“Here’s the money.”
“Thank you as usual, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
“I’m sorry for taking your precious merchandise.” (Wendelin)
“Since the stock is low right now, it has become expensive. The fishing season is already running for three months, so it’s not that expensive, but…”
“No, you did well to get your hands on it.” (Wendelin)
With Duke Nürnberg’s defeat, the long civil war finally came to an end.
The Duke Nürnberg household has lost its peerage and right now the stationed imperial army is ruling the Nürnberg Dukedom.
Leading that army, Peter seems to still be busy with rebellious residents and retainers, but we had absolutely nothing to do.
Currently we are stationed in a sparsely populated region alongside the Mizuho army.
Occasionally we help with the maintenance of roads, which had been destroyed due to the war, but the imperial army or rather Peter play the main act.
Until they finish dealing with the former Nürnberg Dukedom and return to the imperial capital, we are going to spend our time leisurely for the first time in a long while.
Accordingly I bought a certain item from a peddling Mizuho merchant.
Since I was regarded as good customer, who likes the Mizuho cooking and culture, by the Mizuho people, there are several merchants I have become familiar with.
“Customer-sama, you have a discerning eye. This is a hair ornament manufactured from the valuable 『Northern Coral』. The Northern Coral lives in the colder areas of the ocean. As result of it being special, its growth is slow and thus it has become a very valuable item.”
“This will suit your black hair well, won’t it Haruka-san?” (Erwin)
“Erw-san. I can’t accept something so expensive.” (Haruka)
“I intend it to serve as substitute for an engagement ring. Since it’ll be a commemorative present, you don’t have to hold back, Haruka-san.” (Erwin)
“Thank you.” (Haruka)
Merchants are shrewd beings. He skillfully palmed off a hair ornament made out of an expensive coral to the betrothed Erw.
“Uuh…Haruka isn’t a child that will be deceived by such an expensive accessory…” (Takeomi)
“You are really bad at giving up…he said that it’s a replacement for an engagement ring, didn’t he?” (Burkhart)
Watching Haruka happily receive the ornament from Erw, Takeomi-san grinds his teeth out of vexation. Burkhart-san looked at him with an expression telling that he’s a lost case.
“Wend, what’s that?” (Erwin)
After the Mizuho merchant is gone, Erw comes to ask me what I bought.
Moreover, Takeomi-san still looked at Erw enviously.
“It’s slightly out of season right now, but as a matter of fact I bought this.” (Wendelin)
“Oohh! Isn’t that an eel!?” (Erwin)
“How nice. Isn’t that a real treat!?”
Eel exists in this world as well.
Since their movements become dull during the cold season, they can’t be caught much, but as it was sold on bamboo skewers prepared by the Mizuho merchant, I got some.
Its freshness will stay topnotch because they keep it in magic bags, but as supply falls behind demand, the price has risen.
I paid quite a hefty sum, but it looked as if the eel was in its best condition with the fat still clinging to it.
“I have prepared charcoal and a stand to barbecue it. The preparations of the steamer are okay as well. And!”
I take out an arm-sized earthenware pot from my magic bag.
There’s something very important with a worth unattainable for something like jewels inside this pot.
“As usual you are holding it with utmost devotion, aren’t you Wend?”
“It’s because only this 『Kabayaki Sauce』 is unobtainable, no matter how much money you pay. It’s more valuable than any treasure.” (Wendelin)
“I feel like you are exaggerating a tiny bit, but…it’s a fact that I’m looking forward to it. I will help you as well, so let’s get grilling as soon as possible.” (Erwin)
Why do I have kabayaki sauce with me?
That originates from an incident that took place a little while after I became an Earl.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Wend-sama, this is it.” (Wilma)
“River Fish Restaurant 『River』, huh…?” (Wendelin)
Probably almost two months after I’ve become an Earl, I came to the royal capital with everyone.
Wanting to grab lunch somewhere as we had finished our business without issues, I wanted to eat something unusual for a change. Just then I heard from Wilma about a restaurant she frequented often being nearby and thus I had her lead us there right away.
That restaurant, which we reached in almost no time, seemed to possess history and tradition going by its quite old structure.
