“Thank you, Little Shin. …Could you boys point me to where that kid ran off to?” [Grandma]
“That way.” [Kei]
As soon as Kei-san said that, the grandma ran toward the direction he pointed at.
…Is it really okay for someone of her age to be hurrying that much?
“Don’t worry, it’s just the usual.” [Kei]
When I asked Kei-san and the others about it, apparently that kid called Niki from earlier is the most mischievous child in the village. Around this time, the parents are at work, so the children are taken care of by the elderly who have retired from fishing and working at the processing plant, but that kid somehow always slips away from their care and plays tricks on others.
“Still, it sure is strange that he would pick on someone who’s not a villager.” [Kei]
“Oh, right. You said something about a promise earlier.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah. A promise not to play pranks on people from outside the village. It’s not just Niki. All the children are taught that. That if they want to play pranks on people, they need to limit it to just those from the village.” [Kai]
“Part of the reason is of course because we don’t want them to cause trouble for other people, but the bigger reason is because we don’t know what kind of people they might end up messing with.” [Shin]
“This time around you just laughed it off, but if they were to play a prank on the wrong person, they could be in trouble.” [Peiron]
“The adults are keeping an eye on the children, but they also need to be properly taught of the dangers of dealing with other people.” [Sein]
Well, I guess that’s true.
While I was thinking that, I noticed that something was wrapped around my wrist.
“Ah, by the way, what should I do with this?” [Ryouma]
All this time, I’ve been holding onto this octopus— erm… okuta.
“Hmm? Oh, I don’t think there’s any need for you to give it back. You could eat it if you want?” [Kai]
“Ah, so it really was food.” [Ryouma]
“Boil it and eat it. It tastes great, you know?” [Sein]
“Come to think of it, I am a bit hungry.” [Kei]
“Yeah, but there’s just one and at that size, it’s a bit…” [Shin]
“Oh! In that case, I have just the thing for you!” [Ryouma]
“Just the thing?” [Kai, Kei, Shin, Sein, Peiron]
We would be inconveniencing others if we kept idling by the roadside like this, so we went back to Kai-san’s house first.
When we got there, I brought them to the kitchen, where I then took out an iron plate with a round depression.
“Hey, hey. Something big came out.” [Kai]
“There’s a magic stone attached. But a magic tool, huh.” [Kei]
“Exactly! I had a craftsman I knew make it. It’s a Takoyaki Pan!” [Ryouma]
By securing a steady source of eggs through the clever chickens, it looked like I would be able to cook more dishes, so there were various cooking utensils that I wanted to acquire. As such, I spoke with Dinome’s Workshop and had them made.
This Takoyaki Pan is one of those. There’s also one for a Taiyaki that’s made with just an iron plate, one for a kawayaki, one for an okonomiyaki, and another for yakisoba. I accidentally drew the large-versions of the utensils meant for festivals and the likes while I was explaining it to the craftsmen, but out of courtesy, they made them all commercial-sized.
“Do you have enough ingredients? Feel free to use what’s available at our home.” [Kai]
“Thank you very much. I have most of the ingredients, but I’d like to have something I can use for the soup stock.” [Ryouma]
“Soup stock… It should be around here.” [Kai]
Various dried fishes were taken out of the cupboard.
“And then there’s this.” [Kei]
“? What’s this jar?” [Ryouma]
“Fish sauce. A marine processed product. All sorts of ingredients are used when making soup.” [Kei]
“Fish paste… Could it be? Can I lick it a little?” [Ryouma]
I opened the jar and dropped a couple of drops on the back of my hand.
It was a lot less thick than what I was expecting, so I quickly licked it up.
A salty taste spread through my mouth accompanied by a unique taste with a thick umami… I knew it! It’s ‘fish paste’!
This unique taste isn’t that strong, and it’s also weak to heat just like the fishy smell.
I used it a lot before as a secret ingredient.
…Is this the reason why the soup I’ve been eating here has been so nostalgic?
In any case, with this fish paste and the dried foods, I’m sure I can make something really delicious!
First, I strangle the okuta and have the cleaner slime clean off the mud and ink off of it. Meanwhile, I’ll boil water to prepare the dashi (soup stock).
I add salt to the boiled water, crumple the cleaned octopus, and then throw it into the pot. The limbs that have been coiling up since awhile ago changed from its green color into a bright red color. At this point, it really is no different from an octopus. It looks delicious. I hope I can get more.
I know. I’ll ask those guys who’ve made themselves comfortable in the living room.