An ode to Odo’s cooking and the culinary culture of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

An ode to Odo's cooking and the culinary culture of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

welcome to Close Readings! On this collection, Leah Schnelbach and their friends dive into the tiny, bizarre moments in popular culture — from books to theme songs to viral web hits — which have sunk into our minds, discovered rent-stabilized residences, began group gardens and refused to be pushed out by company pursuits. This time, Chana Porter pulls a chair as much as the desk and praises Odo’s makes an attempt to prepare dinner on Star Trek: Deep Area 9.

I fantasize in regards to the meals tradition of Star Trek: Deep Area 9 greater than another invented universe. I need to attempt a sip of spring wine or style the spicy taste of hasperat. And my kingdom for a raktajino! Further robust Klingon espresso is talked about briefly in different collection, however nobody appears to drink as a lot of it as senior officers on DS9. Double gentle, double robust, your replicator or mine?

Maybe it is the combination of recognizable terrestrial culinary cultures with alien civilizations on the boardwalk that provides DS9 such energetic, vibrant heat?

I do not suppose it is shocking that when my second novel got here out, I began to evaluate DS9 earlier than going to mattress. I prefer to joke that possibly as a result of I am triple most cancers, I am obsessive about the present the place they dwell on an area station as a substitute of speeding out into the galaxy. For me, it is far more snug (and sophisticated) to remain put. And God is aware of I like to remain dwelling. My second novel The thick and the thin, postulates a world the place sexual pleasure is banal and public however the place meals pleasure is extremely taboo. As DS9, it additionally explores land rights and colonization, in addition to large farming and physique politics. The world of The thick and the skinny is a distorted mirror of ours, within the hopes that ultimately this reflection helps us see ourselves extra clearly, however it is usually deeply private, drawn from my very own experiences with consuming problems. It is extra revealing than something I’ve posted earlier than.

On-station, meals, drink, and Klingon opera connections aren’t restricted to public institutions. Captain Sisko is an avid novice prepare dinner and loves feeding his senior officers. (Somebody gave me Benjamin Sisko’s astrological chart – one other Most cancers? Benjamin, I like dinner events too.) And thru these little slices of life, the place the crew can simply be collectively as that chosen household, we get gems like Odo bustle.

Screenshot: CBS

Take this easy scene, the Season 3 Episode 4 opener “Equilibrium.” The episode opens with the digital camera following Jake, trying elated as a punch, as he carries a pleasant platter of what seems to be uncooked greens for Kira and Julian. He helps Captain Dad aka Sisko prepare dinner dinner for the senior officers. Kira, in civilian garments, waits with nice expectation, trying even happier than Jake. (Emotional field: It is these little moments with Kira that upset me. Kira, who has spent her whole life underneath Cardassian occupation, is thrilled that her boss is cooking her dinner.) Julian can be glad to be there, taking part in a little bit of the bubbly teenager however he manages to make it charming – yuck, beets!

As Sisko realizes he must flip his catfish, Odo, who has studied cooking together with his regular depth, takes over, stirring the soufflé. Jadzia, in uniform, returns from a protracted day within the higher pylons – she is drained! However she’s been trying ahead to this dinner all day. Actual “Honey, I am dwelling” vibes from our favourite previous man in a younger girl’s physique. (It sounds to my untrained ear that she did O’Brien’s work. Possibly O’Brien was cloned or his spouse was taken over by a malevolent spirit or another distinctive horror , or possibly he is simply on trip?) We see Jadzia embracing different meals traditions and maybe glimpsing a part of why she may by no means be greater than Julian’s good friend. He’s too younger for her by a number of lifetimes.

As he mentions on this scene (and plenty of others), Sisko discovered to prepare dinner at his father’s restaurant in New Orleans. He serves a pleasant conventional meal right here – blackened catfish, creamed spinach, sautéed beets, Jake pronounces proudly. Captain Sisko reveals a tiny little bit of his philosophy on the significance of cooking with cultured meals, as a substitute of consuming replicated components. (We assume the beets are from Bajor? Or from a greenhouse on the station?) In different episodes he clearly states this choice, however right here he tells us in actions, not phrases. By cooking this meal, Sisko connects his crew to his household line. He cooks as a result of he cares.

Screenshot: CBS

So, in lower than two minutes, we get: proud Jake with the tray, Captain Dad’s pepper shaker dance, teenage Julian, Honey, I am dwelling Dax, and cheerful Kira. How candy Kira is on this scene! What a good distance since season 1.

And nothing delights Kira greater than Odo’s restlessness.

Odo is right here to study. “Simply because I do not want meals, Commander, does not imply I am not all for getting ready it.” I can think about him later, within the privateness of the safety workplace, turning right into a beetroot, to see what it appears like, earlier than making an attempt a Tarkalean hawk, then lastly settling in a puddle of what appears like oatmeal to relaxation in his bucket.

Odo strikes as a lot together with his head as together with his arms. How unusual it should be to have a physique. Like Sisko, he understands that meals is greater than meals. For the solids, it is tradition, it is historical past, it is also group and connection. It’s the previous assembly the longer term. It might probably even be love. It will not be till Season 6 that Kira realizes she’s in love with Odo, however I completely agree – he appears very cute whereas wiggling.

Chana Porter (she/they) is a novelist, playwright, instructor, MacDowell Fellow, and co-founder of The Octavia Undertaking, a STEM and writing program for women, trans, and non-binary youth that makes use of speculative fiction to examine extra nice prospects for our world. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and can be the creator of The ooze, Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her new novel The thick and the skinny comes out of Saga Press on April 18.

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