After a close call between life and death as a result of eating Yumiela’s stew, Patrick has managed to survive. He is still not at his best and taking bed rest.
He got sick because of me. When I was at the dining table without Patrick, feeling depressed that I had made something outrageous, Eleanora encouraged me.
“Don’t worry, he will get better.”
“Do you feel responsible because he got sick?”
“Yeah, it’s my fault for using spoiled ingredients to cook.”
This tragedy was caused by spoiled ingredients. Based on my previous life, I had always assumed that the food sold in stores was safe.
In a place where hygiene is poor and there is no such thing as an expiration date, it is common to find spoiled food on the market. It was my fault for failing to foresee it and not trying to improve the situation.
The innocent young lady, who didn’t know anything about the situation, curiously asked.
“Was it because of the ingredients?”
“Yup, it all happened because of the spoiled ingredients.”
Eleanora stared at me with wide eyes. Growing up in sheltered conditions, she seems to be astonished by the concept that food spoils.
“Are you— sure? There was no problem with Yumiela-san’s cooking?”
“Yeah, I’m sure of it. There was nothing wrong with the way I cooked it, so I assumed the problem was because of the spoiled ingredients—”
Eleanora stood frozen in shock.
She takes her time to recover and as if she understood the truth of the universe, she said.
“Ah, so that’s how it happens.”
“Mhm, spoilage is terrible.”
Improving the sanitation in Dolknes territory will have to wait. Right now, the most important thing is Patrick’s speedy recovery.
When he was at his worst, he used to refuse all the meals he got but he’s started to recover and is able to eat normal food again. Let’s get him something to eat.
“What’s the best thing to give to a sick person?”
“Fruits and sweets would be the safe bet.”
“Sweets! It might be a good idea to make handmade sweets to wish for his speedy recovery.”
“Oh, no. I did it again! Flower—a flower bouquet is the best gift ever for Patrick!”
Flower? I don’t think he’s going to be happy receiving flowers. You can’t eat a flower bouquet.
“How about you give him the flower bouquet and I’ll give him the handmade sweets?”
“Patrick is going to die! Yumiela-san, you’ve got no experience making sweets, right? I think it’s better if you don’t try.”
“It’s fine, I have made sweets that are kneaded by adding water.”
Other than that, I also have experience making cotton candy at a yakiniku restaurant. It is safe to say that I am as good as your average patissier.
One thing I don’t understand is why Eleanora keeps holding me back from making sweets to the point of tears.
“Didn’t you say that nobles shouldn’t spend time in the kitchen and just leave it to the pros?”
“I did say that, but things are different now.”
◆ ◆ ◆
There’s some resemblance between making sweets and chemistry experiments. Unlike cooking, there are no vague measurements in sweets making. Figuring how to follow a recipe and its measurements, making sure it’s cooked in the right way. The process requires a meticulous amount of precision.
“—too much. What if I remove three grains of sugar?”
“You don’t have to go that far, you know?”
“You’re too noisy. Ah! Now there’s even less. Adding one grain to make it even—”
One hour after I started baking cookies with Eleanora, who insisted on joining me, I was struggling with the scale.
Huh? It’s heavier than it was before I removed the sugar.
“The moisture and oil from your hands made it heavier. Better not include this in the total weight.”
“Have you ever heard of measurement error?”
I’ve heard about it. But I worry about it because measurement errors can lead to serious incidents.
The dough was finished after mixing eggs, butter, wheat flour, and sugar. Eleanora is also making her own cookies. She seemed to be doing a rough job compared to mine, I wonder how her cookies will turn out.
Yosh, time for the secret ingredient. While I was going through the kitchen pantry to see what I could add to my cookies, Elanora grabbed my arm.
“What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for some spices, I forgot their name.”
Spices are good for your health because they stimulate your metabolism. It will help bring out the flavor and will be good for Patrick who is sick.
But spices have a bad image for the stomach, too. What if I add something good for the stomach, like… root vegetable? Should I chop some carrots and put them in? Carrots are good for one’s body, no doubt about it.
And we can’t forget about garlic. It is the only thing that defies the law that tasty food is bad for you. Should add one, too.
Eleanora grabbed my arm and I have long since shaken it off. Don’t underestimate the difference between levels.
“Ohh, it’s over already. My helpless self—”
“This looks good.”
I added a lot of different ingredients for subtle flavors. Though it was hard for me to decide how much to put in, there was no such thing as too much since it was good for the body.
Once the dough was done, we cut it out using a cookie cutter. In a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Ehehe.
“Huh? You’re using the heart-shaped one, too?”
“Yup, we’re matching!”
“You seem to like to match things.”
“That’s what I want.”
Girls with the tendency to match each other’s everything are never my favorite. But whatever, it’s only a cookie shape. Once it’s in the stomach, it’s all the same.
After that, all we had to do was bake the cookies in the oven. The cook had already lit the fire, so it was an easy task. My cookies were on the left side and Eleanora’s were on the right. Since our cookies have the same shape, it’s important to remember whose ones belong on which side.
