Published at 13th of November 2020 07:35:15 AM
“So, you know the name of the dish, but you don’t know what kind of dish it is?” Kaya asked Min-joon, looking at him weirdly . But he avoided her gaze .
She opened her mouth with a sigh, “Lots of people usually eat this to relieve their hangover . It has tomato juice, vinegar, egg, salt and pepper, and even hot sauce . I put some salt in it because you might feel it tastes bland . ”
“Are you going to give me food waste now?”
“It’s good trash for your body . We eat it mostly when we’re drunk . ”
“I didn’t drink alcohol . ”
“If it’s good for hangover relief, it’s good for your body . My arm hurts . ”
Her logic was rather weird, but he knew it was just useless to keep arguing with her . So he reluctantly took the cup and drank it at once .
“It tastes awful . ”
“Give the cup back to me . ”
She took it and turned around . Shortly afterward, she returned to him with a bowl in both hands . He swallowed at the fragrant smell that tickled the tip of his nose . Since he drank hangover relief juice, which was tasteless and spicy, his tongue was craving for something sweet .
She said with a smile, “I hear you guys eat this in South Korea when you are sick . ”
“Did you make it yourself?”
“You also cooked for me when I was sick . Even if I practiced cooking so much and not cook for my sweetheart, then what’s the point of cooking? I don’t like that . ”
“I don’t, either . ”
With a cheerful smile, he raised his hand . White chicken breasts were finely sliced on top of the porridge, which had a yellow color overall . At first, he thought it was something like pumpkin porridge or curry porridge with masala powder but it was not . The scent from the porridge was too sweet for him to think that it was made with masala powder or pumpkin .
It wasn’t just sweet . The scent was aggressive and overwhelming to the point that the blood vessels of his nose, which were sensitively swollen in the dry air, became tight as if it was going to burst anytime .
He looked back at her with a surprised expression .
“Did you put saffron in it?”
“Yeah . ”
He smiled awkwardly as if it was ridiculous . Saffron was the world’s most expensive spice made by drying the pistil of a saffron flower . It was too luxurious of an ingredient to use for porridge .
When he cast a lame glance at her, she said casually, “Chef Rachel gave it to me to feed you . ”
“I wonder if you really had to put it in the porridge . ”
“Isn’t it true that you have a long tradition of soup culture in Korea? I hear you value soup a lot in your country, unlike the western countries where they despise soup . ”
“That’s right, but we tend to focus on the pure taste that comes from rice grains and other ingredients rather than the usual porridge with a spice . ”
“Shut up and just eat it . I’ve made it . Don’t think it’s just ordinary porridge . ”
“Okay . ”
If he tried to complain about the soup that she already made, it would only be an insult to Kaya and the saffron . He quietly shook off all the prejudice in his head and opened his mouth .
Then he said with a smile, “It’s delicious . ”
“Of course it should, I made it!”
She shrugged and laughed in satisfaction . Of course, he didn’t say it just to please her . He thought that the saffron scent would be crushed due to the nature of the porridge, but rather, it was vividly alive there .
‘Her cooking score is 8 . ’
She must have gone through quite a few complex procedures to make this kind of porridge . He slowly read the recipe, and at that moment, he could clearly feel her sincerity and warm heart .
“Oh you make the broth with chicken bones after cutting out the chicken flesh then you boil chicken flesh separately with the sous vide technique . Since you didn’t use a sous vide machine, it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely softer . After you boil the broth and filter it several times with a cloth, you put some unripe rice again with it and boil it . Oh, you must have gone through such a complicated process just to make this soup . ”
“Sometimes, you look like a monster to me . ”
“Don’t call me a monster . I feel hurt . ”
Instead of replying, she sat down next to him and leaned her head on his shoulder .
He opened his mouth .
“It’s heavy . Can you take your head off my shoulder?”
“Do you want to say that in this atmosphere right now?”
“What kind of atmosphere is it now?”
“Sweet, caring, commendable, and grateful . Don’t you think so?”
“I do . ”
“But why is your reaction so tepid?”
She grunted as if she was dissatisfied with his reaction . He smiled then twisted his body slightly and kissed her lips .
She frowned then said, “Are you trying to please me by merely kissing me? Is your kiss so worthy?”
“Then how can I reward you?”
“Why don’t we go on a trip?”
It was an unexpected offer . He was about to think of dozens of reasons why he could not .