“River Fish…Restaurant, it is?” (Wendelin)
“I often sold river fish here before meeting you, Wend-sama.” (Wilma)
“Wilma caught fish as part-time job in her childhood,” Elise adds.
“That’s because I was allowed to dine for free for selling the ingredients.” (Wilma)
“Wilma-san, you had it difficult, didn’t you?” (Katharina)
“Filling up my stomach was hard.” (Wilma)
Once I consider the amount Wilma eats, she surely had to catch a considerable amount of fish.
She likely wasn’t able to still her hunger unless being an expert at fishing.
Was Wilma skilled or were the restaurant employees kind…? No, it might have been both.
“You are good at fishing, Wilma?”
“I think I’m quite skilled at it. But it was rather difficult for me to become full.” (Wilma)
“Wouldn’t the fish vanish around here, if you had always caught enough to fill your stomach completely, Wilma?” (Erwin)
“It’s a fisher’s duty to abide to the periods when certain fish species are prohibited to be caught and to release small fish. It’s impossible to catch enough within such circumstances.” (Wilma)
Wilma replied to Erw’s banter with a slightly sullen expression.
But for there to be voluntary release rules and fishing prohibition periods in this world…I was truly surprised.
“Eh? Such restrictions exist? There are no such rules in the territory of my family.” (Erwin)
“It’s likely because of the difference in population between your home and the capital, Erw. Though, there were no such rules in the Knight Baumeister household either.” (Wendelin)
The only ones catching fish in the rivers located in Erw’s family’s territory are the fief’s population.
There’s no way for the fish resources to decrease that easily as long as they don’t overfish.
But, given that the consumption of fish is different around the capital, they will probably become immediately unable to catch any fish if they don’t place any restrictions on the haul.
However, even within the Kingdom such restrictions seem to only exist in a small area around the capital and in case it had been independently established by a noble.
Come to think of it, such limitations didn’t exist in Breithilde Margraviate either.
I think at most it’s manner to not catch small fish.
As for Baumeister Earldom, there’s a heap of fish. Because of the too many animals inhabiting the area, it’s dangerous for people to live there, so it’s a situation where I ask everyone to relentlessly hunt them down.
“Fishermen have to pay an annual fee and a registration fee in advance. Those who poach without paying are…” (Wilma)
“What happens with them, Wilma?” (Erwin)
“There will be a slightly good haul of river shrimps and eels in the next year.” (Wilma)
“Eh…? Do you possibly mean…?” (Erwin)
“Poachers receive divine punishment.” (Wilma)
“That’s not a laughing matter…” (Erwin)
Is it her revenge for just now?
Wilma implicitly described the tragic last days of poachers in order to scare Erw while deliberately staying expressionless.
“But, it will be alright if you travel away from the capital. In that case you fish over several days.” (Wilma)
However, if you go far away, the freshness of the fish becomes a problem.
Since the price will drop if you don’t sell them alive, Wilma apparently limited the types of river fish she caught.
“Won’t it be fine as long as you use a magic bag?” (Erwin)
“You can’t put living creatures into a magic bag, and since it’s very expensive, it’s unlikely that a fisherman can afford it. Erw, your perception has become deranged since you are always together with Wend-sama.” (Wilma)
“True. You can’t buy something like an all-purpose magic bag unless you are quite rich.”
He misunderstood because I can easily use the magic bag for magicians, but that’s a bag that can’t be used by anyone except for magicians. It changes the possible storage capacity in proportion to the user’s mana.
All-purpose magic bags with a fixed storage capacity experience a fearsomely steep increase in prices depending on the amount they can carry.
It’s not something a normal commoner can afford.
“I guess fishermen have it difficult, too. So, what kind of fish did you catch?”
“Konul are durable, but they don’t sell for much. Namasa spoil unexpectedly fast, so they are only caught nearby. Pon turtles and eels are the best.” (Wilma)
Konul refers to koi carp.
I ate sashimi chilled in iced water and koikoku3 in my previous life, but I didn’t consider it to be overly delicious.
Namasa is catfish. I never experienced eating this one.
Though I heard that it’s tasty if you make tempura out of its white meat.
