She and the Cooks
Recalling the exchange with Cain, I advanced towards the kitchen.
I’ve heard the directions so there’s no problem. I’ve had it explained, so I shouldn’t go the wrong way.
While I was walking fussily, I was called out to from behind. Turning my head towards that voice, Glenn was there, calmly smiling.
I tilted my head at his expression like he had been looking for me.
“Glenn, good day. What is it?”
… I shouldn’t have done anything today yet.
I have no recollection of anything. When I asked thinking so, Glenn understandingly laughed out loud.
“No, a while ago I heard from Freed that Lidi immediately headed towards the kitchen. I have been wondering whether you need a guidance”
“Freed said that?”
“No, it’s my own judgement. The castle’s kitchen lies quite deep in. It’s difficult for first-timers to find their way there alone”
Apparently, Glenn came out of kindness.
Grateful for that, I unintentionally asked.
“Difficult? Freed haven’t said a single word about that”
“Freed doesn’t visit kitchen. Or rather, that’s natural”
“Ah, yup, that’s true”
Now that he mentioned it, it’s natural.
It’s unthinkable for the Crown Prince to visit the kitchen. Even I approached the kitchen in the mansion only because I wanted to make daifuku by all means. Until then I hadn’t cared where in the mansion it was.
“Then, please do”
I’ll be saved if he guides me.
It’s said to be in a difficult location, besides in the end Freed won’t complain if it’s Glenn. I’d be troubled if he got strangely jealous.
… No, but if it’s only a little it may be nice being scolded… it’d feel like being loved…. Ha! What are you thinking, me. I can’t I can’t.
As soon as I let my mind wander maidenly thoughts assault my head.
Even if he’s (provisional), it’s the fact right now I hold affections towards him. All I need to do is ascertain whether it’s the real thing.
If I don’t think about that, I’m aware of my long-time affection.
With Glenn’s guidance, we continued.
When we went down the stairs in a rather inconspicuous place, the interior became truly different from the Royal Palace’s.
Stone walls and gates unadorned by anything, the monochromatic gray structures overwhelmed me.
“The kitchen is in the back. Lidi?”
“Ah, yup. Sorry, I was a little surprised”
“Yeah, this is so to speak the hidden side. Under usual circumstances, somebody with social status like Lidi wouldn’t approach it”
“What about Glenn?”
“It’s my job. I need to have a grasp on every part of the castle”
I see. This means he was the most suitable to guide me.
While intently following after Glenn, I let out a convinced funfun. I might have been saved to get a guide. I seem to get lost enough as is.
“―――― It’s over there”
Glenn, who had been walking in front of me, stopped and looked at me.
I nodded and went past him. As I passed him, Glenn said worriedly.
“Are you okay if I don’t accompany you?”
“From the start I was supposed to come alone, so I’m alright. Besides, I’m used to stuff like that”
When I stormed the mansion’s kitchen too. When I went to meet the restaurant owner in town too. I’ve always somehow managed by myself.
I parted with Glenn and without hesitation stepped inside the kitchen.
At the same moment, dozens of cooks turned my way at once.
Receiving their gazes, I relaxedly spoke.
“I am sorry to come during work. I think you’ve already heard the story, however I wonder where the Head Chef Bart is”
Since the story spread, naturally they know who I am.
Thanks to saying that courtesy is unnecessary in advance, they didn’t fall to their knees. But still, everybody bowed their heads with minimum courtesy.
“We have been waiting for you, Princess Consort. I am the Head Chef Bart. I have already heard the story. This way, please”
When I spoke the Head Chef’s name I’ve heard from Freed, from the inner part of the kitchen came out a man of medium build who looked to be before 40 and walked my way. Although the atmosphere is extremely tiresome, I unconsciously laughed… Seems every cook is fundamentally the same.
“…? Why did you laugh. Princess Consort”
“I’m sorry. Your attitude was too similar to the cooks I know, so I just”
“I do not understand the meaning of what I was told, but please do not get in our way. Even if it’s His Highness request, accepting is as far as it goes”
“Of course. It’s enough if you show me the kitchen. I don’t intend to get in your way. If possible, I would like to see the pantry, would that be a problem?”
“In that case, as we’ve heard about it in advance it is possible”
Being told to follow as he started walking, I followed after him in a hurry.
