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Baba Yaga’s Recipe Book

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The plate was made of woven reeds, the vegetables were blue, and the meat looked like it had come straight out of the pages of Green Eggs and Ham.

“I do not like them, Sam I Am,” Jack muttered. Daniel elbowed him in the ribs. Hard.

“Just stare somewhere over everyone’s heads while you chew rather than at your plate. If you don’t look at it, it tastes kinda like chicken,” Daniel whispered.

Jack glared. Maybe if he cut it small enough he could swallow pieces without having to chew at all.

When they fished Teal’c out of the swamp, they discovered that not only had the local gnats taken a particular liking to marinated Jaffa, but some kind of leech-like thing with impressive teeth had found MRE wrappings to be its newfound delicacy.

“Teal’c, there’s no way you’re eating any of those,” Sam declared, her nose wrinkled in distaste. Daniel hoped Teal’c would attribute the nose-wrinkling to the leech things, and not to the Parfum de Swamp Water which wafted from him every time he moved.

“Contaminated MRE’s, twice as tasty as when first issued,” Jack added jovially. “Well, kids, who’s going to share their lunchboxes?”

Daniel dug through his pack. “I have the mac & cheese, the teriyaki chicken, or the stewed beef, Teal’c. Which would you like?”

“I believe my preference to be irrelevant.”

“No, really, you can pick whichever one you want, I think you deserve first pick.” Daniel urged.

“I appreciate your offer, Daniel Jackson, but as you have observed before, the labeling on these foodstuffs is insufficient. They all taste like chicken.”

Jack leaned in the doorway of Carter’s lab, watching Daniel and Carter debate over whether or not running one of Daniel’s artifacts through her scanner was going to cause damage. Daniel seemed to be under the impression that something was likely to blow up. Jack thought that might have more to do with the news he’d just heard than with Carter’s equipment.

“So, I hear McKay’s back from Siberia with a progress report,” he said casually. Carter jabbed a button on her keyboard so hard she started getting a line of repeated ‘f’s across her screen.

“Yes, sir. So I heard.”

Jack smirked. “I also hear the commissary’s serving lemon pepper chicken again today.”

Daniel raised his eyebrows. “By special request, by any chance?”

Jack spread his arms. “Hey, what can I say? Those ladies love me. And that chicken is tasty.”

“There seems to be an unusual amount of livestock running loose around here, sir. Whatever happened to the villagers, it doesn’t seem to have been a normal raid for food or slaves.” Carter put down her scanner to pick up her gun.

Jack used his to point along the cobblestones.

“Hey Teal’c, why did the chicken cross the road?”

“I believe that animal is actually a member of the porcine family, O’Neill.”

Jack sighed. “You’re no fun. Hey, Daniel, why did the—“

“Just don’t, Jack.”

“Jack, it’s not that bad.” Daniel whispered.

Jack stared at his plate and then back at his irritating dinner companion.

“It’s chicken, Daniel,” he hissed.

“Yes, it is, Jack. What’s the problem?”

“It doesn’t taste like chicken. Shouldn’t high-falutin’ politicians, generals, and diplomats such as yourself get chicken that actually tastes like chicken?”

Daniel’s lips twitched and he took a hasty sip of his wine, probably to prevent himself from laughing at an inappropriate time during the Senator Something or Other’s speech. Daniel had probably even been listening enough to know it would be an inappropriate time. Jack was too offended by his meal to notice.

Daniel leaned in, eyes glimmering with a secret to share, and said quietly, “Haven’t you noticed, Jack?”

“Noticed what?”

“Nothing ever tastes like chicken.”

Fortunately, Jack’s laughter was covered by the applause at the speech’s end. Hopefully dessert would be better.