When breakfast was about to end, Martin opened his mouth.
“Martin, I think that it’s about time to ask, but can I ask?”
“Are you talking about the recipe?”
“Yes. I don’t even hope for the recipe. Can you guess all of the ingredients right?”
Jo Minjoon closed his eyes for a moment. He slowly saw the ingredients over the system window. Even the small differences that Kaya, that was closer to having the real absolute taste, couldn’t read was written there. If they asked him on what state and from what bean they used, he could do so.
‘Until where would be good to control it?’
It was important to show his abilities on a line where people could get convinced. Jo Minjoon slowly opened his mouth.
“If I had to tell you one thing it would be that it’s all Brazilian.”
“……What did you say?”
“They are all ingredients grown in Brazil.”
Jo Minjoon talked up to there and pointed the menu while smirking. ‘We only use domestic ingredients.’ Looking at the phrase written in Portuguese and below in English, Martin let out a sigh. He wondered if this youth was now able to even guess the nationalities of the ingredients.
‘At that point, it’s not a tongue of a person.’
He calmed down his heart that got surprised for nothing and he opened his mouth once again.
“Don’t tease us. And the ingredients? Do you know? This is certainly difficult, right? As it’s been boiled for some days, the texture should be overripe and the flavor scattered…..”
Jo Minjoon ate one more bite of the feijoada instead of replying. And then he calculated how many ingredients he could guess right with his tongue. It wasn’t that bad. If he got 4, 5 ingredients right from 10…….He was now confident on being able to get at least 7 right.
Perhaps if he returned to the day when he faced the eliminating mission, he would be able to perfectly survive without the strength of the system. It was that much. But still, compared to Kaya the basic sensitivity of his tongue would fall back, but it was certainly more trained. It was more sensitive. Jo Minjoon smiled with a confident face.
“I wonder. The flavor didn’t scatter that much. I can feel black beans, and other than black beans, kidney beans……Ah, I can also feel a bit of lentils. This place is a bit peculiar? The place we went yesterday only had black beans and kidney beans, but here they also put in lentils. For the pork meat they used the back part of the rib…..Ah, in addition, it wasn’t that they sliced the meat and put it in. They boiled the back rib, and when the meat got soft to the point it would melt they ripped it off. I can certainly feel the flavor of bone stock.”
“……You can feel that?”
“It’s felt. If the stock was something as meaningless as its flavor can’t even be felt, why would people suffer to make that stock?”
He wasn’t simply lying by relying on the system. As he ate it while he knew what ingredients it had, the flavor was certainly felt. But of course, if he didn’t have the strength of the system he wouldn’t be able to feel it to this extent…..
There’s a saying that says ‘Know by eating.’ Actually, when chefs from high classed restaurants explain to the customers how they used the ingredients and cooked, it isn’t simply to make them feel that they are being served.
“Aside from that there’s garlic, bayleaf, bacon with black pepper, onions with olive oil, and there’s one more thing…….”
Jo Minjoon talked slowly and then he smirked and shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s a flavor I don’t know of. It’s the first time I try it.”
“……Ah, yes. Right. Even if your sense is sensitive you wouldn’t be able to guess the name of an ingredient you don’t know. What’s the flavor?”
“I wonder. It feels like a bitter flavor and sweet flavor mixed…..It seems like a fruit, and also like medicine, it’s vague. It also seems that there’s not that big of an amount.”
Actually he could clearly see the name on the system window. But if he said that word, it would be felt too weirdly. Because it was too unfamiliar. At that moment, Rachel opened her mouth.
“The flavor you say you don’t know. It’s Annona Cacans. It’s a fruit that only grows on Brazil and Paraguay. It’s a fruit animals called pacarana meat, but if people eat too much of it, you can get a heavy diarrhea so it’s a fruit you only eat a small amount of it. Actually, depending on how ripe it is, the bitterness is too strong and you aren’t able to eat it.”
“So you say that thing was inside of the feijoada?”
“I told you, Martin, that I was acquaintanced with the store owner.”
