“You’re not going to eat all of that, are you?”
*looking at twenty pounds of scrap metal, plastic, monster hide, and lubricant dressing on an EShemar’s plate*
Since the EShemar Upgraded themselves across the board with nanite repair systems capable of scavenging material stocks for repair MDC, the EShemar have found themselves developing a true sense of taste, and with it a sense that food is more is more than just refueling.
While the NRS can ‘metabolize’ just about anything, and converting it into MDC, it works best with certain forms of MDC materials, so the EShemar have been careful to vary their intake of various materials to meet the needs of their regenerative mechanisms for optimal rapid healing and systems maintenance. Fortunately, their reinforced jaws and polyceramic teeth are more than up to the task of chewing up and grinding down everything from wild grapes to carbon fiber bones. A mechanical digestive tract that is part kitchen garbage grinder, chemical digester, and nano-disassembler, further breaks down the material into usable molecules and substrates. The system is remarkably waste-free, what little material that cannot be used easily and cleanly ejected from the system.
Though their taste buds are arguably less sensitive than a true organic’s (their molecular analysis systems can pick out the constituents of an ingested foodstuff, but is not known how this translates into the sensations associated with eating that organic evolution has given other lifeforms) EShemar can gleefully partake of normal food (as humans know it) and indeed have cheerfully taken to sampling the foodstuffs of other cultures (in part to be diplomatic, but mostly out of curiousity). Some EShemar, since acquiring material intake tacts and artificial tastebuds, have become addicted to trying new foodstuffs for the sensations of eating. However, among themselves, the EShemar have developed their own crude ‘cuisine’. When not having to worry about appearing diplomatic or pay consideration to others’ metabolisms, the EShemar go directly for MDC foods, tearing into monster carcasses without the ‘softening up’ processes used to render such foodstuffs safe for consumption, or skipping organic assimilation and going directly to munching down scrap metal and plastics. While most EShemar don’t think much about consuming the culinary equivalent of a mineral brick or vitamin pill buffet, some EShemar are slowly developing a sense of cuisine, even if it’s simply salting a plate of trashed circuit boards with chopped up carbon fiber and drizzling it with WD-40. Others won’t touch a cut of Devilfish without first searing it with plasma, and other EShemar find that laser-cooked monster meat barbecue is a great way to finish up a battle.
Thus, there is emerging the rudiments of a distinctive EShemar cuisine. The Darkwaters Tribe has supposedly acquired a love of steamed-in-the-shell Metzla, the Blood Riders like a plate of nice raw Splugorth Slaver tartar, the Wolf’s Path a hankering for flayed peryton, the Horrorwoods tribeswomen have been known to nosh on dinosaur jerky, and even the Ghost Riders are said to profess a liking for Madhaven-style Devilfish chowder. Rumors that a Skullcrusher EShemar once confessed to a love of raw Kittani brains fresh out of the can remain unsubstantiated. Likewise stories that Wayfinders find chewing on Coalition-issued handheld data pads remain unconfirmed as to their truth.
Unfortunately, as many EShemar still regard consumption of material nourishment as more a matter of refueling or restocking, rather than a cultural (arguably spiritual) undertaking, EShemar table manners have yet to really develop. This has caused some good natured ribbing between those EShemar who have spent enough time among other peoples to have acquired some dinner etiquette and those who haven’t. Also, because of the nomadic nature of many EShemar tribes, there isn’t a lot of tableware involved; one or two plates or vessels and accompanying knife, fork, or spoon, and many EShemar have taken to carrying their own (increasingly customized and personalized) ‘mess kit’.
NeShemar continue to need to eat not only for their biosystems but for their own nanite repair systems (those that have them) as well, which sometimes requires some care at the buffet table, since inadvertently digesting a foodstuff meant for the wrong regenerative system can lead to problems (like choking on a handful of metal nuts or metal shavings). This has sometimes led to some derogatory ragging by the less couth EShemar; “Do you need somebody to cut your food for you?”, as well as the occasional emergency technical servicing of a lacerated esophagus. Still, the physical nature and martial culture of the EShemar means that the Tribes frequently dine on megadamage creatures that most communities can only bring down and properly prepare a few times a year, mainly because the EShemar can dig into a rhino-buffalo without having to wait four months for slow simmering to soften the meat up enough.
So, if invited to an EShemar banquet, bring your appetite, but also be careful what you eat (EShemar have no problems spicing their food with metallic salts and substances like arsenic and powdered lead)...have a stomach pump or chelating kit on hand, and don’t mind the table manners (be careful when accepting a hunk of meat served on the end of a vibroblade, though). When entertaining outsiders, most EShemar are considerate enough to provide a selection of ‘safe’ foods set apart from those meant for Shemarrian consumption, but mistakes have been known to happen (test that slice of dinomeat with a fork first to make sure you can actually bite into it without breaking your jaw).