“Pon turtle; what kind of turtle is that?” (Wendelin)
“It won’t let go once it bites you.” (Wilma)
Once I hear of its characteristics from Wilma, I judge that it seems to be a soft-shelled turtle.
Soft-shelled turtle was delicious, but I didn’t understand why it was said to boost vitality.
Even now I remember the tastiness of the first-class kabayaki I was treated to by my boss in Japan.
Eel-liver soup and grilled-liver-on-skewer were delicious as well.
“(I feel the urge to eat eel kabayaki…) I’m looking forward to what kind of dishes will be served.” (Wendelin)
As it’s meaningless to only talk in front of the restaurant, we enter at once.
Once we do, they are seemingly not yet open for business. There wasn’t a single customer inside the restaurant.
“Welcome…ah, Wilma-san, is that you!? It’s been a while!”
“I came to eat after a long time.” (Wilma)
“You are very welcome. Now, come on, here are your seats.”
The owner, who looks to be around forty, appeared from within the restaurant. At first he wasn’t very lively, but once he saw Wilma, he rushed over happily.
“Did you come to sell fish today?”
“Only for eating. I also brought customers along.” (Wilma)
“Umm, the ladies and gentlemen here are?”
“Earl Baumeister-sama.” (Wilma)
“Ooh! I heard of you in rumors! It’s an honor for a so famous person like you, Earl Baumeister-sama, to kindly visit my restaurant.”
The owner realized that we are celebrities and seemed somewhat overjoyed.
Is he possibly going to ask me for my autograph?
This isn’t a Japanese restaurant, so I guess it won’t happen.
“According to the gossip, it appears you have come to be Earl Baumeister-sama’s wife, Wilma-san. Ah, in that case you won’t come to sell fish any longer, right? Oops, this was a slip of tongue. I will immediately serve the food.”
The owner led us to our seats, served some tea, entered the kitchen and immediately started to cook.
It looks like there are no other employees.
“Which reminds me, for me river fish…” (Wendelin)
I remembered that I didn’t like them much.
I recall the mud-smelling stew I was offered in the Knight Baumeister territory in my childhood.
Even so, if there’s at least eel and soft-shelled turtle, I might be able to handle it somehow.
Come to think of it, I wonder whether eel kabayaki exists?
My interest in the dishes here amounts to only that much.
“Wend-sama, are you bad with river fish?” (Wilma)
“I won’t know until I try eating them. After all it completely changes depending on the way of handling the fish and the cooking methods.” (Wendelin)
“I have heard that this restaurant is a longstanding establishment continuing for more than 200 years.” (Wilma)
Since they are in the suburbs of the capital and as they serve traditional river fish cuisine, it seems that there are very many customers coming here regularly.
I think them having been kind to Wilma was based on the leeway of being a well-established restaurant.
“You say it’s well-established, but there’s relatively few, or rather no customers here at all.”
Just as Erw says, even after a closer look, there’s not a single customer present, despite it being lunch time right now.
Since it’s not like they have a day off, I felt slightly uneasy about that.
“It might be a little-known insider tip. Erw, do you like river fish?”
“In winter I caught, grilled and ate carp and minnow at a river close to my family’s home. The taste was ordinary?” (Erwin)
Even in Japan cold daces and beeches have become a specialty in certain areas.
Since it’s autumn right now, delicious carp might be served today.
“What about you, Ina and Luise?” (Wendelin)
“At the dojo we cooked Konul in a big pot after cutting it into round slices and treated the pupils to it. I didn’t like it since it smelled like mud.” (Ina)
“What kind of seasoning did you use in the cooking?” (Wendelin)
“Only salt. It was often served after the training since it has good nutritional values. Mum and the wives of the instructors prepared it and cooked it together.” (Ina)
They stewed koi carp without even using miso?
I don’t think that’s something I would want to eat.
“Now that you mention it, there was Konul at your place, wasn’t there Ina-chan. We cooked prepared pon turtle, but I was bad with the earthy smell, too.” (Luise)
Luise’s home apparently provided stew with boiled soft-shelled turtle to their disciples.
However, it’s obvious that they haven’t properly washed off the mud.
Given that there’s no way for them to have cooked it with ginger and soy sauce, this was also something I don’t really want to taste.
