When I returned from the market, the setting of the sun began to turn the sky red.
There was no time to lose before dinner, so I decided to start cooking right away. I put on a cream-coloured apron with a cute little bird embroidered on it. My sister gave it to me for my birthday when she was ten, and I loved and used it ever since.
Jade came into the kitchen with me as a matter of course, so I took out an old navy-blue apron that my grandfather used to wear and handed it to him, so that he would give me a helping hand as well.
Jade rolled his eyes for a moment, but then put on the apron in good humour. He was wearing the apron over his silver armour, which made him look kind of lumpy and weird.
Unable to control myself I started giggling, Jade was staring fixedly at my outfit with a conceited look, while taking various ‘cool’ model poses in his new apron, awaiting my opinion on it.
I just burst out in a fit of laughter.
In response to that, Jade also had his hand over his mouth while his shoulders shook in a fit of giggles.
When we looked at each other, we both broke in a fit of unstoppable laughter that took a bit of time to recover from.
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Eggs scooped out this morning
Today’s menu was omurice and corn soup. It was my first-time cooking dinner after arriving in this world. So, I decided to make my sister’s favourite dish. I also won’t be able to make any salad since this isn’t the season for fresh vegetables, so unfortunately, we’ll have to do without.
Our omelet is not made with chicken rice, but bacon with ketchup rice. Some people might say “I hate it if it’s not with chicken rice!” But my mother always used bacon. I also liked the combination of bacon and ketchup, so I always made it this way.
According to the appraisal, the bacon I bought was made from the meat of a Demon Pig called an Orc. Orcs are also appraised as humanoid demons with pig heads.
‘There’s such a thing as too much information. They could have done without it, couldn’t they?’
I shuddered inwardly, wondering which part of the human form it actually came from, but the butcher politely told me it was the flabby part of the belly. He told me that because of the lack of muscle, the fat was sweet and tasty when made into bacon.
‘I didn’t ask any questions about this; I most certainly didn’t use appraisal to look it up! This is just …… meat…Just meat I say…! ‘
Leaving aside me trying to deny reality. The proportions between the lean and white fatty parts were perfect, and the bacon looked very tasty when you stared at it without thinking too much about its origins. Apparently, the Orc meat was top-class and very expensive. How did my life come to this…?
Leaving that aside, the onions and potatoes looked the same as in the original world. However, they are said to turn into trees. ‘Don’t you guys miss the earth?’
The most interesting thing was the corn. I wanted to buy fresh corn, but I thought it would be impossible because it was a summer vegetable. I found instead some dried corn at a store that sold a lot of grains, and the owner told me that the corn instantly became fresh and revived when it was soaked in water. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it will come back to life.
I then put the rice in a colander and rinsed it with tap water. Yes, I know it sounds unbelievable, but I could use the tap water from the sink of our house that was brought into this world along with us. For some reason, gas, water, and electricity were still available. The uncle dressed in a robe was saying some difficult things about the logic of it. Something with how our house became an anchor between the two worlds and how it both exists and doesn’t exist in either of the two worlds, reminding me a bit about the Schrodinger cat’s experiment. At any rate, we must be grateful. I didn’t want to start a fire with wood and charcoal, every time I needed to cook something either.
In case you were wondering, this was the same rice that was brought over with us. I walked around the market today looking for this worlds equivalent of rice, but I couldn’t find the rice I was used to eating. I did find some long, thin rice that looked like Thai rice, so I bought some. I couldn’t imagine how rough it would be for my sister if we weren’t able to find her favourite rice by the time we ran out of our leftover rice. It was scary to think about it so I hoped I would be able to find a solution in time.
After I finished rinsing the rice, I adjusted the amount of water to make the rice a bit firmer to the bite and turned on the rice cooker. Next, it was time to prepare the ingredients.
I cut the bacon into strips about 5 mm thick. The key to a better taste was to cut them a little on the thicker side. Then I peeled the onion and cut it into thin slices for the soup and chopped it into small chunks for the omelette.
By the way, before using them, I chilled the onions in the fridge. That way they won’t make you tear up. That is what I had been doing ever since I heard about it. Still, I was afraid that if I took too long, I might start to tear up, so I tried to be as quick as possible.
Thump, thump, thump.
The rhythmic tapping of the knife on the cutting board echoed in the background. Then, for some reason, I heard a sniffing sound:
Looking over I was surprised to see that Jade was crying.
“Why are you crying?”
“Sniff, ……, I am,…, sniff… I am sorry.”
For some reason, Jade seemed to have got some of the onion fumes in his eyes. Tears kept pouring out of his honey-coloured eyes.
I felt like it was my fault for allowing that to happen, so I felt a bit responsible for it. I was sorry for making him tear up like that. It seemed like my trick didn’t work on everyone. I hurriedly went to get a wet hand towel and handed it to him.
Now that this happened, I think it would be best if I asked Jade to help with peeling the potatoes instead.
I pushed the peeler and potatoes into Jade’s hands. It would be better to keep him away from the onions for a while at the very least until his eyes calmed down.
“Jade, please use this to peel the potatoes. “
“What kind of thing is this? “Jade asked while holding the peeler close to his eyes and staring fixedly at it.
“It’s an all-purpose wonder item that makes it easy for anyone to peel vegetables. “
“Oh! Is it a magical item from your world?! “
Of course not…
That’s right, this was a world where magic actually exists.