“The one on the left is mine.”
“Huh? Wasn’t it on the right?”
“No, mine was on the left. I made sure I put it correctly.”
“—chances are decreasing.”
There is no way I’m mistaking left and right. I’m sure the cookies on the left are mine.
Yosh, all I have to do is keep an eye on the oven and I’ll be fine. It wasn’t necessary for both of us to watch over the cookies, so I volunteered to keep an eye on them.
“I’ll watch over the cookies, you can come back when it’s done baking.”
“Ha! I’ll do it! I love watching cookies bake. Don’t you have work to do?”
“That’s unusual. Then, I’ll leave the cookies to you.”
Eleanora is odd, she loves to look inside the oven. I was worried about leaving her alone, but a cook in the corner was preparing food.
I’ll take her word for it and catch up on some unfinished work I have piled up.
◆ ◆ ◆
When I returned to the kitchen, the cookies were almost done.
Eleanora was fidgeting while waiting. She seemed too nervous, it made her look sus… or maybe she was looking forward to it that much.
Plus, she was wearing thick mittens. Looks like she was so excited that she couldn’t wait.
“I see you already got your mittens on.”
“Uh, what? Oh! No, no, no. I’ve just put them on!”
Said the flustered Eleanora as she put on her extra-large mittens. Hahaha, you’ve had them on for a while.
“Will you take it out now?”
“Okay, yours was on the left.”
That’s why you shouldn’t mistake left and right. My cookies were definitely on the left.
Opening the oven, I grabbed the metal tray with my bare hands and took it out. A scream was heard from next to me.
“Eek! Don’t do that, you’ll get burned.”
“I’m fine. You shouldn’t touch the tray with your bare hands. It’s hot.”
The tray was placed on the table to make it easier for me to check the finished cookies.
The cookies were mostly a beautiful beige color. Due to the uneven temperature in the oven, the edges had turned a little darker. However, they aren’t burnt like charcoal, which means they were edible.
Some of the cookies were broken. I’ll eat those and the slightly burnt ones.
The cookies were hot and fresh, and I popped one into my mouth. The taste was just right, sweet and crispy. Although I prefer it when cooled, this is just as delicious.
Eleanora placed her tray on the table next to me as I pat myself on the back.
“What is that?”
“—I messed up.”
The cookies made by Eleanora were jet black mystery objects. The cookies were baked at the same time, how could it happen?
And it smelled spicy. The cookies also smelled of something else, and they stank.
If it wasn’t for the same heart shape, I wouldn’t have known it was a cookie.
“I’ll try this one.”
“Noo! This isn’t edible!”
Not listening to Eleanora’s warning, I ate the cookies she made. It was spicy! The unpleasant smell in my mouth was disgusting. What the hell is this?
“We all make mistakes, you know.”
“Doesn’t it make your stomach sick? Do you want to end up like Patrick?”
Even though the person who made these foul cookies was concerned about my health, she showed no remorse whatsoever. This is terrorism-level stuff.
Wait. I believe I had eaten the cookies she made when we were in the academy. Sure, it didn’t taste amazing but it was normal.
I don’t know why… Well, that’s okay. Pursuing the cause now will only hurt Eleanora.
“My stomach is fine.”
“Poisonous insects don’t die from their own poison, do they?”
Eh? What does that mean?
Anyway, back to the cookies. Time to send the cookies to Patrick.
A beautiful and stylish wrapping would be a waste, I just put it on a plate and hand-delivered them to Patrick.
Walking alongside Eleanora, we came to Patrick’s room. We knocked before entering the room.
“Patrick, are you okay?”
“Ah… I feel better. I can have a normal meal now.”
“That’s good to hear! I’ve baked cookies for you!”
When I presented him with the plate of cookies, he jumped up and started to run away. He is too quick for a sick person. Of course, I grabbed his arm to stop him. Hey! You shouldn’t move too much!
After I grabbed him by the arm, Patrick obediently went back to bed. Somehow he looked dead inside. Do his eyes get worse when his stomach hurts?
“Come on! You need to try this!”
He froze in front of the plate of homemade cookies. I bet he was impressed.
Just as I was about to start shoving it in his mouth, Eleanora, who had been watching us, opened her mouth.
“Don’t worry, I’ve switched them up.”
“We made the same cookies, mine was a disaster… they were poisonous. But Yumiela-san’s cookies are well made, can you please try it?”
I have no idea what she’s trying to say. She didn’t need to go out of her way to reveal how bad she was at baking.
Patrick began to eat the cookie with tears in his eyes.
“Thank you, thank you so much.”
He ate the cookies, thanking me over and over again. Yet somehow, I didn’t feel like I was being thanked.
My goal of getting Patrick to eat my homemade sweets had been accomplished.
The next day, Patrick made a full recovery.
“Anyway, Yumiela is banned from the kitchen.”