After all that had happened, winter came.
Platy is practicing the Lamaze technique of giving thanks 1,000 times every day in between work in hopes of mastering the conception trick taught to her by the sea mother goddess Amphitrite.
I wondered how that technique even got here, but I remembered that deities could transcend dimensions. Even I was able to travel across dimensions, so I’m sure gathering something intangible, like information, is an easier feat to accomplish.
But the problem is whether or not Platy can bear my child with the Sea Mother Goddess’ Blessing.’
Let’s just hope her maternal power will be enough.
On the other hand, I continued to work on the farm as usual.
It’s already winter, but we’re well-prepared, unlike last year.
Heaters installed in each room burn hot from the coal mined by the orcs.
Feather quilts made from bird monsters in the mountain dungeon keep us warm.
More than enough food to last us through the winter!
But then, someone came to me for advice.
“Master, I have something to ask,” says Horkosfon.
She’s one of the strongest residents on our farm, and her job is to make natto.
Which means there’s only one thing that she came to ask me for.
“It’s about natto.”
I knew it.
Ninety percent of her world is made up of natto now.
Her skill at making it is also improving; she has made a variety of small-grain, large-grain, and ground natto.
I’m not quite sure if the other residents are happy about it, however.
“So, what do you want to know about natto?”
Then again, I only have surface knowledge, having gathered information from books or the web.
I’ve already passed on most of my natto knowledge to her.
So, if anything, she, who has taught herself and done research from scratch, is more knowledgeable than me at this point.
“My tactical program, which can predict up to 148,000 battle patterns, has concluded that something is missing in my natto.”
“If I can identify that, I’m affirmative my natto will become closer to perfection, and everyone will enjoy it more. But as of now, it is still incomplete.”
You’re just exaggerating things.
I think you make pretty mean natto already.
Some people, including Gobukichi, have incorporated it into their breakfast as their staple food.
And besides, Veil keeps her promise to eat them whenever she loses to you in a mock battle.
She practically eats it every time, right?
I’m concerned at how expressionless she’s gotten lately, though.
“If I can further perfect the natto, I believe Veil’s expression will return. This is of prime concern to us.”
Well then, let’s get down to business. What do you think is lacking in natto at this stage, Horkosfon?
“Looking at the food we eat, it isn’t orally ingested as is, but various liquid or powdered substances are added to adjust its taste. I think our natto must also be made in such a way.”
“Well, I suppose you have a point…”
It was also impossible to eat natto as it was back in my world.
We always ate it with some seasoning mixed in.
“If that’s the case, I think I can come up with some ideas.”
“Really? Thank you, Master!”
Horkosfon only ever shows varying emotions when natto is involved.
But it’s hard to believe that she hadn’t added any seasoning all this time.
No wonder Veil’s face has become expressionless.
“But natto goes surprisingly well with all kinds of seasonings. There’s no set seasoning for it.”
You can pour soy sauce on it straight away.
Green onions and eggs are also famous.
I heard you can also add sugar if you want a little twist.
Or oil! We can try sesame oil or olive oil, both of which are being produced by the orcs.
I presented all these ideas to Horkosfon, but…
She rejected them all.
“I’ve already tried those.”
Wow, you’re so diligent.
“As you mentioned, Master, the ingredients were excellent in bringing out the flavors’ harmony, but I felt that they still weren’t enough. Veil, my taste-tester, also remained expressionless throughout…”
How many times are you going to torture Veil until you’re satisfied?
Are you sure she’s okay? Will you be able to make Veil smile or cry again?
“Unfortunately, I’ve come to rely on your wisdom and nothing else. Master, please impart your wisdom to me!”
She sure uses ostentatious language when natto is involved.
But I can’t betray her expectations.
“Hm, let’s see…”
I cross my arms and ponder.
If we can’t find an answer that fits our needs, we should go back to the most basic of the basics—natto sauce. That thing that comes with every packed natto.
It’s so common that the producers include it as a matter of course, so it’s safe to say that no other seasoning goes better than that.
So, what now?
Do we make it?
After otherworldly natto, we’re making otherworldly natto sauce.
Sounds like it’s worth a try.
But how should we make it?
Based on its color, it probably uses soy sauce…
But based on what I’ve tasted in my world, there was a deeper flavor mixed in that clearly wasn’t just soy sauce, like the taste of the sea.
I assume it’s a mixture of dashi and mentsuyu.
Speaking of dashi, do we use kelp or dried bonito flakes?
Surely, we don’t need to include the stock in our list of options. That’s already a given.
Supposing we want to add soy sauce to dashi made by boiling either of those two.
In that case, kelp should be the first choice since we can easily get it from the sea.
But with dried bonito flakes, we have to spend a lot of time and effort fermenting and drying bonito fish to get our finished product.
Avoiding the hard stuff and tackling the easier one first is a fine way to solve problems. As we solve the easy ones, the difficult ones often become easier.
But this time, let’s dare to choose the difficult one.
“I’ve decided, Horkosfon!”
“What do you mean, Master?”
It’s not just the natto sauce.
If we can produce dried bonito flakes, we will be able to expand our culinary repertoire.
My goal for this winter is…
“To make dried bonito flakes!”
chapter title “豆(bean)魚の交わり” is a pun for the noun(expression?) “水魚の交わり” which means a close, inseparable relation just like water水 and fishes魚.