Martin nodded with an amazed expression. Martin seemed like he wanted to ask something more, but perhaps it was because he couldn’t let his voice go to the broadcast anymore, that he shut his mouth. But could his begging feeling have been felt? The next moment Anderson was asking what he wanted to ask.
“But why do they put something as dangerous as that that may get you heavy diarrhea in it? And the flavor isn’t that amazing.”
“If you are a chef, you should know. One drop of vinegar. That from something that isn’t particularly amazing, it can completely turn over the balance of the dish. Douglas, so I mean the person that developed that menu, believed that he would be able to make the feijoada more delicious with that annona cacans.”
“I wonder if there was that kind of difference.”
Jo Minjoon hesitated for a moment and opened his mouth. It seemed like he was cutting down on Rachel’s friend so he decorated his words, but even so it could be felt that it wasn’t a compliment.
“The passion for utilizing unfamiliar ingredients is of course amazing. But I have my doubts on whether the results came out according to that passion. Honestly speaking, that vague bitter flavor that roamed on my mouth rather made it not crumble easily, but it also made me not want to put it on my mouth that much.”
It was the same to putting medicinal herbs when boiling pig trotters or bossam(보쌈). It was different to using medicinal herbs or special spices on China to make the stock. The unique bitterness of the fruit, and the flavor that is even astringent, rather than stimulating weakly it made your tongue and mouth tired for nothing. Jo Minjoon’s face soon froze. He wouldn’t know about other things, but he would never yield when it came to cooking.
“Beating around the bush just makes my mouth tired. I will just say it simply. It’s not delicious. Honestly, it’s to the point it falls back to the other dishes. And the reason to that is also clear. Just why did he put that thing?”
“I understand you.”
Rachel replied shortly. Looking at her nodding as if his comment was something obvious, he could only get perplexed.
“If you quibbled over flavor, you would have many points to talk about. And actually, if you want to make an excuse for that, you can do so. Minjoon. Do you know the history of feijoada?”
“No. I haven’t particularly heard of it.”
“You know that Brazil was originally a place that had black people as slaves, right? Feijoada received its name when slaves that were hungry and had nothing to eat grabbed things like pork ear, tail, and pig trotter which their owners threw away and boiled it along a bean called feijoa. Saying it easily, it’s a dish made through exhaustion.”
It was something he didn’t know about. Somehow, you could see it as the Korean piggy stew (꿀꿀이죽).
“And that was the same in Brazil 50 years ago. The Brazil from back then and the Brazil that had slaves, arguing about which one was more poor was a funny thing to do…… But one thing is certain. Douglas, no, people from Douglas’s era and the ones from his time starved to the point they had to make feijoada with putting annona cacans in it. Even while knowing that diarrhea would follow that.”
The atmosphere turned heavy. Emily said with a wet voice as if she was a bit moved.
“It’s a dish that has more history than what I thought.”
“Right. But of course, even if that’s the case, the disadvantages Jo Minjoon said can’t be free at all. Whatever the case, a non delicious dish is the worst just with that. But the reason I brought this up was not because you are only epicureans. Anderson, Minjoon. You are chefs. A chef that focuses on making something delicious, and the feeling of seeking customers that seek for their dishes. I believe that you will be able to feel something aside of flavor.”
Jo Minjoon and Anderson looked at their surroundings without any word. Now that they saw, the customers that ordered feijoada were quite old ones. He thought of the grandfathers and grandmothers working on the market eating kimchi jjigae with some kimchi, a little bit of pork, and using clear water and not even stock. He felt a corner of his heart getting sad.
“It’s not a fine dish. And the recipe is really hopeless. But even so, it has it’s own worth. The proof? It’s simple. There are people looking for it, it means that the dish has some worth.”
The cameraman slowly looked at the other tables. It was then. A thick, rough and split voice showed itself like a turtle showing its head outside slowly.
“I don’t know if it’s a praise or badmouthing. Kamila. You tell me. Should I get angry or should I express thanks?”
“The certain thing is that you can’t get angry. It’s not good for your health. What will you do if you collapse because of the high pressure?”
