Yay chapter~ Well, I thought I could finish it by yesterday, but then this and that happened (procrastination), so here I am. Also, I’m thinking of adding a next/previous/ToC button, so I’ll get to that when I have time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I overdosed on paragraphs this chapter.
Groaning “uーmu” , I wonder how many times it’s been today.
In front of me, the hated poitan was lying around.
It’s the afternoon of the fifth day, of my visit to this other world.
Today, after the daily routine of cleaning the cooking ware and managing the food storage was finished, I got engaged in making dried meat.
The digression will be long, but to my surprise that dried meat wasn’t just dried meat, it was smoked meat.
If you want it to be explained briefly. Rub rock salt and pico leaves on the surface of the Giba meat, and wrap it in the leaves (come to think of it I haven’t confirmed the actual name yet) of the pseudo rubber tree. On the third night rinse off the salt and spices, and dry it overnight. The next morning, hang the meat on a tree outdoors, and burn riilo herbs and raw pico leaves underneath it, smoking it until the Sun rises to the middle of the sky. Thus the smoked giba meat is ready.
So, because today was the fourth morning, I wasn’t collecting firewood and herbs, and was instead entrusted with the work of finishing the smoking process.
As for the work, it was just adding firewood and herbs to make sure that the fire didn’t go out so it was simple. At any rate because the fire has to be kept for several hours a day, it’s by no means easy.
Still well, we weren’t hit with any unexpected situations until it reached the middle of the sky, so a large amount of smoked meat was able to be made safely.
As usual I waited for Ai-Fa to finish her collecting work and return from the forest, storing the finished smoked meat in the meat storage space, and finishing the work.
After working until it reached the middle of the sky, from early afternoon until dusk, I was allowed to devote myself to studying the poitan in this way.
At this time of day, in order to hunt giba, Ai-Fa would again be in the forest. There was still a mountain of giba meat left over, but to get poitans and arias, at a pace of 1 every 5 days a giba must be killed. And, because an amateur such as I would only get in the way of giba hunting, I was able to get some free time, you see.
Of course that means that, these five days, Ai-Fa hasn’t yet slain a giba. It was fine to have the pace of 1 head every 10 days until my food rations were added, I guess it’s not that easy to hunt.
5 days ago (although it was an unexpected situation) she just hunted. If today or tomorrow one can be killed we’ll be good, Ai-Fa said something like that.
And, I am.1
The first day I was busy dismantling giba, so for the 4 days after that. I’ve been working hard on poitan research every day from early afternoon but一一this guy is quite a formidable enemy.
To put it simply, I don’t know what this guy is.
In my world, such a plant didn’t exist, I think.
Appearance-wise, it’s a potato.
The colour feels a bit pale, and the size is also a bit large but, the surface texture and shape is just like that of a potato.
However, the contents are completely different.
When nibbled raw, the astringency is terrible, and unreasonably powdery, it couldn’t be eaten at all. It made me doubt whether if this was really a plant, I couldn’t feel the water nor the umami.
And, as you know, when boiled in water it will slowly crumble down.
Nearly becoming a semi-liquid, and turns into something like tasteless muddy water.
When putting it in my [Giba Soup], no improvement was made.
Still, because it seemed to contain nutrients that I needed to absorb, for the 4 days up until today, after eating the meat and arias, dissolving it in the remaining soup, we drank it.
Even though my heart dances at zosui in a pot2 or udon, this was just punishment game level. Why do I have to eat something like this muddy water-like thing, I felt miserable.
That’s why, I’ve been struggling with this.
A solution still hasn’t been found.
Once per day, because I was given the approval to use time for research purposes, I tried various things, but to no avail.
If boiled, it crumbles muddily.
If roasted, it breaks into pieces and falls apart.
Even if soaked in water, no change can be seen.
If you fry it in fat, you’ll get powdery lard.
Besides that, trying to grind it, trying to roast it without fat, trying to expose it to the Sun, and although I tried anything else that I could think of, I couldn’t see the light at all.
“U–mu!” I growled for the nth time.
Then, my head was slapped from behind.
“You’re noisy. Can’t you be bothered not to make a fuss every time?”
Of course, it’s Ai-Fa.
She didn’t try to leave for the forest today, seeming to have been fiddling around in the storage room up until earlier, but it seems the task was finally over. Lightly dressed wrapping around a chest cover and waist cover as usual, standing with an imposing stance, she was glaring at my face.
