"Thank you for having me over, Htho'ok-Regional-Governor. Your home is lovely."
"This is my privilege, Janesen-Ambassador. I introduce mate mine, Awr'h'ka."
"Hhk'raa thth ach'o'thach aa."
"Awr'h'ka thanks you for coming to home ours, Janesen. Ah - our home. I apologize, my English not is good."
"Please convey my thanks to Awr'h'ka for inviting me to your home. And your English is excellent, Htho'ok. Certainly better than my Kthrrn. You speak Kthrrn, correct?"
"Yes. I am from the Islands Kthurr. Of course, I am a diplomat. Therefore I also speak Nyar and Rk'thaa."
"Yes, and English. Many of people mine in class mine who language human learned chose to learn Mandarin. I found alphabet theirs to be... ridiculous. Therefore - no, in addition to - most diplomats human speak English. So English I learned."
"And you also learned human cooking?"
"Smf smf smf. No, human cooking I learned because human cooking is interesting. Because humans eat... rrm, 'plants' not is the word right. We also eat plants, but only as flavor. What are plants humans eat not for flavor?"
"Yes, vegetables. Because humans eat vegetables, after races ours began to trade, a... trend for human cooking did become very popular. So many things new did you have. Both I and mate mine do cook many with foods human."
"Yes, I have noticed a number of 'human' restaurants here in Hh'ta'na. Although the food they cook is not the same sort of thing that we cook at home."
"This not is a surprise. It is the case that humans are... all-eating?"
"Yes, 'omnivores'. And 'carnivores'. We are carnivores - much of food for humans is not food for Rr'achtachh. However, much is, and of food for both humans and Rr'achtacch, much now is very popular. As example, much food now is with carrots as flavor."
"I regret to say that the reverse has not been as true; I have yet to see a single Rr'achtachh restaurant on Earth. I confess I am anticipating tonight's meal greatly."
"I am pleased. I hope you will to enjoy it. Human cooking is good. However it is... unfortunate that humans do not eat more food Rr'achtachr. Humans not understand how to cook meats. I have eaten... hamburger, it was named. The taste was good, but to make hamburger was so sorrowful! To combine all the parts different of the animal, lacking thought or plan! Cooking Rr'achtachr is to understand how all of the meat tastes and... comes together to taste. All parts, each important. Never would Rr'achtachh blend all parts togehter."
"As I say, I am greatly looking forward to it."
"You not wait... rrr, not need to wait - Awr'h'ka brings the food now. Please come and please sit."
"It will be my pleasure. And here, I have a gift for you - when humans come as guests for dinner we usually bring a small gift. I confess, I was not certain what to bring - humans who are dinner guests usually bring wine or bread or dessert, but none of those things cross over between out cultures. However, I did bring a box of milk; I understand that your people enjoy milk."
"Yes, greatly! As I did say, there is much human cooking that we enjoy greatly. The idea to turn animal into... into animal kept at home, and to eat the milk it makes... no Rr'achtachh ever thought of this. And this milk is very good!"
"I have to say, Htho'ok, it has surprised and made very happy a great many people just how well our two races have come together. When we first encountered you, we were very cautious, and when my people discovered that your people were carnivores, it frightened many of them. They felt that, well, because you ate meat it meant that your people would naturally be violent."
"Smf smf smf. I have a story funny. I was taking a few guests human on a trip, and there was a store food human in the town we went to. Human cooking was just at that time very popular. The store had name its in English. But not English good. The name was 'Eat Humans For'. Smf smf. The guests human were made nervous some, made funny some."
"I can imagine."
"I am serious; also we were nervous when we met first humans. Rrr - of interest, we learned humans some not eat meat. Humans some think to eat meat bad is. This made us think about how humans think about we. Us."
"Actually, very few people think it is bad that you eat meat, because, well, you do not have a choice. The universe does not allow for you not to eat meat. And actually, your concept of 'Ch'la'laa' has become rather popular on Earth. They've started using the word in English, even. Klala. The right way to do something that is necessary but not desirable, I think the dictionary definition is."
"Rrr. I think - no, I hope that the dictionary not is speaking about eating! Eating is very desirable!"
"No, just about the killing of animals, I think. How you do it."
"Rrr, I understand. Yes, ch'la'la. Rrr - Awr'hka is here with food. We are starting with a salad human style. Then we will eat H'thrr'tach. Very food Rr'achtachr. Each T'aach part is cooked apart the right way, then cooked together the right way. I think you will enjoy it."
"I certainly hope so. I am curious, Htho'ok, did your people ever discuss eating humans?"
"Yes. It is a thought natural. Other planets we have been to, and other animals we find on other planets are now food. So when we meet humans, some think if they are food good. Only for a time very small. In culture mine, to eat another person is very very bad. Zhk'urr'l'uchh."
"Yes. A special word. I know also it is very very bad to humans. Therefore now no one thinks to eat humans, because humans are people."
"Humans are... omni-vore. Perhaps humans thought to eat us?"
"Heh. I do not think so - humans are not very interested in new types of food. They like to eat things that are familar. Most of them."
"A shame. This is why they not do eat cooking Rr'achtachr. The salad is good?"
"Very. Although, I will be honest with you, Htho'ok, we don't actually eat these plants here. I hope you do not mind if I pick them out."
"No, I do not mind. Humans do not eat those?"
"No, this is grass. We don't eat grass."
"And the other?"
"This? This is lettuce. Lettuce is very good."
"I understand new. This is interesting to me - I will tell the people who did write the book cooking human. Humans do not eat grass, but they do yes eat lettuce. How is the... the topping?"
"The dressing is excellent."
"I am pleased."
"Actually, it seems familiar."
"It is a recipe very traditional Rr'achtachr, very old. Fish small crushed and many plants of flavor. It is named 'Tsee'zhaa.'"
- Sun Ra
Columns by Sun Ra