at the castle, preparations began. Not knowing exactly how many attendees to prepare for, the Queen ordered all of the food in the storehouse to be gathered, and additional supplies brought in from neighboring kingdoms. The cavernous banquet hall was cleared and cleaned.
When banquet day came, the greatest array of dishes ever seen in Tamarindia lay out on two hundred long tables. Scores of tamarind-apple chutneys, marinated lamb and goat stews, sweetbreads with tamarind paste, curries, and dessert tables overflowing with tamarind cookies and candies filled the hall. Strings of dried tamarind draped down from the ceiling, and lanterns made out of tamarind wax lit the hall in a soft amber glow. The ladies, wearing bracelets and earrings made from tamarind leaves, entered and took their places, followed by knights with ornamental seedpods around their forearms.
The delegations began to arrive. The Queen was delighted to see Dateish emissaries, adorned with strings of dried fruit around their necks, followed by dark Chocolatiers in shiny blue robes and golden headbands, and Lemonese soldiers in green tasseled uniforms. She couldn’t help but clasp her hands together when a delegation from oh-so-distant Cocondia arrived, wearing skirts of hundreds of brown husks around their waists, walking to the sound of the exotic tree drupes they clopped together in their hands. After a brief conference between the Dateish and Cocondian delegations, the King of Cocondia presented the King and Queen of Tamarindia with a small mahogany box, inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
“Please accept this token of unity and everlasting cooperation between our three realms.” The Queen opened the box and gave a small gasp of wonder as several perfectly spherical balls rose into the air and rotated in front of her. The very essence of each realm had been captured and fused together in a reflecting ball of light.
“These are magic,” said the Queen. “They will endure, much as the peace between our kingdoms will.” And as it turned out, she was right. Long-lasting peace ensued, built upon delectable culinary exchanges and a culture borne of multiple worlds.
- Food process the tamarind paste with the dates (can add a tb of water or so to help this along). Form into balls and roll in coconut.
- Enjoy how literally simple this recipe is, and take comfort in the hypothetical idea that world peace could be as easily achieved.