“Removing the intestines of small fish and frying them in oil is delicious.” (Ina)
“Small fish tend to not have any peculiarities in flavor after all.” (Luise)
Neither Ina nor Luise seem to like river fish much.
Even so, they recall having eaten the fried small fishes that were served in Breitburg’s restaurants without reservations.
“How about you, Elise?”
“I’m slightly bad with them, too. Since the capital is far away from the ocean, there are dishes using river fish even on the dinner menus of noble households. There’s also a traditional river fish cuisine in the Hohenheim household, but…” (Elise)
It seems they have a tart dish that uses carp, but since it’s not overly tasty, even on parties there are only few people, who grab it, and it ends up being leftover.
“We reluctantly serve it since it’s a tradition.” (Elise)
I guess it’s impossible to improve its taste because they can’t change the recipe of a traditional dish either.
“Huh? I don’t remember having eaten it?” (Wendelin)
“Father and the old man have been considerate as you are picky with your food, Wendelin-sama.” (Elise)
So far I had been invited to several dinner parties of the Hohenheim family, but in order to not offend me, they didn’t serve dishes known to not be tasty from the start, Elise explained.
“After all we haven’t told you about our traditions, Wendelin-sama.” (Elise)
“Certainly, that’s true.” (Wendelin)
There’s no problem if it’s delicious, or more precisely, food has to be delicious, right?
“What about you, Katharina?” (Wendelin)
“Me? Let’s see. During my adventurer time I often caught and grilled fish at mountain streams. I removed the intestines of mountain and rock fish4 right after catching them, applied salt to them and grilled them thoroughly over open fire. They were delicious.” (Katharina)
“I guess you have been unexpectedly living in luxury.”
Rock fish and mountain fish refers to chars and masu salmon. They are high-class ingredients in the capital, but for Katharina, who can easily reach mountain streams with 『Flight』, it shouldn’t be that much of trouble to obtain them.
“Seeing as I earned money by collecting rock and mountain fish during my prep school time, cooking is also one of my strong points.” (Katharina)
If you put freshly-caught fish into a magic bag after pickling them, they can be sold for a lot money at fancy restaurants since they are still fresh.
I happened to eat them in the past as well, but dishes, which use fresh rock and mountain fish, are so high-class that a single plate easily costs close to 100 cent.
“After all normal fishermen and adventurers can only bring those back after grilling and drying them.”
If you walk normally, it takes five days from the capital to go to the closest river stream with rock and mountain fish.
Therefore it seems common to bring them back after preserving them on site.
With that they become long-lasting. Even so, as one fish is sold for more than 30 cents, they seem to turn into good profit.
Soups and stews, which used those as stock, are considered high-class cuisine in the capital.
However, even if there are no monsters deep in the mountains, bears and wolves will appear.
Therefore there are only few ordinary people trying to use this for making a living out of it, resulting in the price of mountain stream fish with good taste being high.
The ones capable of eating those without reservations are likely the local residents living close to mountain streams.
“30 cents for one fish is amazing.”
“Since I brought them back in a fresh state, I was paid 50 cents per fish by fish dealers and restaurants.” (Katharina)
I think that catching fish at river streams is difficult, but Katharina can manage with her skills. Meaning, catching fish becomes easy if you can freely use magic.
It was probably the most suitable business for earning money by herself in her prep school period.
“So you were alone even during your part-time job back then, weren’t you Katharina?”
The scene of Katharina grilling and eating fish instead of normal meals crosses my mind.
It might be a fun leisure activity if you do it with several people, but for Katharina that might not have been the best option.
The image of Katharina catching fish and eating it that floated up in my mind was that of a very handsome man.
“Wendelin-san, is it some kind of problem for you that I caught fish by myself?” (Katharina)
“No. Probably it would have been a burden for you to take others along. Let’s go catch some next time. I want to eat fish grilled with salt.” (Wendelin)
“Somehow I feel tricked…. But well, whatever.” (Katharina)
I only felt sympathy as likewise former loner.
After all I by myself also used the Savage Lands as my turf during my childhood.
“Come to think of it, there aren’t that many river streams in the Baumeister Earldom.”