“It hurts~. I don’t like it either…” as I was about to say that, I noticed that Ai-Fa was carrying a package under her arm.
What was it? It was a bunch of beautifully coloured clothes.
As if noticing my gaze, Ai-Fa unfolded one of them and gave it to me.
“These, are the clothes that my father left behind”
I see. It seemed to be a sleeveless open-fronted garment, a so-called vest or waistcoat.
There were no buttons or such, and was made to have the string at the bottom be tied. The design was simple, but as expected it was colourful and had a complex swirl pattern, it was quite stylish.
“Houhou. It’s nice. I’m sure it would look great on Ai-Fa”
I replied with my true feelings, but for some reason Ai-Fa’s cheeks had a tinge of scarlet.
“H, how could I wear clothes like these! Although it’s true that I’m the family head and have the job of《Giba Hunting》, I’m still a woman!”
“Eeh? Don’t tell me I’m wearing it myself!”
I don’t know if it’s a vest or a waistcoat, it was like the one that Aladdin wears, but because its design had a large open front, if you put it on without any chestwear一一it’s definitely an out. What do they think of public order and morality?
“Of course if you wear it, it would be over your current outfit! In general, there’s no reason to treat a guy with a pretty face like you as a man but……”
“Saying fussily! These, are clothes for you!”3
Exploding a bit with a kanshaku, Ai-Fa threw those clothes onto my face.
“Your outfit stands out too much! It’s unpleasant to be looked at with funny looks while with you!”
I see. Certainly with how much attention my white outfit is getting, I’m well aware of it at the water place in the morning and such.
Moreover, I don’t have a change of clothes, so I wear a T-shirt and cooking clothes once every other day, and when it came to pants and underwear, there was no choice but to wear it soaked after washing.
Well the temperature is quite high so it would dry in a few hours, and even if not, because it’s a part of our lives to not know when heavy rain like a squall will hit, I can still give up on that一however, because the pure white cooking clothes were gradually getting dirty due to the work in the forest and such, quite a sad feeling was invoked.
That’s why, I decided to bow down deeply to my angry mistress.4
“I, I will gratefully receive it. But this, isn’t it something important?”
“Even if it’s cherished, if there’s no one to wear it it’s just dust”
With that, while Ai-Fa still had an angry look, she reached for the small knife at her waist.
I was about to unintentionally step back, but Ai-Fa stabbed it into its leather sheath and thrusted it forwards.
“This too, was left behind by my father”
I, accepted it in silence.
The handle was wrapped in leather so that it wouldn’t slip, a small knife with a blade of 20 centimeters.
Pulling it out from its leather sheath, the blade, and the serrated blade on its back, were shining beautifully as if freshly sharpened.
“This too……can I use it?”
“Just lending! Because it’s annoying to always have my sword covered in fat! If you neglect to take care of it and something makes the blade rust, I swear that I will cut off your ears!”
“Got it. Thanks. I’m truly grateful. I will never treat your father’s keepsake poorly. I promise”
Ai-Fa turned away with a pui, but instead of going away, she sat down beside me.
“……So, have you found a way to make poitan taste good?”
“U一n. It’s pretty much a stalemate. After all in my world, there was no vegetable that was similar to this one. Giba was just like a wild boar, and aria was just like an onion, this guy isn’t like anything at all”
“If so, then why don’t you just obediently give up? It’s not like I……at least for now, I’m not dissatisfied”
The side profile of Ai-Fa’s face who was still obstinately looking away, I stared at it from a close distance.
“Are you really not dissatisfied? I already can’t not be dissatisfied and frustrated though! [Giba Soup] is steadily getting closer to its ideal, but because of this guy, everything is ruined! Even though I’m an apprentice my cook’s pride is in shreds!”
“Fumu. ……Of course for me, tasting delicious is better than tasting bad, is what I’ve come to think. However, you can’t use ingredients in vain forever right?”
“Aah. I understand that but……”
“These tusks and horns, aren’t only used to trade for food products. If your sword breaks, if you lose your clothes, the medicine you need if you get sick, you exchange for them with these tusks and horns”
She said, twining her fingertips around the necklace on her chest.
