The diet of most Ghyllians consists of fruit, confections and the ubiquitous sugarsweets, with a smattering of meats such as the many-legged milicow and the soft-shelled lobs (for those with access to the sea). While the culinary creation of confections has risen to an arte practiced mainly by chefs, and the culling of animals and the raising of fruit belong respectively to ranchers and orcharders, the making of sugarsweets has continued to belong to all Ghyllians... specialized knowledge nor talent is needed, neither are registered lands nor special permits. As even the youngest of grubs knows well, all that is needed are leftovers and a spare corner.
Eat a meal; take the left-overs and pile them into a mound; allow the mound to rot and ferment; add more left-overs; spit some gastric juice onto the mound for added flavor; let sit to ferment; add more left-overs; let sit some more; ripeness can be determined by the fragrance of the mound; ferment to taste; eat up!
Spitmounds are ubiquitous in Ghyllian society. Whether one is a grubling with an apple core or a matron with fruit peels, the custom has always been to toss it in an out-of-the-way spot and create a mound, or to add to an existing mound. Our villages, hamlets and towns are littered with these fermenting piles of sweet-smelling left-overs. The air is perfumed with their fragrance and all are invited to regurgitate any portion of a meal upon them, hastening the ripening and adding flavor.
Many, however, see focused farming as a threat to this universal habit and hobby. The proponents of focused farming, though, say that their method of cultivation allows for a greater increase in the yield of spitmounds.
Whereas the common bugger simply begins a spitmound where he or she pleases, those who practice focused farming measure out a space and fence it in. Whereas anyone can add to a normal mound whenever they like, practitioners of focused farming allow no one but their own people to add, and only at certain times. Whereas anyone with enough spittle can pour forth upon the pile their oozing juices, the practitioners allow only a select few to do so.
As far as partaking of the munchy mounds, in every town anyone can choose to scoop up a taste whenever they get a liking to, but focused mounds are only open to the public during select times. In fact, in -1 EC some of these farmers began a festival in Folktown and in Toria (of the Dulalian Empire) called Regurgitation Revels in which amidst dancing and drinking they lay out for all to taste their wares of the current fermentation. Invited are all who care to come, but of special invitation the group of Folktown farmers also call upon members of the Amphitheatre aristocracy. A few have come, but some have chosen to stay away, unsure as to how their appearance might be seen by those who disdain such farming techniques.
The jury is still out as to which method produces better sweets, but one thing is sure, the practitioners of focused farming live mainly in the largest towns and the few cities that dot Ghyll, while the majority of Ghyllians, living as they do everywhere else, continue to look on the fencing of properties and hiding away of spitmounds as hurtful, selfish, and at a minimum unsanitary (many have said: "how do we know what they put into it?"). Only time will tell whether this method of farming will weather the winds of time and become more than just a fad, and a much-maligned one at that!
--Nikos of Ant 23:03, 24 Jun 2005 (EDT)