It’s situated in the south, so there’s only few tall mountains except for the Great Lieg Mountain Range.
“In exchange there are Southern Trouts that travel upstream from the ocean in the Baumeister Earldom. Those might turn into great business if we introduce them as local specialty.”
It might be possible to even export if we make preserved food such as salted fish entrails, salted salmon, saketoba5, fish preserved in miso and smoked fish by aiming for a production increase and the protection of fish resources through artificial hatching of juvenile fish.
After all we must not rely on only magic bags to have fish flow onto the market.
“So you do think about feudal lord-like matters, Wendelin-san.” (Katharina)
“For better or worse, I’m an Earl.” (Wendelin)
“Though I’d like you to not call it for better or worse by yourself…” (Katharina)
Even if I’m told that; in my previous life nobles and such only appeared in fairy tales or television programs. Since I was involuntarily appointed to nobility without even wanting to become a part of it, my actual feeling of being a noble is equal to zero.
“Wend, you only take things related to food serious, don’t you?” (Luise)
“I’m seriously training my magic as well, Luise.” (Wendelin)
I swiftly refuted Luise’s observation.
I never miss my daily magic practice after all.
“Magic to mix mayonnaise, magic to force fish and meat to mature or 『Exclusive magic for a certain, particular purpose?』; there are many of those, aren’t there?” (Luise)
One must not look down on magic to mix mayonnaise.
The mixing speed and angle are crucial. I finally learned the proper way after piling up many trials and errors.
At first the ingredients were wasted as they were sent flying all over. Either way, it was a chain of hardships.
“Something that can be mixed with a magic tool…” (Luise)
“The texture of the mayonnaise is much finer with my spell than it is from using a magic tool. That changes the taste.” (Wendelin)
“Is it all that different?” (Luise)
“Luise, you must not underestimate that small difference.” (Wendelin)
It might be a very small difference, but it’s possible that there will be a big change in taste for the actual dish.
I repeatedly advocated to Luise that it’s wrong to simply discard that pickiness.
“Besides no magic, which is that useful, exists, right?”
“Really? It’s more useful than 『Wind Cutter』 for example?” (Katharina)
“Isn’t that quite obvious!?”
『Wind Cutter』 only tears apart enemies and monsters, but thanks to the magic to mix mayonnaise being able to also handle meringue and fresh cream, Elise can make wonderful desserts. It can even be applied to the creation of juice and the kneading of hamburger meat.
Because magic has its value in being useful to people, I can say that I’m learning magic correctly.
“People can’t survive without food. That’s an eternal rule. The useful magic for mixing mayonnaise is amazing.” (Wendelin)
“That seems to be a quite strained interpretation…”
In addition, it’s also related to my previous life’s job.
Anyway, being interested in various food and investigating it didn’t result in a dull work.
That habit and the reality that there are still much more development possibilities for the food culture of this world, tempts me towards the pursuit of food.
“Good grief, if it’s about food, you don’t pull punches, do you Wend?” (Luise)
“I have the resolve to crush a high-ranking noble if it’s for the sake of food.” (Wendelin)
“Let’s refrain from that…” (Luise)
At present it was alright, but in the future nobles, who will hinder my eating habits, might appear.
I believe it to be necessary to have at least the resolve to crush their household, if that happens.
Though Luise opposed me on that for a change.
“It looks like the food is ready.”
“Yaaay, time to eat.” (Erwin)
While all of us are chatting, the owner carries in the finished river fish dishes.
Seemingly hungry, Erw frolicked around like a child.
“Here comes Stir-fried small fishes and river shrimps, Boiled Konul Scales, Grilled Salted Carp, Namasa Stew, Eel and Pon Turtle Hot Pot.”
He brings one dish after the other, but at this point in time Ina and Luise felt that it was no good.
That’s because there was still a bit of the characteristic river fish smell lingering, albeit it might have been lowered through the processing and seasoning.
“Has the characteristic smell of river fish and the mud smell been lowered by using herbs?” (Wendelin)
Once I try a bite, I could eat it normally.
But, if I were to be asked whether it’s delicious, I would deny that.
