It’s peak winter, and the winter breeze is terribly cold with icicles dangling from the rain gutters.
Nonetheless, every resident on our farm has their own unique way of enjoying the season.
I’m also trying to enjoy winter in my own way.
First, I buried some potatoes under the snow.
I know it may sound ludicrous to some, but doing so enhances a potato’s sweetness.
The secret lies in taking it out before it gets soaked in melted snow.
Winter cabbages also achieve a certain level of sweetness when covered in snow.
I heard you’re supposed to do it while they’re still rooted, so I just piled a lot of snow on top of it without harvesting them.
We can only wait until spring to find out if it was effective or not.
I also have an ongoing project back at Veil’s mountain dungeon, but I’m keeping the specifics a secret for now.
Let’s focus our attention on a different winter event instead.
“Hm? What are you doing, Dear?”
Everyone was curious about what I started doing.
Right now, I’m working on carpentry.
I cut a tree from the surrounding mountains and turned it into a log of appropriate length, hollowing it from its cross-section.
“All right, it’s done.”
I made a mortar, the same kind they use to make mochi.
In other words…
“We’re making mochi!!!”
A winter delicacy.
When you say winter, you think of New Year’s. And when you say New Year’s, you think of mochi.
I’m not sure if this world celebrates New Year in winter, but it’s still the ideal way to liven up winter tranquility.
“Huh? What’s going on?”
“It looks like Lord Saint has thought up of something interesting again.”
“I hope it’s something tasty.”
“I got it! We’re going to exchange blows with that hammer!”
The mermaids, monsters, and even the elves started to gather around with excitement.
Everyone must have so much time on their hands during the winter season.
“Listen up! What I’m starting today is a mochi-making contest!”
“Those who think they can do it, step forward! I’ll take on anyone’s challenge!”
We need a little excitement to beat this cold.
The glutinous rice I left to steam in the kitchen is already done.
I knew this time would come so I grew them separate from normal rice before winter.
I had asked Gobukichi and the others to bring in the bamboo steamers filled with glutinous rice and drop them into the mortar.
Since to see is to believe, I showed everyone how to make mochi.
I already have a pestle with me, so I pounded at the mochi without any difficulties.
The grains were more apparent and distinguishable at first, but they began forming into one big lump as I kept crushing it with the pestle.
“Wow! It’s starting to look like bread dough!”
That definitely is the closest example for someone who has never seen mochi.
Even though it’s starting to become more like mochi the more I pound it, without a kneader, I can only pound in one direction.
“Is anyone willing to substitute?”
I called out to the spectators around me.
“I-I will!” said Orkubo.
I handed over the pestle as I faced him whilst holding the mortar.
“What are you doing, My Lord?”
“Every time you pound the mochi, I’ll turn it over, all right?”
We’ll make a perfectly smooth mochi by eradicating this imbalance!
“But before we start, please try your best to be careful not to pound my hand with the pestle by mistake!”
We want no cliched developments here!
“…Understood, My Lord.”
Why the short pause before your reply?
“And don’t hit my head with the pestle either!”
I’m trusting you and your words!!!
I felt slightly uneasy, but I was able to knead the mochi without any accidents happening.
After it’s done, I just need to tear it into pieces and distribute it to everyone.
And since it was freshly pounded, it was hot and sticky.
“Woah, this tastes so good!!!”
“Ah! My mouth! It burns!!!”
It was a hit, just as I thought.
I seasoned it with sweet soy sauce since we haven’t made roasted soy flour.
We can also wrap it in nori and add it to miso soup.
I also gave the mochi a try.
I wonder how far can pounded mochi stretch?
“This dough-like thing is amazing! Just how far can it stretch?!”
Platy was even more astonished when she took a bite.
“Dear! I can’t believe you made another tasty dish!”
“Lord Saint really is a god! How are you so wise and knowledgeable?!”
Come on, guys.
It’s just mochi.
“But I still have something up my sleeve!”
“You mean you still have something tasty with you?!”
I poured a dark liquid into a bowl—zenzai, a warm and sweet soup with red beans as its main ingredient.
I added some mochi into the zenzai.
I have mochi, I have zenzai.
Platy and the rest of the ladies let out delighted high-frequency shrieks enough to shatter one’s eardrums.
“What IS this?! This sweet zenzai and fluffy mochi!”
“A combination of black and white!”
“It’s a golden harmony of sweetness and texture!”
Black, white, or gold? Make up your minds.
“I’m just glad everyone loves it.”
There’s still a lot of leftover mochi, so we can just preserve that till later use.
Everyone else took turns to try their hand at pounding mochi.
“Don’t you dare hit my hands or head, you hear?!”
And so, the winter day passed as if everyone had forgotten about how cold it was.
Several days later…
Veil got angry at me.
“No fair, Master! I heard that everyone else was eating something tasty without me?!”
You’re the one who left us and took refuge in your own dungeon to escape from the cold.