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Thursday, September 22, 2022

KoushaRyouri ~C32

Chapter 32: Head Chef's Tears



"What are you going to make?"


As I am standing and working in the kitchen, Songho (the old chef) looks at me.


He is a veteran who has been working in this Letivia family for more than 20 years now, and he is the head chef here.


At first, he watched me doing some familiar cooking, but now I am stirring eggs in a bowl.


It looks like I am going to make omelets.


Or it’s a bean dish.


Songho noticed the beans on the plate.


They were already cooked in water and shiny.


He also looked at the red eggplant, onions, potatoes, and minced meat on the chopping board as if inspecting the ingredients.


"Hmm. From the looks of it, is it pork beans?"


In the end, Songho guesses on his own.


It is a dish prepared by mixing pork and beans, then stewing them with red eggplant.


It is a popular breakfast food for the nobles because it is an iron plate dish and allows them to consume vegetables and other ingredients at once.


Apparently, even after 300 years, its popularity has not diminished.


--But I was wrong.


"Where did you learn it? I haven't eaten pork beans since my grandmother made them for me. I never even made pork beans myself."


Apparently, only Songho-san knows about pork beans. The other young chefs don't know about it.


He and Miss Lilith are stunned as they observe me cooking.


"We'll talk about that later. For now--"


"Oops. I'm sorry for interrupting your cooking. If there's anything you need, just let me know."


Songho-san's attitude is much softer than the first time I met him.


It seemed that Miss Lilith's words were effective.


I immediately started cooking.


First, I cut the ingredients into bite-size pieces and soaked them in water.


I put oil in a pot and put in the grated garlic.


I put the pot slightly away from the fire and let it heat up slowly.


When the garlic scent starts to come out, I add the minced meat and the onions I had soaked in water earlier and stir-fry them.


"What meat is that?"


Songho comes and observes my cooking again.


This time, he is mashing potatoes.


An unfamiliar person is cooking in his kitchen.


He couldn't help but feel curious about me.


But he is indeed a veteran chef.


At first glance, the meat I had prepared looked like ordinary pork.


But he seems to have recognized that it is not pork.


"You'll have to wait until you eat it to find out."


"What a waste of time for a little boy. Well, that's all right. Do as you please."


Songho returns to his post, but he is still curious and keeps glancing at me.


I stir-fry minced meat and onions with him watching my back.


When the color changes, I add the water-soaked potatoes, onions, the previously cooked beans, sliced tomatoes, and water.


I lower the heat and let it simmer for a while.


Gut, gut, gut, gut. ......


When the pot gets noisy, I add the stock powder and let it simmer again.


The key is not to turn up the heat too much. It tastes better if you boil it slowly over low heat.


If the heat is too strong, the water will evaporate too quickly, and the potatoes will stay hard.


I stick a skewer into the potato. If it easily goes in, then it is ready. Yup! It turned out well.


Season it with salt, pepper, and milk, remove it from the fire, and it's done-- but one more thing to do.


I add cheese at the end.


After lightly heating it, it's finally done.


"Cheese pork beans are ready."




Miss Lilith's blue eyes are shining brightly.


The other cooks are also intoxicated by the aroma of the cheese and tomatoes, which are added at the end of the dish.


"Pork beans with cheese? You make some pretty fancy stuff, little boy."


Songho claps me on the back.


It hurts, but I guess it's his way of showing his appreciation.


"Can I taste it? I'm the head chef, after all. As the person in charge of food, I can't just serve it to our Lord and his wife without tasting it."


"I don't mind. Actually, I am going to ask you to do so."


I am also grateful for his offer.


Because I would be able to have a veteran chef taste it.




Songho-san pumps his fist.


It is part of his job to taste it, but maybe Songho-san is also tempted to eat it.


He said his grandma used to make the pork beans for him.


He must be happy to be able to eat them for the first time after so long.


"Do you mind if we taste it too?"


The other chefs also raise their hands.


Of course, I have no reason to refuse.


Songho and the other Letivia chefs scoop the dish onto small spoons and put it into their mouths.


This is the most nerve-wracking moment for me.




The young chefs raise their voices.


"This is delicious!!"


Songho also praised the dish.


"Tomatoes and cheese go well together."


"Yeah, the sweetness of the cheese and the sourness of the tomatoes go well together. The texture also varies."


"It depends on the ingredients. The onions have a crispy texture, the potatoes have a soft and melting texture, and the beans have a crunchy texture."


"Each has its own strength and weakness, but the balance is good."


"The meat was salted, wasn't it? The saltiness is just right. But what holds all these flavors together?"


"Yeah. I feel the deep flavor..."


While chewing slowly, the cooks tilt their heads.


Then Songho speaks to me.


Little boy, what did you use for the soup stock?"


You're amazing, Songho-san.


You notice that part. As expected of the head chef.




I showed him the stock powder.


The powder is made of something that has been finely crushed.


"This is ....... It is made of crushed dried vegetables."




"You make soup stock with that?"


"When vegetables are dried, they lose their water content and become more flavorful. If you put them in hot water, you can use them right away to make soup stock. But I didn't expect to find dried vegetables in pork beans. They are full of nutrition, aren't they? Good thinking, little boy."


He pats my head a little roughly.


This must be Songho-san's greatest compliment.


Pork beans come in many flavors.


The sweetness of potatoes, onions, and beans.


The sourness of red eggplant and cheese.


The saltiness of salted meat and butter.


The dish has been popular among the nobles because it has many stimulating flavors, each with its own nutritional value.


However, the variety of flavors makes it difficult to summarize this dish.


To bring the flavors together, I used dried vegetables.


The strong flavor is as strong as animal broth. It brings together complex flavors and adds depth to the taste.


The result is an elegant taste that you will never get tired of.




When I notice, Songho is crying.


"Oh, Oyakata is..."


"He's crying!?"


The young chefs were surprised when they saw the head chef's tears.


So Songho-san is called Oyakata.


"Ex, excuse me... Songho-san, are you okay?"


"Thanks, little boy."




"I feel as if I have met my grandmother again after so long. It was delicious. I have no complaints. You can serve it to my master."


"Thank you!"


Songho-san looks at me with his eyes red and gives me a thumbs up.



  1. I can definitely understand that nostalgia. When i taste my dad's lasagna, i tend to tear up a bit.

    Thanks for the chapter!


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