“Until now, I could cover arias and poitans just by killing 1 giba every 10 days, so in this way stocking up on extra tusks and horns was possible. However, from now on I have to kill 1 head every 5 days, so there’s the fear that the reserves will also diminish. ……So even more so, food should be treated carefully”
“I see. Even so, one a day, you told me that I could use a poitan however I liked”
And yet, I had spent 4 days in vain.
4 poitans ended up being spent in vain.
Disappointing, wanting to say that while biting my teeth.
“In that case then, from now on I’ll stop wasting poitans. I’ll reduce the amount I eat by one, and save it for research……”
“That’s no good” responded Ai-Fa’s voice, it wasn’t a loud voice at all, but it contained a strong will and the hint of a slight anger.
When I turned back around in front of my eyes, Ai-Fa’s face with an expression of the same quality as that voice approached.
“Don’t make me say the same thing over and over again. 2 poitans, and 3 arias. That, is the minimum food necessary for the people of the forest to live in good health. If you reduce it, no matter how much giba meat is devoured, eventually you will get sick”
Ai-Fa’s eyes, blazed like a blue flame.
To sacrifice one’s health for the sake of inquisitiveness and such, I guess the ethics of the people of the forest can’t allow it.
No一一isn’t it not just limited to the people of the forest?
Even a chef, shouldn’t have such a behavior.
A chef who can’t manage their own eating habits, must be an existence equivalent to an unhealthy doctor or a white hakama dye.
(Such a thing, I know that……)
What the chef offers to their customers, is taste, and nutrition.
No matter how delicious the food, there’s no point if it harms the body.
No matter how well balanced the food’s nutrition, there’s no point if its taste is bad.
Only to aim to achieve both, is what a chef is about.
I don’t know about other chefs, but at least, my old man is such a chef.
In recent years, the cynical trend of “what’s bad for your body, is delicious” and such are also widespread. Ramen covered in backfat, and the menus of izakayas (TN: This), juices full of sugar, certain potato chips and such, would represent this.
As luxury items, those kinds of things exists, I get it.
I too, love greasy tonkotsu ramen.
However, that can’t be the usual way of cooking.
Because it contains nutritional value that the body needs, it feels delicious.
For humans whose instincts as animals have been broken, it may be a feeling that has been lost一一but that basic premise, in spite of that shouldn’t have been destroyed.
I don’t mind if my body breaks, even poison, I want to devour delicious things.
People who think so, can just do so.
But I, don’t think that way, and I don’t want to make that kind of food.
I don’t want to eat that kind of food, I don’t even want to think about feeding others that kind of food.
Giba meat, is really delicious.
It must contain nutritional value necessary for the body, I can feel it.
It’s being properly converted into flesh and blood in my body, I can feel it.
People might laugh at that as an illusion, but I truly think so.
Dishes that feel like that一一I, want to make them.
This, not knowing the joy of “eating”, on this forest edge.
Delicious, and proper food for the body.
To feed your own important partner.
(Eating poitan, is supposed to be the right thing. That, is what Ai-Fa proves)
More so than anyone I knew, powerful, and full of energy, Ai-Fa.
What has nurtured this Ai-Fa, if there is giba, and poitans, and arias一一definitely, there must be a cooking method that can be enjoyed.
Poitan, it should contain a proper nutritional value for humans……
Proper, nutritional value?
For humans, required nutritional value?
“I see! So that’s what it is!”
I unconsciously yelled out.
Unconsciously, I grabbed both shoulders of the Ai-Fa in front of me.
“Something was caught in my mind! I was thinking that something was missing! Dammit, so that was the case……!”
“What are you doing suddenly losing yourself, you”
To Ai-Fa’s body that was annoyingly trying to withdraw, I unconsciously pulled her in.
“Thanks to you I think I’m going to find the answer! As expected you’re the best, Ai-Fa!”
I swear, it was unconsciously.
I, unconsciously, hugged Ai-Fa’s delicate but tight-like-a-leather-whip body.
Naturally, after a few seconds I was going to be smacked on the head, but still my heart was trembling with the prospect of victory.
1. No idea what he’s trying to say. Though since it was (俺である), I guess it could mean “as for me”.
2. This thing:
3. Not sure about the first half. (やかましいと言っている)
4. Confusing, but I think this is right (俺は怒れる女主人に深々とこうべを垂れておくことにする)
5. MC was using “puraido” (プライド) before, now he uses (誇り)