Food in FFIX, Part 3
In which there are far too many Moogles
There was a band of Moogles living in the ruins of Madain Sari,
taking care of a pathetic lifeform named Eiko. Eiko's lonely for
someone who doesn't go, "Kupo!", and in the great anime tradition,
she has decided that she, the perky flatchested grade-schooler,
is going to seduce the show's hunk away from Garnet. And how is
she going to do it? The traditional way: with FOOD!
The Moogles point out that she can't cook.
She tells them that they're going to help her.
So what shall we cook? she says. How about rock-fisted potato stew?
A picture of a pot of vile yellowed stew slides across the screen.
Yeah! That's good! But we need something else. What about... barbecued
fish! A picture of a disgruntled browned fish on a bed of lettuce
slides across the screen. Great! We'll make that. So who wants to
WAIT! I cry. What about vegetables?
Apparently that's what the bed of lettuce is for.
There are three Moogles in the kitchen: a tiny one, a sleepy one,
and a sensible one. Who should go fishing? asks Eiko. A decision
menu pops up on the screen.
Why are you asking me, you silly bint? You're the one who lives
with them! Fine; let's pick this name here.
Great! And who should get the potatoes?
The sleepy one. Potatoes don't move fast, so it should be about
And the last one will help in the kitchen. Great! Did I make the
First, you didn't choose, I did. And second, the hell should I know?
Moogles all look alike to me. Doesn't matter to me which fuzzy Satanist
you have grubbing about in the potato patch. But you're still looking
at me expectantly, so I'll poke "yes" and let you get on with the
So we have Zidane, Dagger, that quiet boy, and me coming to dinner,
plus [insert a long list of Moogles' names]. How much stew should
I wasn't paying any attention. How should I know? But you're looking
at me expectantly and the Moogle is fluttering over the waterfall
with a heavy-looking iron pot in his little paws, and if I wait
too long he's probably going to fall into the waterfall, drown,
and remanifest in his true spiritual body, freed of his fleshly
shackles. And I just don't want to deal with that many tentacles
in the kitchen. So I'll say... uh...
...Four plus one plus three, or was it six, and... oh! She didn't
mention Quina! She must not know that Quina's still around. So I'll
say eleven, since I think there are about ten, and you should always
make extra. You've never seen Quina eat.
And should I put the oglop I found on the trail into the pot?
Eiko stands in front of the oven singing a little cooking song and
doing the Cooking Dance. I approve. She's cute and slimy, but she
The Littlest Moogle shouts that it's got a fish--and it's a big
one! Help! Help! Eiko dashes down to help it, and together they
pull up... Quina, who bounces onto the landing and says, "Your bait
not taste good."
Eiko gives Quina the once-over. "Pale hair, pale skin, strange clothes...
Zidane told me about you! You're Kuja!"
By the time I climbed back onto my chair, that little misunderstanding
had been glossed over, and Quina was offering to help Eiko to cook.
Oh, right! Quina has actual skills! "It is my life's goal to master
the art of gourmand!" Eiko is thrilled, and Quina checks on the
stew. "You've made enough for 11. That's a good number." (I beam.
Quina approves of me!) "You should always make more food than you
think you'll need. Maybe someone will drop by suddenly, or maybe--"
And Quina's off on a lesson in How to Plan Meals. My jaw drops.
Someone has found a way to insert Life Skills for Hopeless Otaku
into a fantasy game.
Eventually, the food is done, and everyone gathers around the table.
Zidane takes an attack stance and cries, "Let's eat!" I expect to
see the combat zoop and find myself in six-on-one combat with a
huge blackened fish and a pot of fat-squirting yellow stew. But
no, everyone sits down and has a civilized, non-poisoned meal.
Eiko lays a little of her first-grader mojo on Zidane. "Don't you
think I'm just like a tragic maiden in distress?" And then she quotes
him a little Lord Avon. (He's like Shakespeare, only even worse.)
The Lord Avon looks like it might work, if only because Zidane is
going to choke on his fish and Eiko's going to have to Heimlich
him romantically. But no, Garnet pipes up with, "Isn't that from
such and such a play?" Eiko grumps, and the meal ends in peace.
But another Life Skill has been taught: Don't use corny lines
in front of an audience.
Despite all the talk about making enough food for the Moogles, they
are not invited to the meal. They hang out outside and "Kupo!" through
the windows on cue. Maybe Eiko's learned a thing or two about the
fuzzy little bastards after all.
So there it is: In the midst of a harsh, arid world, where the only
thing cheaper than life is
sand, the inhabitants remember some of the kinder elements of life
that their pampered Mist Continent cousins forgot.
On to the next