In relative terms, aahgawk is a rather new creation; it dates to just 57 D.C. Its discoverer, the recently-deceased president of the Great University of Cyrim, Urktoo Quiggs, is best remembered for his creation of the modern Dak currency, Oofite, but for a man with as many brilliant discoveries as the shrewd Urktoo, such does not diminish the importance of aahgawk. Before aahgawk's discovery, Dakai's finest dish was terrbla, a food consisting of soil ground with plant matter—a healthy, nutritious, and somewhat palatable concoction that still makes up the majority of the plebian Dak diet today.
Urktoo was fishing gawk on the day of his discovery. The gawk fish, as you well know, are abundant in most bodies of water on Dakai, from the freshwater ponds strewn across the Bfolyorn plains to the Great Muirk Sea, and have been hunted by the Dak for thousands of years, but only for their glassy eyes which are used in Dak jewelry. Gawk meat, until Urktoo came around, was discarded and thought useless: when ingested raw, it is a potent poison, and when put on fire, it becomes safe to eat but takes on a putrid taste . Urktoo, scholar and scientist (and fisherman) that he was, was struck by a sudden curiosity and decided to test the gawk poison—on himself. Instead of swallowing the gawk meat, however, he let it settle in his mouth. His saliva cured the meat, his natural enzymes disarming the gawk poison, and a full day later, when he removed the gawk meat from his mouth, it was ready for consumption. The discovery of aahgawk thus had nothing to do with ingredients of the dish and everything to do with its quite peculiar preparation.
The term aahgawk is actually derived from Urktoo's personal account of his discovery. He writes in his journal:
"After a full day with gawk meat between my cheeks, I removed the gawk meat from my mouth. The meat had lost its oily sheen but now seemed somehow incandescent, as if the pure, holy spirit of Amni was shining through the meat's surface. My good wife, Urktel, was strongly against my consumption of the cured meat, as neither of us could actually be certain that the meat was free of the lethal gawk poison. In the middle of the night, with Urktel asleep, I took some of the meat in my mouth, masticated, then swallowed. In a gastronomical burst of light, a rainbow of colorful tastes began to bathe and caress me. Tastes of all sorts, sweet and salty, sour and spicy, gentle and fierce, fought for my attention. A whole oneiric landscape of flavor within my mouth! Unable to restrain such deliciousness within myself, I gave breath to a sonorous, contented sigh-- “Aah!”--thus waking Urktel, much to her annoyance."
The word aahgawk is thus a formulation of Urktoo's famous sigh and (obviously) of the gawk that composes the dish. Aahgawk's interjection-driven etymology is similar in nature to oofite's, a currency based on the value of not being spanked in the rear with a 10-gumbit paddle (here derived from "oof!").
In Dak CultureEdit
Aahgawk, though delicious, is an extremely simple dish: it has only one ingredient (gawk) and its preparation involves only the saliva in one's mouth, seemingly making it within grasp of all Daks, even the culinary-challenged ones. In reality, though, the insatiable demand for gawk meat has driven up its price and made aahgawk an expensive dish—at the time of writing, aahgawk for two was available for 20 oofites(!). The cost has made it so that aahgawk is enjoyed only by the Dak wealthy and elite, who tend to congregate in cities like Ayaroka. Aahgawk is now a power symbol, something served purposefully when wealthy Daks visit one another to demonstrate their wealth. The wealthiest of the wealthy can't be bothered with curing the gawk in their own mouths so they hire Daks from the slum to cure the gawk meat in saliva for them. The consumption of aahgawk is not seen outside of cities because the aboriginal Dak of the Bfolyorn plains tend to be illiterate and thus have not read of aahgawk's discovery—too bad for them! The consumption of aahgawk thus paints a comprehensive picture of social Dak life, of rural vs. urban and slum vs. elite.
In Dak ArtEdit
Despite its recent discovery, aahgawk has had a profound effect on Dak art. Authors have devoted anthologies of poetry and prose to its glory, painters have oft recreated the moment Urktoo's late-night discovery, and composers have produced entire symphonies in honor of the dish.
--Commissar Ben 19:16, September 4, 2010 (UTC)