No, of course they’d dislike me. Well, this much is within expectations.
From their point of view, the Crown Prince’s fiancée is nothing more than a bother. Of course I understand that, but I still wanted to be allowed to peek into the pantry no matter what. I don’t intend to bother them more than necessary, so naturally I don’t mean to visit it often.
Bart stopped in front of a large door. There a short slim man waited for us. According to his explanation, a magical art kept the temperature inside constant. He must’ve explained thinking I was unaware, but of course I do know. There’s something similar in the kitchen of my ducal residence.
“He’s the Vice Head Chef”
Introduced by Bart, he nodded.
On Bart’s signal, the Vice Head Chef lightly bowed and opened the door.
Seeing the room tightly packed with food, unconsciously I raised my voice.
Food I’ve never seen, things I know about but wouldn’t expect. The pantry overflowing with various ingredients evoked intense emotions.
Amazing. As expected of the Royal Palace pantry! The product lineup is impressive.
With my mouth open like a simple idiot I walked up to every shelf and ascertained the ingredients. It’s no problem if I’m told to never come here again. I’ll remember what I want and request them from Brother later.
While I ascertained the ingredients with my eyes wide open, Head Chef and Vice Head Chef silently followed behind me. It seemed like they wanted to say something, but now’s not the time to mind.
Like that I spent time looking around, selecting in my head which ingredients I want to some degree, as I reached the last shelf I’ve met the long-awaited destined encounter.
As I put it into words, I took it in my hand unconsciously.
It exists… After all it exists.
I trembled from excitement as I discovered the item I’d wanted from long ago but, with no idea how to make it, resigned myself to not obtaining.
Wi, with this I can make youkan!
Ah, those who think It’s youkan now, huh, step forth.
I won’t forgive those who look down on youkan. They’ll one day understood its deliciousness.
I’m not interested in youkan. Those thinking so will fall for it.
Yes, once they incidentally try eating it, they’ll succumb to the temptation.
In an instant they’ll fall for youkan’s trap.
As soon as it enters their mouth, they’ll fall saying “Why have I hated such a delicious thing until now!”
Once they fall, it’s the end.
The day their life of unexpectedly plentiful varieties of youkan starts isn’t far.
Kukuku. I’ll spread youkan next, a bad smile appeared on my face.
Totally getting into the mood I was imagining various recipes with this and that, when a perplexed voice from behind brought me back to my senses.
“P… Princess Consort?”
As I looked back flustered, the two were firmly staring at me.
“What might it be?”
When I tilted my head slightly and asked while still grasping agar, the Vice Head Chef nervously pointed at it.
“Princess Consort, are you by chance aware of what that is?”
“That… You mean agar?”
When I asked them back not understanding what they’re getting at, they vigorously nodded.
“That food has been imported recently from the major southern country, the Irvine Kingdom. But on top of it being an ingredient we see for the first time, we do not understand how to prepare it, thus ultimately we left it alone”
As the Vice Head Chef hung his head in chagrin, Head Chef Bart also affirmed.
“Unfortunately, we were truly brought to our knees. Supposing Princess Consort knows something, I wonder if you couldn’t teach us…”
“Then, is it okay if I try making something as an experiment?”
“Is that alright!?””
Naturally, I nodded.
Looking good. Everything worked out as desired.
It might be a little difficult to get my hands on it if it’s imported. Then to win their trust I must quickly show them the way to use this ingredient.
Cooking to win the cook’s trust!
Recalling my previous experiences in town, I fired myself up. To be recognized, it’s best to make something.
“However, I never would have thought Princess Consort would cook. With all due respect, I thought it was a selfishness of a young noble lady seeking to satisfy her curiosity…”
As we left the pantry and I was led to the kitchen, Bart apologetically bowed.
Of course I understood he would think that, so without minding I lightly ignored it.
Come to think of it, Vice Head Chef raised his voice.
“Princess Consort hails from Vivoir ducal house… That being the case, do you perchance know of ‘daifuku’?”
“Daifuku? Of course I do”
Far from knowing about it, I’m the one who made it. When I affirmed thinking so, Vice Head Chef opened up that together with our residence’s head chef they took lessons under the same master.
