Jessie asked once more. It wasn’t because she didn’t know what jelly was. But because it was an idea that has never crossed her mind. Jessie, of course knew that Lucas liked Jelly. But i wasn’t that her father had raised a factory just for that reason.
However she never thought of making some jelly and giving it to him as a present. She thought that it was just like making some pizza and gifting it to the pizza store owner. However, now that she thought about it, the situation was different compared to this circumstance. The jelly factory disappeared and the jelly that Lucas liked so much wasn’t near him anymore.
If she were to make some jelly to the current Lucas…. Jessie lifted her head and looked at Jo Minjoon while thinking like that. The deep blue eyes with double eyelids were staring at Jo Minjoon. For those eyes, Jo Minjoon was like a weird person. For a person she had just met, to request her to make some jelly for her father. That kind of weird person.
But she seemed to trust him. Although she didn’t know why. Maybe that weirdness made him more trustable. Jessie opened her mouth.
“……But I don’t know how to make it.”
“It’s okay. I do.”
Saying the truth he didn’t know too well as to say it that confidently. However Jo Minjoon thought that making the jelly was more important and the flavor was only secondary. Just the fact that Jessie made the jelly, was enough of a meaning.
Jo Minjoon, while thinking like that, realized something. Even if it was the same dish the food on the dish could become a completely different thing depending on who cooked it.
‘What kind of mind should I keep while cooking?’
Suddenly that question popped in his head, but it was not the right moment to be speculating. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth. This house’s kitchen was Jane’s area, but for now Jane should understand him. Granted that Jane didn’t understand him and cursed him because of that, it was a completely different matter. Whatever the result was, the most important thing was to fix the relationship of parent-child. It was that thinking.
“For now can you bring some fruit? If you don’t have any some juice is also okay.”
“I think there’s some apple. But it shouldn’t be ripe.”
“Then it’s better. When making jelly, the less ripe a fruit, the more delicious it becomes.”
Jessie nodded and brought the apples. And she also brought some sugar. She didn’t have gelatin but it didn’t matter. Jo Minjoon knew of a way to replace it.
“Didn’t you make jelly when you were young?”
“I did. But instead of making it I liked to eat it more.”
“It’s okay. If you make something you like to eat, it is meant to become more delicious.”
Jo Minjoon said that and smiled brightly. Jessie glanced at Jo Minjoon and asked.
“Mister, are you a chef?”
“No. I aspire to become one”
“Are you sure you make it well?”
“Why. Are you worried that it’s not tasty?”
Jessie didn’t reply and kept her mouth shut. Jo Minjoon handed over the knife while looking at Jessie. Looking at the puzzled Jessie, Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Divide the apple in 4 and carve the seed. After that split it in four and don’t peel it off.”
“Why the skin?”
“Because there’s pectin on the skin. That will do instead of the gelatin.”
Inside the skin, and the pulp below that were the most important pectin ingredient for making jelly.
“You can do it right?”
“….. This much is easy.”
Jessie talked as if telling him to refrain disregarding her, and lifted the knife. However her handling of the knife was quite sloppy. While holding the apple with a hand, and the other for holding the apple, when she tried to slice it, the knife got stuck after it went all the way to the middle. Even so Jessie didn’t try to press the back of the knife with her other hand. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“You should press the back of the knife with your hand. Yes. Like that.”
Even after Jessie finished with slicing the apples Jo Minjoon didn’t make a move. After all there was no meaning if Jo Minjoon made it. Jessie had to make it by herself. For her father. And because of herself.
“Now put it on the kettle and pour some water until the top of the apples get slightly out of the water. And put the fire on low.”
“Are you really going to make me do it all?”
“Do you want me to help you?”
“……….Fine. I’ll do it. I will.”
Jessie poured the water accordingly. To say the truth, this was the part where most of the beginners made mistakes. In reality even Jo Minjoon made them. After pouring a lot of water, the next thing he planned to do was to boil it down until the moisture evaporated. However, when put lots of water the fruits turned bad.
So depending on how she regulated the water decided if the jelly was a success or a failure.
Jo Minjoon just stared still at the kettle that subtly started to boil.
“Now what do I do?”
“After waiting for a while more, when you think the apples are turning soft start to squash them. But first let’s prepare all the other processes. Can you bring me a cotton cloth and a bowl?”
Jessie, as if she gave up, obeyed. After leaving the cotton cloth and the bowl by a side of the table, Jessie and Jo Minjoon stared at the kettle in silence. The first one to speak was Jo Minjoon.
“No. I become a high schooler the next year. And mister?”
“It’s not mister but MinJoon. I’m a college student. After thinking about it we didn’t even present ourselves properly”
“……Jessie Dean. Where does mister come from? Japan?”
“Where do you think I come from?”
“Hmm. China, if not Korea. Japanese people aren’t as calm minded as mister.”
Jo Minjoon nodded while grasping an image of japanese children. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“I’m korean. And I’m travelling.”
“I don’t know why people like New York so much. It’s a city that doesn’t have many things to see.”