But she took something out of her pocket . His eyes trembled with embarrassment when he looked at it .
She said in a calm voice, “I’ve taken a vacation leave, too . So, I’ve got four plane tickets . You will go on a trip with me, right?”
“Are you serious?”
“I’m not kidding . ”
Having replied shortly, she was waving a piece of paper between her fingers like a hypnotic device . His eyes slowly moved left and right along the ticket .
What she was holding was a flight ticket to South Korea .
‘Hummm… Korea, my country . ’
Apparently, it was the place where he was just a year ago, but he completely forgot it while he was staying in America . Maybe he was so busy until now, so much so that he felt like the past one year was much longer than his 30 years of life .
He usually didn’t suffer from homesickness, but when he saw the ticket, his heart was pounding . It had been a while since he saw the plane ticket .
But he made a strange expression in no time .
“But why do you need four tickets? Round trip?”
“No . I bought the tickets for Zemma and my mom . ”
“Even their tickets?”
“Well, Zemma will go to school soon, and Mom will start working . Then, it’s going to be hard for all of us to travel together like this . ”
“I know what you mean, but I wish you had given me a notice . ”
“If I let you know about it in advance, it’s not a surprise gift any more . ”
Of course, he wasn’t surprised enough to feel his heart was pounding because of the surprise gift . He took the plane ticket in her hand . He was to depart in three days . Perhaps, she thought he needed more rest before his departure .
At that moment, one of her family members suddenly came to his mind—Bruce, who is Kaya’s father . Kaya bought only four tickets . But he didn’t mention Bruce to Kaya . Even though Kaya and her mother had a get-together to shake off their long-cherished hatred for him, it seemed that the two were uncomfortable about taking him on the trip this time as if nothing happened .
They might have thought that Bruce needed to feel the pain as long as they did . Of course, Bruce said he didn’t live comfortably since he deserted his family; every day was a pain to him . But Kaya could not confirm it because she didn’t see him suffering with her own eyes .
She made a satisfied smile as if she was really looking forward to the trip .
“We’re going to have a good trip . ”
“Is this your first trip?”
“Well, depending on how you define a trip, it might be my first trip or not . ”
Though she didn’t say it clearly, it was probably her first trip because her family could not afford to take any decent trip . In some respects, it could be her trip that she came to Los Angeles, but it was not her genuine trip .
“Take a good rest before you leave for Korea . Pack your clothes well . ”
“It’s still cold in South Korea now . ”
It was March . It was early spring, but it was as cold as winter in Korea now .
She answered, shrugging, “It’s okay . I have some coats I bought when I lived in New York . ”
“What about me?”
“Don’t you have any clothes in your house when you go to Korea? You can go get them . ”
“Well, I wonder if they discarded my clothes . ”
It had already been a year since he left home . Of course, he stayed in Korea briefly after the Grand Chef competition was over, but at that time, he couldn’t check whether he had winter clothes at home . Kaya said confidently, straightening herself, “If you don’t have it, I’ll buy one for you . ”
“Hey, are you bragging because your income is good these days?”
“I’m not bragging to others . Only to you . ”
“Because you won’t misunderstand me, no matter what I say or how I act . ”
It seemed that her trust in herself was bigger than his trust in himself at the moment .
He scratched his nose with an awkward expression .
“How come you are so convinced I won’t misunderstand you?”
“Do you want me to tell you to confirm it?”
“Well, I think I know even if you don’t say it . ” He grinned at her .
She said provocatively with a confident expression, “Don’t you think I’m smarter than you?”
He shrugged without saying anything .
Then she continued in a calm voice, “Call your mother, and tell her you’re visiting Korea . ”
“Let me check the time… Oh, she’s probably still awake . ”
He picked up his smartphone after hesitating a bit . Several beeps sounded, and a slightly shattered voice was heard .
“Oh, yes, it’s me . ”
“I’m going to visit Korea soon . So I contacted you . ”
“Mom,” he said with a sigh . His mother, Hey-sun Lee seemed confused even now .
Was it because she could not believe his visit?
He opened his mouth with a more serious voice .
“I’m not kidding, Mom . I’m really coming to Korea . I think I’ll be staying there for about 10 days . ”
“You know that I don’t like to crack useless jokes . ”
“In three days . ”
> Hye-sun Lee asked in a surprised voice .