“I see, you’re Thomas’s friend”
Surprisingly that man is well connected, as I nodded with that, Vice Head Chef continued talking about his acquaintance.
“I’ve enquired about daifuku several time before. I wondered if Thomas made the original daifuku recipe. I know he makes daifuku for the ducal house. That’s why I’d thought so, but it seems he could only make it because his new master had taught him…”
Probably Father forbid him from saying my name. Father doesn’t say anything about my involvement, but Thomas who learned the recipe wouldn’t stay silent.
“I made it”
It’s not like I’m particularly hiding it. Everybody who knows me knows about it, I also talked about it with Freed yesterday. In the first place Brother said it’s not really a problem if I talk about it.
When I answered without hesitation thinking so, the gazes of everybody in the kitchen gathered at me.
Vice Head Chef let out a foolish voice. Head Chef Bart also opened his eyes wide, overwhelmed by the surprise.
“I’m saying, I created the original recipe for daifuku. I only granted Thomas the permission to produce it within the ducal residence”
“There’s no reason for me to lie, right? If you doubt me so much, I can make it right now. I have to make red bean paste anyway”
I obtained the long-awaited agar. Thinking I’d like to make youkan at once, I suggested so.
Next to Bart who nodded with an astonished face, Vice Head Chef exclaimed “Ah!”
“Then, then perhaps, curry rice too…”
“Ah, so you’ve heard from Thomas. Yes, that’s also me. But, I wonder if you could keep silent about it. I don’t want it to be known much…”
I have no idea where the leaks are coming from.
I sincerely don’t want to be scolded by Father again.
When I emphasized it with such a feeling, despite making an astonished face Vice Head Chef nodded.
“Of, of course I will not spread it… I never would have thought Princess Consort would be the one who made curry rice. I received a culture shock when I ate it for the first time last year”
“Ara? Did you visit the restaurant on the purpose? Then perhaps do you know the shopkeeper Lars?”
“Of course I do. He’s a famous cook, I know him via Thomas. Um! Princess Consort, my heart was shaken by the curry bread! I think Princess Consort is a true genius to develop that!”
As he excitedly drew near, I unconsciously bent back.
It’s the same reaction as that of enthusiastic fans.
Even when I was at Lars’s shop, several times such guys came into kitchen wanting to be my disciples. It was good that Lars drove them away, but this is truly troubling.
“I’m moved! I never would have thought I’d meet the owner of the original recipe of daifuku and curry rice! At first, I thought what a troublesome thing it was, but now I am deeply grateful to His Highness!”
“I, I see. Isn’t it great”
And it’s unpleasant how his response resembles Thomas’s.
Ultimately, I feel like I’m being worshipped.
When I averted my gaze towards Head Chef, I saw Bart looking at me with sparkling eyes… Eeeh?
Unable to bear it I looked around, but it feels like the gazes of the surrounding changed into those of respect.
When I wondered why it suddenly happened, I realized I revealed that I’m the owner of the original recipes.
… I see, the words original recipe are that effective, huh.
Having recalled that in this world the position of the original recipe owner is absolute, I instantly reflected on saying something unnecessary.
… But oh well, immediately I changed my mind.
It’s fine if they let me do as I please with this.
Anyway, it’s too late. Call me master or whatever.
Quickly preparing myself, I gave instructions to bring me ingredients.
In response, cooks ran, vying to collect the ingredients.
It’s a scene I’m already used to seeing, it has the same feeling as the kitchen in the ducal mansion.
Déjà vu, this is déjà vu.
It already doesn’t stress me. After all, I feel like I’m most comfortable in kitchen.
I have to say my thanks to Freed later for allowing me to come here.
I tied up my hair and rolled up my sleeves. I held them in place with bands I had hidden in each pocket.
Checking the ingredients brought before me I nodded.
Yup, as expected of the Royal Palace. The freshness is exceptional. There’s nothing to complain about.
“Then, I’ll be borrowing the kitchen for a while. I’ll let you eat sweets made with agar”
Alright. I’m going! Wait for me, youkan!!
There’s a part of me that wants to make mizu youkan, but for now let’s make ordinary youkan.
Of course I remember the recipe. First of all is the read bean paste.
Imagining the details of the recipe, I showed a smile.
Totally enjoying it, I began working skillfully working on the new traditional Japanese confectionery.