“Righ. I understand. I have to hold it in. Just why did that old hag with that dirty temperament that even badmouthed my dishes that it was like cow shit come to eat my dishes again?”
“It’s been a while. Douglas. How long has it been?”
“As we didn’t see after Daniel died, it must be 10 years.”
“It already became like that. You also aged a lot.”
“Just looking at our faces, I wonder if we may be the same age. You didn’t receive skin treatment with that big money you accumulated? Your face is filled with wrinkles. Tch tch.”
At first, it may seem that he was making fun of her, but regret was buried on his eyes and voice. Perhaps, inside that rough voice and deep eyes, there would be cases and years which they didn’t know about. But they couldn’t ask them now, and there was no need to.
It was then. Jo Minjoon’s smartphone rang. He thought he had put it on silence, but did he put it on vibrate? The moment he was about to press the end call button unconsciously, his fingers stopped. Anderson, that looked at that Jo Minjoon, looked at the name that popped up on the screen and frowned. Then talked to Martin.
“Can we get some time to rest?”
“Yes? Why so suddenly?”
“Teacher Rachel seems like she needs some time to catch up with her old friend…..”
Anderson glanced at Jo Minjoon.
“He also seems urgent to go to the toilet.”
Because of Anderson’s consideration that was filled with good and bad will, Jo Minjoon could in the end place the smartphone on his ear while standing on the toilet. He heard some static for a moment and then, a faint voice was heard.
[ Minjoon? ]
He thought that the voice was faint because of the static, but as he listened well that wasn’t it. It was simply because that person was exhausted and couldn’t put in strength in that voice.
“Yeah. It’s me.”
[ I’m sorry. I just checked your message. I didn’t even have the time to charge my cellphone. Even so, among the many accumulated messages, I called you first. So you can’t be sad, understood? ]
“What reason do I have to feel bad? If you are busy, I can’t do a thing about it.”
[………..Right. You wouldn’t. I know. I just said it. ]
The conversation stopped for a moment. Jo Minjoon just held his smartphone on his ear. Kaya’s faint breath seemed like it rang right next to him.
“Are you tired?”
[ Does it show that much? ]
“Just from your way of talking, you don’t have any energy. Did something happen?”
[ Yes. ]
As she replied with a really calm voice, Jo Minjoon rather got surprised. Kaya’s smirking sound could be heard and soon, she said with her usual voice.
[ But don’t worry. Even if something happened, I always solved it. But of course, you did help me a lot, but now I can do it myself. No, I have to do it myself. That’s why I called you. That if later on something comes on the news…….There’s nothing to worry about. I wanted to tell you this. ]
“……..News? What is that genuine? Did that big of a scandal occur?”
[ No, it’s not something big……Anyways, I don’t want to tell you. If I explain it to you, it makes me want to rely on you. Just tell me how it is over there. I’m curious as to how you are playing. ]
“I’m sorry. I want to do so, but as I came out a little bit in the middle of broadcasting, I can’t do so. If it was night, I may be able to……Where are you right now?”
[ Australia. Brisbon. ]
“The time zone……..Damn, as I searched, it’s 12 hours. You are exactly on the other side of the earth.”
He forcefully laughed. Until just now, she was right next to him cooking and eating together. Kaya said.
[ I will be waiting. If it becomes night, call me. If I can take it, I will certainly do so. I want to talk with someone. I can’t show myself properly in front of these people……..It’s somewhat suffocating. ]
“Right. I will. Even so, don’t wait too much.”
[ If it’s night for you, it’s morning or the afternoon for me anyways. Don’t worry. ]
“Right. I won’t.”
[ ……There’s no need to also say that. ]
At the depressed voice, he laughed for nothing. The story he heard from Rachel about the feijoada and her friend Douglas, the shoulders that become quite heavy turned one step lighter.
“I will call you.”
The call ended. Jo Minjoon, that was looking at the screen with a smile, soon tilted his head at the doubt.
Just what would be the thing Kaya talked about?
< The laws of tasting (3) > End
Translator’s note: Thanks for reading!
PR note: This episode gave me horror film flashbacks.
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Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa