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The first thing Jo Minjoon felt wasn’t surprise or happiness. He was annoyed. He was concentrating on the food, and didn’t want to get distracted by the alarm.

“Does it suit your tastes?”

“Then when someone mentions you the USA the first thing you will remember is my cooking. It’s an honor.”

Jane said that and laughed. Jo Minjoon after smiling back at her concentrated again on the food. What was used on the meat? It didn’t look like something so ordinary as salt. On the ingredients window the herbs and the salt were separated, however he wondered if herb salt was used. The saltiness and the aroma of the herbs were so excessive they seemed to be mixed. When he felt that subtle difference, he didn’t know why but felt joyful. He felt like his tongue was trained.

[You noticed that the salt and the herbs were mixed together and discovered the herb salt.]
[Your delicacy experience increases.]

When the alarm window appeared he could once again affirm it. You sense the flavor more clearly after tasting it. The herb salt’s unique flavor seemed to touch his heart. Jo Minjoon slowly savored the hot meat juices in his mouth. And at the same time he quickly read the recipe.

It was more ordinary than he thought. You mixed fried onions, beaten eggs, bread powder and minced beef. The point that minced beef was used was different from the normally used hamburger steak from Korea. It wasn’t chopped meat but minced meat so while chewing you could feel the meat more shallowly, and at the same time the beef juices felt more abundant.

Even the point that it didn’t use pork meat was different. In Korea you mixed the chopped pork meat with beef on a 1-1 ratio. So the softness of pork meat had the tendency to sustain the strong flavor of the beef, but in this hamburger there was no beef. Maybe it was because of that, that he felt more unfamiliar.

After that, the next steps of the recipe were quite ordinary. You fried the hamburger steak on an oiled pan, you put on some pepper on the brown sauce and put it on the hamburger. For a dish that didn’t have any secret preparation to get 6 points, maybe it meant that it was an essentially basic dish.

After eating half of the hamburger steak, Jo Minjoon moved his fork to the mac and cheese.
He didn’t know what would be the final flavour if he ate two dishes that were strongly seasoned, so he purposefully ate the least seasoned hamburger steak first.

Honestly speaking mac and cheese wasn’t a dish Jo Minjoon liked. He didn’t like strongly seasoned dishes, precisely speaking he didn’t like dishes that made him feel pressured. He preferred simple flavors instead of complicated ones, and a simple sauce or only salt instead of sauce mixed with various ingredients.

For Jo Minjoon, the mac and cheese on top of which was added salt, felt too strong. And it wasn’t just melted but to the point it was kind of dried.  And on top of that there was added milk that made it feel buttery, so sincerely it wasn’t an easy dish.

Precisely speaking mac and cheese was called macaroni and cheese. To explain it simply you cooked butter, cheese and milk with macaroni until it boiled down. It was like an American topokki(korean spicy soft rice cake). Only that instead of the spiciness it was greasy.

However, when he opened his mouth to eat a bite, it didn’t feel as greasy. The flavor was also different from the one he tasted in Korea. It was slightly spicy and also a refreshing aroma could be felt. Jo Minjoon with a hint of admiration opened his mouth.

“This mac and cheese is really delicious. It’s the best from those I have tried.”
“It’s one of Jane’s own dish. Our daughter really loves it.”

Lucas said and put on a smile. The recipe alarm popped up, but this time also Jo Minjoon started to analyze the flavors on his head. But he couldn’t help but on the aroma of pepper. For pepper to be on it, there wasn’t even a single black powder on it.

“…….Is there maybe white pepper on it?”
“Yes. You are right. Your sense of taste is really sharp. Normally people don’t even notice.”

Of course. If you could taste pepper but see none, then that meant that it was white pepper.
White pepper was made by steaming the black skin of the pepper and grating the white stones. It’s aroma was weaker than normal pepper, but it was commonly used cooking white coloured dishes. Jo Minjoon laughed and said as if he had won a quiz contest.

“Because my purpose is to become a chef.”

“That’s one of my purpose, but i want to participate in a competition. Grand Chef.”

The conversation stopped for a while. Jo Minjoon put some mac and cheese on his mouth and started to relish the flavour. He didn’t feel rejection towards the aroma of the cheese that flowed through the tip of the tongue and the top of the inside of the mouth. The spicy taste seemed to be mustard. The herbs aroma at the end of the cheese’s was quite familiar. Parsley. However he was quite confused with the sour flavour, and it wasn’t even vinegar.

At the end Jo Minjoon admited defeat. Jo Minjoon opened the recipe window before him enlarged the ingredients section.

[Mac and cheese ingredients]
Macaroni, cheddar, cheese, butter, flour, milk, uster shire sauce, dijon mustard, parsley, white pepper.

Uster shire sauce. For koreans it was better known as uster sauce. Only then did Jo Minjoon get to know of the identity of the sauce. The uster sauce that was made by boiling onions, carrots, celery, etc. had a sour and salty flavor. And in the case of korean people it had a really exotic aroma, but it seemed that you couldn’t feel it because it was hidden under the mac and cheese’s aroma.

He didn’t know if the recipe was an ordinary one. Because it was something he didn’t normally make. Even if he were to make it, he wouldn’t use the main recipe but would guess and put some milk, cheese and would watch tutorials. The sack made by frying butter and flour was an ingredient that if put moderately on the mac and cheese it would make the cheese stretchy.

The recipe was simple. After boiling the macaroni, you mixed milk with the sack and made it long, and on top of that you put uster sauce, dijon mustard and spices. The next step was to put cheese, and after that was the turn of the macaroni. At first glance it would seem complicated, but in reality it wasn’t that hard to make.

“Did you make the uster sauce personally?”

“I couldn’t even think that I would be able to feel a deep flavor like this one on a mac and cheese. Originally I……”

It was when Jo Minjoon tried to continue what he was saying. He heard someone closing the door of the entrance. At that moment Lucas’s face became stiff as if he were nervous.

Jo Minjoon looked at the entrance. A golden haired student was coming into the house. She seemed to be a middle or high school student, but it was difficult to know beyond that.
Because it was difficult to determine a white person’s age by sight. Her round blue eyes were wide opened and were staring at Lucas.

“What….. is this?”

“I’m asking you! What is that person doing here!”
Jessie’s eyes were trembling. Jo Minjoon was drawn in another’s family fight, so he could only be seated vaguely. He felt that his stomach was going to get upset.

“Jessie. Sit down first. Have your meal…..”

“What are you doing in front of a guest? It can’t be done. Jessie. Go upstairs to your room!”

Jane yelled sternly. Jessie glared at Lucas disappointedly. Lucas could just look at Jessie with regret. Jessie bit her lips.

“I’m always the bad one.”

With that the discussion ended. Jessie went upstairs stomping. A banging sound of the door could be heard and at the same time it became quiet on the kitchen. Lucas said with a sigh.

“I’m sorry. I got you involved in vain.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to apologize.”

Jo Minjoon said that and waved his hands. Jane went upstairs saying that she will have a conversation with Jessie, and only Lucas and Jo Minjoon remained on the kitchen. Jo Minjoon let a silent sigh.

‘Mac and cheese. It’s not  an atmosphere in which I can eat more.’

But it’s delicious.

Really delicious.

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