It’s not disgusting, but in my eyes there’s no way for a guest to pay money to eat something that’s not disgusting.
I was somehow able to grasp the reason why this restaurant has no customers.
“Owner-san, don’t you have mountain and rock fish in stock?” (Katharina)
“We are a restaurant for commoners, so…”
The owner explained to Katharina that he can’t procure high-class fish.
“Wilma-san, how is the taste?” (Katharina)
“Hmmm. No different from before.” (Wilma)
Wilma might not look like it, but she’s sensitive to the taste of food.
If she says that it’s the same as before, there’s likely no mistake in that.
“I ate various new dishes at Wend-sama’s place. The desserts made by Elise are very delicious. Because I ended up becoming particular about my food, this river fish dishes are…” (Wilma)
“Wilma, aren’t you going a tad too far there?” (Erwin)
Eating the dishes normally, Erw chides Wilma.
He apparently believed that it was ungrateful towards someone who treated her kindly in the past.
“No. I was ready to being told that, young Knight-sama.”
The owner doesn’t seem to be angry about Wilma’s remark.
“Wilma-san is someone who understands taste. That doesn’t mean that she’s telling me that my skills have declined.”
“Same as before, your cooking skill is magnificent.” (Wilma)
She praised him.
“Certainly, erasing the smell, which is the flaw of river fish, through skill has reached its limit. I believe it to be even more superior than that of the cooks of the Hohenheim household.” (Elise)
Elise praised him as well.
“But, an unchanging taste is also powerless against the change of times. In reality, the number of customers has decreased…”
“There were many customers before.” (Wilma)
“We had a daily menu for lunch time and a considerable number of customers came to eat here. Nowadays the restaurant is in this state, but…”
Even though lunch time has mostly passed, not a single customer besides us has visited.
It’s at a level where one worries about the financial situation of this restaurant.
“Are your finances doing fine?” (Wilma)
“In the evening our long-standing regular customers come to eat the full course meal. However, there’s only old people among them.”
The owner explains the current circumstances of the restaurant to Wilma.
The only ones sustaining this restaurant now are the elderly who want to enjoy a nostalgic flavor. Young people apparently stopped coming altogether.
“I see. Can’t you acquire a new customer base at all?”
“Currently it’s working out somehow, but the sales will likely drop before long.” (Wendelin)
Once the elderly customers are gone, the sales will only decline.
The future prospects weren’t bright.
“Owner-san, what’s the reason for it turning out like this? It’s strange for customers to decrease so easily despite the taste not having changed, right?” (Erwin)
“The reason for the number of customers at lunch falling are those dishes.”
“Yes. I hear that the Arterio Company is successively opening stores that sell new dishes such as fried chicken or fried vegetables and meat on skewer…”
“The Artur Company, eh…?” (Erwin)
Hearing about the reason, Erw’s look started to waver and he turned my way.
And his expression is telling me 『It’s your fault, ain’t it?』
“Certainly, the one who sold business ideas to Arterio-san is me, but…” (Wendelin)
Even so, we are doing proper business that follows the laws.
The one actually managing the whole enterprise is Arterio-san, but since competition is a part of business, I can’t really really do anything about it.
As I’m thinking something along those lines, my arm is suddenly pulled.
Once I turn around, I found Wilma with teary eyes behind me.
“Wend-sama, save this restaurant.” (Wilma)
“Eh? Me?” (Wendelin)
Certainly there are plenty ideas I can rip-off from modern Japan, but there’s no guarantee that it will go smoothly by doing it just like that.
First, I’m not that skilled in cooking.
“I won’t be able to save it with my own cooking abilities. Since they treated me well in the past, I want to return the favor.” (Wilma)
Despite her having sold all her fish here, this owner saved Wilma in regards to food if you consider the amount she eats.
“Wendelin-sama, can’t you do anything about it?” (Elise)
“Elise, I’m not that skilled at cooking though…” (Wendelin)
“I believe I won’t even lose to the royal palace’s chefs in ability to come up with new dishes. I will help as well.”
“True, abandoning this restaurant will leave a bad aftertaste.”
“If we revive this restaurant, the numbers of restaurants we can frequent will increase.”
