Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Depressing Damper
by SuSu & Rosie

Myn Donos had killed Lara Notsil's brother on Aldivy; in truth, the duplicious girl could barely contain her glee, though she knew she should have appeared mournful. So Lara settled on behaving erratically, telling Myn all manner of family "secrets" -- she had been molested by her brother, he had beaten her after their mother died, etc. Myn was sympathetic, assuming it was trauma that had loosened her tongue. They tried to fly out, but she was addled and Myn realized that he couldn't let her operate the ship in that state. He ordered her to land, and told her that they would stay overnight, so she could calm down. Lara flatly stated she wouldn't stay in the house, where those supposed crimes had been commited, and so Myn prepared to camp out by their X-wings. She offered to help cook, but she could barely carry the firewood to where Myn was heating stones for cooking, so he told her to just sit where he could watch after her.

Lara played her part to perfection -- but how much of it was acting? As the night drew in, she shiverred and cried, claiming to see ghosts and "remembering" her past traumas. Myn decided he needed to cook something comforting, but they didn't have much in the way of rations: some canned stew and a few baking staples. He could add water to stretch the stew into a soup, but what about a bread to soak up the juices and fill them up?

When he had been an officer in the Corellian military, Myn had been taught to make a sort of non-yeast bread over a campfire, but he needed a heavy metal pan. Fortunately, before they'd left the Notsil farm, Lara had rooted around the house and found a covered kettle, an iron pot with legs and a flat lid that one could shovel hot coals over so that the bread inside could cook from the top as well as the bottom. She had told him she had to have it, so they had made the room in their cargo holds for the thing. It turned out to be perfect! Called a "damper" in his local dialect, it was a heavy, slight bitter bread, which could be a bit depressing, especially when it got cold. But he and Lara ate all of it, comforted by the delicious smell and hominess of eating bread and soup together out of a communal vessel.

Watching her eat in the firelight, she was a pathetic and beautiful sight. Myn felt closer to her, sharing the simple meal -- and he knew he was in love. Lara needed to be protected, and he had proven he could not only protect her, but nurture and feed her as well. He hoped she felt the same way ...

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1 cup water
If you're using an oven, heat it to 350°F/160°C. Over a fire, burn the wood to glowing embers.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter till the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the water and mix till combined. Don't overmix. Form the mixture into a ball and place it in a greased and floured cakepan, or heavily grease a dutch oven and put the dough ball in there. Either way, flatten it down so it's even across the top. Score the top into 8 or so wedges.

Place in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. If you are using the fire, place the lid on the Dutch oven (you might want to grease the inside part of the lid, just in case!) and place in the middle of the pile of embers. Shovel some embers of the top as well. Check in about 20 minutes or so.

Serve the damper hot. It's basically a scone/biscuit dough, so if you wish, add jam, cream and strawberries for a traditional American strawberry shortcake! Or good with soup, meats, etc.

Serves 6 to 8.

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