Chapter 72: The Essence of Japanese Cuisine
「Okay, the harvest is over for the time being. 」
With that said, the monsters that were growing in the field were now rolling around me.
From Jack O’ Lantern, which was the one that I planted first, to Devil Carrots, Mash Bamboo, Killer Plant fruits, and monsters such as radish, cabbage, and eggplant, that were newly cultivated and harvested.
「As expected. All of the monsters from Lord Kyou are fresh.」
As Fitis said, the monsters I grew in my place were fresher and tasted better than others tasted. However, when cultivated naturally, some monsters grew into strange shapes.
「Brother. This Devil Carrot has three legs. 」
「Ahaha, this eggplant, the Venus, is overweight and torn here and there. You can see that it is full of scratches.」
Jack and Dora-chan spoke while pointing at those monsters.
Well, if we carried such cultivation in large quantities, it would inevitably produce bad shapes. These days, nobody would buy monsters with bad shapes at the town’s market if they had high prices.
After all, it seemed that appearance was important in every world.
「But the taste itself doesn’t change even if it’s badly shaped.」
I picked the scratched eggplant Venus and said “thank you”.
By the way, this eggplant Venus. It looked like an eggplant, but it was a monster with limbs. For some reason, everyone said it often took a goddess’ pose to appeal others to eat it.
When it came to a good shaped one, the eggplant Venus was quite close to a humanoid. In other words, it had a goddess-like design.
The eggplant I held in my hand looked far from being a goddess, but to me it was still a goddess.
「But when it comes to cooking, I think it’s better to have an ingredient with a good shape. Don’t you think so? People don’t have very good image of badly shaped foods, and above all, the appearance of such ingredients will be subject to examination during the next match with Japanese cuisine. What do you think?」
「Well, I did some research on Japanese food in this world, but it’s not much different from the Japanese food I know. However, I feel that this one is simpler.」
After the judges announced the theme of the next match, I tried to find out about Japanese cuisine in this world. When I actually ate it, I noticed that a few parts modified the food more than I expected.
In other words, I had to create a dish that valued the taste of the ingredients. The amount of salt was minimal too. If I had to make a dish that emphasized the ingredients, it seemed that the selection of ingredients at this stage would make a huge difference. Still, I felt that I was overlooking something important.
「…Well, I don’t know what to think about that right now. It can’t be helped. But I have already decided on which dish to cook. Let’s go find the last ingredients now. Rock, I need your help. I will leave it up to you.」
「Yes! Papa! 」
With that said, I stroked the head of my cute daughter, Rock, and asked her to fly.
By the way, although I omitted the depiction of procuring ingredients, I must say now that I was riding on the back of this child and moving to various places.
Things would’ve been unsatisfactory if I didn’t have the help of this child…
「Is this place the seaside? Why are we in a place like this? 」
「Well, soon you’ll know why we came here. 」
The place where I got off from Rock was the place where the seaside spread out in front of me. Fitis raised doubts right next to me.
I arrived at a lake-like area that was a little separated from the sea. There were several stakes with nets here and there.
「Don’t tell me that this place is… 」
「That’s right. This place is still in the process of production, but it’s a place where I am trying to grow sea monsters.」
Why did I hide it? After that big cooking competition, I secretly prepared to grow seafood at this place. I could fail, so I kept it a secret.
After the match with Miss Katherina, I wanted to grow not only mountain food but also seafood. Therefore, I caught a moderate amount of sea monsters and released them at this place.
By the way, the ones who knew about this place were Lily who cooperated with me, along with Dora-chan, Jack, Rock, and…
「Hmm, you finally came, huh. You’re late, Kyou, Fitis.」
「Master! Don’t tell me…Master. Did you cooperate in creating this place?」
Fitis immediately understood the situation by seeing Miss Katherina. However, after seeing her master, Fitis immediately bowed in front of her.
「I apologize Master. I failed. I took your seat from the competition, but my performance ended up being disastrous. I am a failure Master…」
「Ah, yeah. I’ve already heard about that. Don’t worry, Fitis. 」
「Even so, I… 」
「Hmm. Let me rephrase this. Having a defeat is difficult to deal with. But your defeat gave you the opportunity for growth. If there is a time for a fight next time, you shall remember the regrets of that time and use more devotion. I’m sorry to say it this way. You have won over me with your strength. However, to apologize for that is an insult to me. Do you get it?」
Fitis instantly apologized and felt sorry for Miss Katherine. However, she saw it and corrected her mistake.
It was fine to reflect on losing. Rather, losing was also the path to success.
In fact, I felt it was good to try various training methods after I lost to my father. If I thought about it now, the defeat at that time gave me many different things.
And in order to prove it, I must win the next match.
「…I understand. Master. You are right. Now, I will concentrate on the next fight based on this defeat.」
「Yeah. That’s good. Next is Kyou’s match, am I right? Did you come to harvest something from this place?」
「Yes, I came. 」
As I replied, I saw many sea monsters swimming in the water.
「Sahuagin*, Scylla** Octopus, Sea Serpent, and…Is that a colored fish? Amazing! You cultivated so many kinds of sea monsters.」
「Well, I wanted to be prepared so that I wouldn’t need to worry that much. But, I succeeded at creating this place because of Miss Katherina’s cooperation.」
Then, when I pulled up some monsters from the sea and tried to select which one to use. On this moment, I noticed a change in some fish.
「Hmm, Kyou. It is not good to cultivate colored fish in the same space as other monsters. Look. He is plump and fat, and is full of wounds.」
Looking at the fish that Miss Katherina pointed out, I also noticed that many monsters were totally injured.
When I looked closely, I saw that many of the other Sahuagin and Sea Serpents were also injured.
I should not have raised a variety of monsters in the same place.
「Hmm. These damaged monsters won’t sell at very good prices on the market. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to dispose of these injured monsters right here. 」
「I see. Is that so? It’s a bit of a waste, isn’t it? 」
She did not mean “disposal” literally, but meant to cook and eat them.
It seemed that even on Planet Earth, the creator cooked and disposed of the unsightly things. Here was similar. However, that didn’t mean the taste was bad just because they looked bad. I felt it was a waste.
On that instant, a flash occurred in me.
Yes, this was a matter for any ordinary citizen like me who was born in Japan and lived in contact with the Japanese culture.
I realized the root of Japanese cuisine.
「I see…It wasn’t the taste that I should aim at. It was literally the raw material itself. 」
「Hmm, it looks like you’ve come up with something. 」
Seeing my inspirational beam, both Miss Katherina and Fitis smiled in the same way. Then, I picked up the monster in front of me and said the following words.
「That’s right. You will see what I can do. In the next match, I will show you the true essence of “Japanese cuisine”.」
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*In the Fantasy World Games, Sahuagin were a fish-like monstrous humanoid species that lived in oceans, seas, underground lakes, and underwater caves.
**In Greek mythology Scylla was a sea-monster who haunted the rocks of a narrow strait opposite the whirlpool of Charybdis. Homer describes Scylla as a creature with twelve dangling feet, six long necks and grisly heads lined with a triple row of sharp teeth.