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The Fairy Market

Two degrees in medieval studies were an unlikely precursor for a career in corporate communications and copywriting, but Stephanie is bearing up admirably. Stephanie has published creative nonfiction in Overland and Medium on subjects like monster studies, disability in art, and Australian diaspora identity. Hobbies include hot sauce. @Kosa_Saga, mostly retweets.
Ultimately, it was the unicorn-blood soup.
The fairy food industry drowned beneath a deluge of hate mail. Animal rights groups were up in arms, even though unicorns technically don't exist. The fair folk were baffled. Humans had gone wild for dragon-on-rye. What was the problem?
The fairies had set up in a Brooklyn food truck last Midsummer Day. Within a week it was a hotspot, in spite of the limited menu. You wouldn't have pegged a bowl of fresh cream as the next big food fad, but that fairy favorite took the culinary scene by storm, flooding the feeds of Instagram, bewitching with photo-filter glamour.
Emboldened, the fair folk expanded to a fey cafe. They spun the finest floss of starlight, filled tarts with curdled mermaid-song, and fried up spicy phoenix-egg omelettes. People kept coming back for more--it was like they couldn't leave.
The influence and rise of fey fame was uncanny. Once they were fully licensed--fairies are sticklers for rules--their sunshine-sauvignon-blanc prompted thoughtful discussion among commentators about the sustainability of "eating light," and bloggers warred over whether banshee-tear-salted brownies could be vegan.
Competitors whispered it was all down to enchantment, that less-than-fresh Cornish piskie pasties were glossed-over with glamor, that it's easy to maintain profit margins when you give fairy gold in change. The fair folk just laughed, with a sound like the tinkling of silver bells, and lay quiet curses upon their rivals' harvests.
As the business expanded, fairy kitchens were staffed with the most skillful, and comely, of human apprentices. Possibly there's truth to the rumor they'd been spirited away from competitor kitchens in whose place were left shiftless changelings. But the New York food scene is cutthroat, and fairies had thousands of years' worth of tricks up their silken sleeves.
Book deals and the curious alchemy of gastronomique beckoned. The star of fairy fame shone brighter than moonbeam panna cotta.
On the opening night of their Manhattan fine-dining establishment--Sith--critics and connoisseurs buzzed in anticipation of an otherworldly eating experience. Tonight, the fairies vowed, mankind would be permitted to sample the most rare and sought-after flavor in all of fay-cuisine. A dish you could lose yourself in--for a hundred years or more.
But excitement turned to horror as human gazes fell upon that fateful first course: a delicate consomme of freshly-squeezed unicorn.
The spell was broken.
Public outcry, vitriol, and boycotts followed. Cold iron through cafe windows was the death knell of the fairy food fad.
By Samhain the fair folk had left forever.
When it comes to the fairy market, some tastes just don't translate.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 15th, 2018


It started with a pun. I'm a huge geek for both fantasy and food, so mixing those sorceries felt natural. I also wanted to write something that would make me hungry, to imbue it with that unfulfilled longing characteristic of the faerie.

- Stephanie Monteith

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