Published at 13th of November 2020 07:35:13 AM
Rachel drew a knife instead of replying . Her slicing the carrot smoothly like tofu was very beautiful . The sound of the knife bumping into a cutting board, the sound of the sliced carrot cracking or crushing, and the sound of her cuffs rubbing her skin .
When he was silently listening for the sound, Rachel quietly whispered, “The moment you suddenly hate what you like comes when you are reminded of a painful memory . ”
It was clear what the painful memory she was talking about . So, he couldn’t give an answer . Rachel didn’t say anything more . The sound of her cutting the ingredients did not stop, and there was still anxiety in her voice .
She asked in a calm voice, “Where is Kaya now?”
“She is bringing her family members here right now . They’ll be here soon . ”
“Okay . I know you don’t like an old woman’s preaching long, but you need to listen sometimes . Unfortunately, today I think I should act like that old woman . Don’t make Kaya face the same fate as mine . If you collapse in the kitchen, she might feel scared of the kitchen and hate the kitchen itself . You know what I mean?”
Her remarks were actually a warning to him, sharply reminding him how important it was for him to stay fit . He suddenly thought about the situation where he was not with Kaya . How could she get by day by day? Of course, he knew how she had been living before he met her . Back then, he didn’t know Kaya . But she was his girlfriend and would-be wife . If he collapsed, she might stop cooking altogether and seclude herself like Rachel for ten years, let alone realizing her dreams as a chef .
“I really appreciate your advice a lot . I will always keep it in mind . ”
He replied in a serious voice and she nodded at him .
As far as she knew, he was a man who would keep what he said . She was convinced that he would pay more attention to his health because she reminded him of the importance of his staying fit like this .
“Can you help me?”
“Well, it looks like I might more likely collapse than you collapsing while trying to help me . I asked you to take good care of your health, so isn’t it funny for me to overwork myself here?”
“How can I help you first? What kind of dish would you want to make first?”
“Zucchini soup, salsa salmoriglio . Besides, caponata . Don’t eat dessert . It’s not good for your health . ”
“Ah, it’s simpler than I thought . ”
When he said that, she turned to him . Then he hurriedly shook his hand and opened his mouth .
“Oh, no . I thought you would make a gorgeous dish because you said you would cook for me as I was sick . Something like thick boiled bouillabaisse or meat dish . But you’re making a relatively simple dish, to my surprise . ”
“Well, I could have cooked it right after you fell, but since you got well now, I don’t have to cook something too nutritious for you . You might get sick if you eat too much . Just take it slow . ”
“Alright . What should I do first?”
“First, prepare zucchini soup . ”
“Yes, chef . ”
He calmly lifted the knife . It was the moment when he was almost done chopping the onions and garlic when Kaya and her family arrived . They looked a little confused, seeing Rachel cooking in the kitchen .
With a gentle smile, Min-joon said, “It looks like Rachel wanted to cook for us before we depart for Korea . ”
“Thank you so much, Rachel . How can I help you?”
“No, Mom . Don’t do anything if you don’t know how to deal with the ingredients . Just sit still . ”
“Don’t you believe my cooking skills?”
“Nope . Just sit down there . ”
Kaya responded firmly then heated a pot in the oven as if to help Rachel .
While looking at Kaya with a dissatisfied expression, she felt Rachel’s right before her, so she smiled at Rachel and said, “When I was young, I bought and read a lot of magazines with articles about you, Rachel . I always thought that I should cook for my kids, but I have never cooked for them properly because cooking was burdensome and I was also busy . ”
“Well, cooking is hard for everybody at first, but it’s not too late . If you’re interested in cooking, let me know . I can’t give you personal coaching, but I can give you some tips . ”
“Really? Thank you for telling me that . ”
While they were chatting like that, Zemma watched the three cooking quietly .
It was time to prepare lunch, which was common in every house . But the people in the kitchen were Rachel, Min-joon, and Kaya . The sound of the knife touching the cutting board and the smell from the boiling pot was quite extraordinary .
Zemma asked, “Min-joon, can I ask what you are cooking now?”
“Ah, zucchini soup, salsa salmoriglio, and caponata . ”
“I know what zucchini soup is, but I don’t know about the other two . ”
“It’s all Mediterranean cuisine . You eat caponata with red wine and sugar-boiled sauce by putting some fried vegetables and fish or octopus in it . You make salsa salmoriglio by seasoning the grilled fish with salmoriglio sauce… Now, look at this . ”
He stirred the olive oil poured in about a cup with a whisk and began to add lemon juice little by little .
“You have to mix the lemon juice little by little while making bubbles like this . You shouldn’t put too much in it all at once . ”
“It’s simple . Because they’re separated from each other . Water and oil don’t mix well . It’s the same for making mayonnaise and mustard . Anyway, do you want to try doing it yourself? Add some oregano and parsley here . ”
“Is this much okay?”
“Yeah, good . Two leaves of oregano and two stalks of parsley are enough . And pour a spoonful of boiling water there . ”
When he explained, Zemma looked nervous, but she raised a spoon and poured boiling water into the sauce . He sprinkled salt and pepper on it and seasoned it then smiled .
“Congratulations! You made this dish, too!”