I’m not sure if I’m going to be taken seriously if I jokingly say “magic” or “wonder” item etc., but I proceeded to explain to Jade that it was just a tool and showed him how to use it.
If you hold the peeler in the wrong way, then the skin on your hand will be scraped off then ‘Baam’! It was important to explain these things so that no-one would get injured.
Jade’s curiosity was piqued by the unfamiliar tool, and with a gleam in his eyes he slowly began to peel the potatoes.
His seriousness made me smile. While furtively looking at him, I prepared a colander and started to fill it with corn. It had the same familiar appearance of dried corn.
It looked like you could put it inside a frying pan and make popcorn out of it already.
I filled a bowl with water and dipped the colander filled with corn inside, allowing the water to be gently soaked in by the corn.
Sizzle! Plop, plop, plop!
Then, in an instant, the water in the bowl was sucked in by the corn kernels. The dry kernels became plump and glossy, as if they had just been harvested. ‘Otherworldly ingredients are so amazing and strange!’
I took out one of the grains and pressed it with my finger to see if it had the same elasticity as a fresh one. When I gently put it in my mouth, the juice overflowed, and the intense sweetness spread around stimulating my senses. It tasted like some fruit with a high sugar content.
It would be delicious to make fried corn with this. With salt, of course! I’d like to bite into it while savouring the hot, crispy bits. And of course, along with a cold glass of dry sake! Swoosh! It was so delicious that I couldn’t help but let my thoughts drift to the drinking parties I participated during some nights after work.
I guess it was because I haven’t had a drink since I came here. I couldn’t help but drool in my mouth, and my throat choked as I remembered the dry sake. Aaah, the cursed nature of drinkers. I just had no other choice but to bear with it for now. I left out a sigh and roused myself up from my reverie.
I rinsed the corn, which had absorbed enough water to look fresh and shiny, under running water again. I set aside some of the corn for the soup ingredients and put the rest on standby next to the pot.
“It’s ready! What do you think, Akane?!” Jade, who had finally finished, proudly held out the white peeled potatoes to me.
“I did a pretty good job if I say so myself,” he bragged to me, like a child.
It’s a peeler. Of course, you’ll manage to peel something nicely with it…
But instead of saying that, I decided to keep my thoughts on his ‘achievements’ to myself and started praising him:
“You are so good! I can’t believe it’s your first time!”
Hearing that, he looked twenty percent happier than usual, and his ears turned bright red with excitement. I was sure that Jade was older than me, but he seemed so cute that I couldn’t help but turn my face away to hide the smile on my lips.
For some reason I felt like I could see his tail wagging behind him for a second.
Oh my god, I needed to stop with the disillusions!
Not wanting my inner turmoil to be known, I decided to concentrate on the next task.
I sliced the potatoes that Jade peeled for me into thin slices so that they could be cooked more easily. I then prepared a pan and added a piece of butter. When the butter started to melt, I threw in the onions, being careful not to burn the butter. I Sautéed them until the onions took on a golden colour, then I added the potatoes. When the butter was all mixed in, I added the corn and fried it some more.
The light-yellow grains took on a beautiful golden colour as they cooked. The aroma of the butter and the sweet smell of the roasted onions tickled my nose. It looked delicious enough to be eaten as is, with salt and pepper.
When the potatoes were sufficiently fried, I poured in enough water to cover the ingredients and added consommé. Then left it to simmer until the potatoes became soft.
Simmer, simmer, simmer.
The golden corn and potatoes danced around in the boiling water.
“It’s corn soup, but there are potatoes in it, aren’t there?”
“Hmmm, I don’t think it’s common to add potatoes, but we do. I don’t think they put potatoes in the kind they serve at restaurants.”
‘It’s a corn soup, and adding onions is one thing, but going so far as to even add potatoes?’ But for me, I liked it better with potatoes. I felt that with corn alone the soup is too light, so I imagined potatoes would make it more filling.
I could have used cream to make it thicker, but I didn’t want to add too much fat. I chose potatoes because I was concerned about the calorie content and I didn’t want to use whipped cream, which is surprisingly expensive even in small quantities. ‘The result is quite thick, so if you like thick soups, this one’s for you.’
After a while, when the potatoes had softened enough, I turned off the heat and let it cool down.
It was about time.
With that in mind, I strained my ears, looking toward the front door.
From there I could hear the sound of noisy footsteps approaching me.
“Sis! I’m home! And I am really hungry! “
“Hey, Hiyori. Don’t open the door so roughly! Also, wash your hands when you get home! And go change your clothes!”
“Your cute little sister is back, and you’re just starting off with a complaint? Are you her mother or something?” Jade asked.
“No, she’s my sister. And an older sister shouldn’t spoil her younger sister!”
“Yeeesss madam! I’ll be a good child and go change quickly and wash my hands! “
“What a cold-hearted big sister! “Jade said with a bit of sarcasm.
My sister came in like a storm, squealing and complaining to me, and left for her room in a flash.
I let this exchange go on without looking at my sister, and cracked eggs one after another into the bowl.
Then I heard an unfamiliar voice in the room.
‘Hmm?’ I wondered, and when I looked back at the door, I saw the dashing Prince Cain there. Jade seemed to have noticed already and gave up his place to join Prince Cain, who was waiting a little further away.
Prince Cain’s gaze wandered uncomfortably, and he said in a reserved tone,
“Should I wash my hands too? “
My mind was somewhat confused by the ridiculous situation and I froze.
I wonder if I should show him to the washroom…