“It’s like you don’t know the value of something you usually have by your side.”
It wasn’t something he said with only New York in mind. Jessie also understood the meaning under Jo Minjoon’s words. She spoke with a calmer voice.
“I want you to know that it’s not that I’m forgiving dad.”
“There’s no need to. But can’t you try to understand? All the dreams he pursued for crumbled in an instant. On that situation not every father can become a superman.”
Jessie nodded at what Jo Minjoon said and shut her mouth. After a while of not opening her mouth, she barely opened it and spoke.
“Even so, every daughter wish their father to be a superman.”
She was right. Jo Minjoon lifted the spoon he had by his side and covered her eyes. And while making round motions he said.
“Even super men have times they want to hide. If you saw spiderman you would understand.”
Jessie laughed and looked bitterly at the floor. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Enough of this superman talk, now slowly stir the insides of the kettle. The apple should be soft. As for the pulps, squash it with the ladle.”
Compared to the first time, her voice was softer. Jessie, after taking off the lid of the kettle, started to stir with the ladle. The bubbling sounds and the sweet aroma that could be felt, the unique fresh aroma was similar to paste.
When the pulp was almost done squashing, Jo Minjoon covered the bowl with the wet cotton cloth. And said.
“Pour the things inside the kettle on the bowl, slowly.”
Jessie tilted the kettle. From the kettle’s bird flowed the squashed pulps and the fruit juices. Those things started to gather on top of the cotton cloth. It was then. Jessie grabbed the cotton cloth and tried to squeeze it. Jo Minjoon hurriedly raised his voice.
“Ye, Yes? Why?”
“If you do that then the pulp gets through the cotton cloth and the mixture loses oxygen. Just let the pulp to flow like this.”
“….Mmm. It’s going to take a while.”
“You need patience to cook jelly.”
In the end Jessie let out a sigh and had to wait for the pulp to naturally flow out of the cotton cloth. After that, everything ran smoothly. After showering the pulp with sugar on a 4-3 ratio and mixing it, you stirred it while boiling. You had to boil roughly until the jelly slipped off the spoon.
Then you had to cool it down after putting it in a vessel. After finishing all of those processes it was roughly past 1am. Jessie stretched while having sleepy eyes. Jo Minjoon smiled and said.
“How is it? To cook for someone else.”
“I don’t know. It feels as if i just achieved something. And unexpectedly relieves the stress.”
“Congratulations. On giving your first step.”
What kind of step was it? Understanding your father? Or starting to cook?
She was curious but she couldn’t ask. If she asked something like that then she would be treated like a kid that didn’t even know about hidden meanings. And somehow Jessie didn’t want to be treated like a kid.
The morning was bright. The sunlight that leaked through the iron fences melted the snow piled on it. Lucas opened his eyes slowly. The first thing he saw was his wife’s nape. He felt a warm feeling looking at that familiar yet unfamiliar sight. However, at the same time when he remembered the angry look Jessie gave him, the smile on Lucas’s face immediately disappeared.
He couldn’t help but let out a sigh. He didn’t know how to ease the anger of his daughter. He couldn’t think of any answers. Lucas left his bedroom without strength.
He wanted to regain some strength with drinking a glass of water, but he saw something strange when he opened the fridge. Next to the water bottle was a big paper bowl. The thing that was wrapped with wrapping paper was definitely jelly. And handmade jelly on top of that.
“It’s apple jelly.”
Jessie looked at Lucas with her swollen eyes. Could it be that her daughter really made jelly because of him? Lucas was getting confused thinking about that, so Jessie said bluntly.
“First eat it. It was hard making it at dawn.”
Lucas ate some jelly after swelling his eyes a little. It was a bit lacking, but for it to be homemade was definitely good jelly. And in the first place, quality wasn’t even that important. He couldn’t even feel the flavor of the jelly properly.
“Delicious. It’s delicious.”
It was that moment when Jessie tried to give her back. Lucas hugged her. Jessie didn’t push Lucas back. Lucas was fighting back his tears and opened his mouth, but no sound could be heard from his mouth. It only had a sobbing feeling. Jessie too, rolled her teary eyes but she pretended to be calm.
Jo Minjoon while looking at that sight, turned his back. He wanted to keep that moment for the two of them. However what he encountered was Jane’s teary eyes. Jo Minjoon said with an awkward face.
“I’m sorry. I used your kitchen without permission.”
“……It’s okay. Thank you for helping my child on making the most delicious dish in this kitchen.”
Jo Minjoon turned his back with a smile on what Jane had just said. In his eyes appeared the cooking score of the jelly. However Jo Minjoon didn’t look at that score. He had no need to.
Because that jelly didn’t have the need to be judged with points. Jo Minjoon replied back unperturbed.
“It’s one of the greatest dishes I have seen in my life.”
< In 92nd Street in New York (5) > End
Translators note: Sorry for not having many chapters released this week. From now on it will be more constant with the release dates being tues, thurs, sat and sun. And the time will be -3UTC at 5:30pm. Many thanks for reading and for your support!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Maled