“Yeah . If you gave me a hand, you’ve actually helped me . ”
While looking at the dish, Zemma smiled . Although her smile was a bit distorted, it was beautiful and lovely . When he looked at her smile, he felt more keenly that if he collapsed, it would mean breaking her smile . He didn’t want to give Kaya and her family members the same pain that Rachel had suffered from for the past decade or even now .
It was Rachel’s job to grill the fish . He said he could do it himself, but Rachel would not allow him to do so .
“Well, I feel like I’ve treated you properly only when I grill the fish…”
Rachel didn’t say further, but within a few minutes, Kaya and Min-joon seemed to understand what she was trying to say .
“Oh, that’s the way she uses the coal fire . ”
The way Rachel was using the gridiron was quite skillful . Kaya also received a lot of praise for her skillful adjusting of the heat at the Grand Chef competition . But Rachel’s skills were perfect, which Kaya could aim for later .
Rachel seemed to check all the fish fat flowing down the grill . She lifted the grill and avoided the flames before the fat could grow the flames, and perhaps because of that, she could roast the fish skin well without burning it at all .
Everybody seemed hungry with their eyes fixed on the fish on the table . To put it more bluntly, the dishes Rachel made had the magic power to make even someone who was already full want to eat again .
At that moment, Kaya asked curiously, “By the way, why are there six plates? Oh, it’s for Anderson?”
“No, it’s not for Anderson . He went to the restaurant early in the morning . ”
“Then who is it for?”
Min-joon coughed for a moment with an embarrassed expression .
At that moment, the soft sound of a car engine was heard outside the house . Kaya looked around the window, and her expression hardened . The luxurious sedan parked outside the window wasn’t that strange . Kaya, Zemma, and Grace looked at Min-joon at the same time .
Min-joon said, clearing his throat, “I invited Kaya’s father . ”
“I wish you had told me beforehand…”
“Well, I thought you would be disturbed a lot . ”
But they did not refute him . Certainly, their relationship with Bruce was a big piece of homework, which they kept putting off because they didn’t know how to solve it despite their strong wish to do so .
And now they were suddenly faced with the daunting homework . With Kaya, Grace, and Zemma looking tense and nervous, Min-joon calmly went to the front door and opened it .
Then he smiled feebly at Bruce . Bruce’s face was much more stiffened than his family members .
“Come on, Mr . Bruce . How are you?”
“Well, I’ve never felt so uncomfortable to get greeted like this . Can I come in?”
“Of course . Come over here . ”
Led by Min-joon, Bruce stepped in and sat down quietly .
With everyone silent, Rachel opened her mouth in a light voice .
“It’s nice to see you, Mr . Bruce . Are you traveling with them to Korea?”
“Ah, yes . It turned out that way . ”
“To put it more accurately, Mr . Bruce really wanted to join them . He even adjusted his schedule to travel with us . ”
When he said that, Bruce scratched his head with an awkward expression .
Min-joon sliced the fish in a calm manner . The fish that Rachel picked for salsa salmoriglio was sea bream . The moment the rich taste of sea bream melted with the aromas of lemon and olive made them feel like they were listening to a beautiful poem .
Min-joon’s eyelids trembled at the moment .
“Why don’t you try? Please try this fish . It can’t be more delicious than this . ”
As soon as he egged on them to start enjoying the food, Zemma, who put the soup in her mouth, opened her eyes wide as if she was overwhelmed by the taste, forgetting the serious atmosphere .
‘It’s so delicious…!’
Rachel didn’t use any special cooking techniques they used at the restaurant, nor was the recipe unusual . Nonetheless, it was so delicious . The sweet and salty taste of the pumpkin and cheese that stimulated their appetite was so fascinating .
Of course, it wasn’t just Zemma who admired the taste . Everyone who was eating got hooked on to the dish .
Grace said in a subdued voice, “It’s so delicious, Ms . Rachel . ”
“Thank you . There’s nothing that makes me happier than hearing somebody saying my dish is delicious . ”
“How about you, Bruce? You like it?”
Grace spoke to Chuck Bruce, pretending to be calm . He opened his eyes wide as if he was surprised for a moment then replied with a slightly trembling voice, “Oh, yes, it’s good . It’s so delicious . ”
“I can’t cook for you like this . I was too busy to cook and enjoy this kind of dish . ”
“I’m sorry . ”
“You don’t have to think so . Thanks to that, my daughter has become such a great cook .
Anyway, Kaya, me, and Zemma could get by, enjoying a good meal though we could not afford an affluent life . How about you? Did you enjoy your meal?”
“Well, I didn’t . ”
“That’s funny . Why am I comforted by that?” Said Grace, smiling bitterly .
Kaya said in a quiet voice, “Let’s eat a lot of delicious dishes in Korea . Then, I don’t think we will feel sorry for the dishes we couldn’t afford to enjoy . ”
“Sure, let’s do that . ”
Their conversation was rather awkward, but they clearly showed mutual anxiety, curiosity, and affection in it . While smiling in heart, Min-joon put a slice of sea bream’s flesh in his mouth . There was something that nobody could imitate at the restaurant table . All the family members were here in one place at the moment .
Therefore, what they were sharing at this moment was a healthy meal, above all else .
Rather, it was a beautiful meal .