Ina and Luise seem to approve of me helping this restaurant.
“Wendelin-san, won’t it be fine to try it as a test at least?” (Katharina)
“As a test, huh…?” (Wendelin)
Given that we only developed my territory recently, Katharina seems to be slightly fed up with it, too.
With the agreement coming from all sides, I started my consulting task.
“I’m the mysterious fake consultant, Earl Baumeister.”
“Fake; is that something you’d say about yourself?”
Ina is astonished, but that’s the image I have of consultants.
Anyway, I think they are a full assembly of sly, old dogs.
I often had work related to consulting restaurants and dealing with ingredients, but there was a small fraction of people at the level of swindlers, who think that a novel opinion = wonderful, and others, who talk to their customers about harmless things like sham psychological counselors.
If you leave it to a splendid person, there will be tremendous results, but if you leave it to a useless person, it won’t only result in a waste of money, but it will also serve as milestone towards bankruptcy.
What makes matters worse, it depends on the ups and downs of luck and business conditions. And, coupled with the misdeeds of a small portion of wrongdoers, the flaw in the crystal is the liability of consultants to give a bad impression.
Well, there are various difficult occupations, but going by my experience as person who has seen competent experts, it’s reasonable for me to call myself a fake.
“Wend-sama, thank you.” (Wilma)
“It seems interesting, so don’t worry.” (Wendelin)
I answer while caressing Wilma’s head.
Besides, Wilma is a very nice and obedient girl with her only weakness being her gluttony. As it’s her very own wish, I judged that I will comply with it.
“First up is what you will do about the management, right?”
“Changing the menu towards fried food, which is currently a fad in the capital, or something like that?”
“No, that’s risky.”
At the moment Arterio-san controls and sells the seasonings and ingredients in the capital. His franchise-styled shops are at their height of prosperity.
Considering profit, other stores introduce those as well, but due to Arterio-san procuring the ingredients and seasonings in batches, we won’t be able to win against Arterio Company with its stable taste and cheap prices in the present state.
Even if we serve the same dishes in such remote area and moreover in this kind of situation, it’s highly unlikely for us to have a chance of winning.
“What’s the selling point of this restaurant?”
“River fish, no?”
“It’s river fish.”
“It is river fish.”
“It is river fish.” (Katharina)
“It’s river fish, right?”
“It’s so obvious that even Erw understands.” (Wendelin)
“Hey! As what kind of idiot do you regard me in your mind, Wend?” (Erwin)
“There’s a way to use this characteristic. Though it uses frying as cooking method.” (Wendelin)
“You are ignoring me…!?” (Erwin)
I immediately head to the kitchen located at the inner part of the restaurant, but it seems the owner here is really capable.
Even though it’s an old kitchen, it’s as clean as a whistle. The maintenance of the cooking utensils such as cooking knives was flawless as well.
It’s also equipped with a refrigerator, which is expensive as it’s a magic tool.
It’s likely for the sake of preserving the ingredients’ freshness because he’s handling fish.
“We will use river shrimps and small fish instead of chicken meat for the fried food6.”
Even if it’s the same fried food, the fact that they can eat fried river fish in this restaurant should increase the number of customers who want that.
“After rubbing in salt, you remove the mucus and scales. Then you properly shake off the water and apply flour to it…” (Wendelin)
Once I gave the instructions for the cooking, the owner and Elise started to cook skillfully.
The small fish and river shrimps turned into fried food and served on a plate look very delicious.
“Well then time to sample…”
Everyone samples the fried food and just as it looks, it’s tasty.
The characteristic river fish smell has dissipated as it’s fried food. Come to think of it, the rivers in this world are mostly so clear that they can be labeled as what-is-called clear stream in Japan.
As long as one doesn’t mess up the cooking method, it likely won’t be that smelly.
“However, I think it’s better to keep the river shrimps in clean water for two or three days to extract the mud.” (Wendelin)
I call it extracting the mud, but basically it’s for the sake of emptying the shrimps’ stomachs.
As small fish and shrimps are eaten together with their intestines, it’s likely unpleasant to have the things eaten by them remaining in their stomachs.
“Next is deep-frying and tempura…”
Stocking up on flour and sauce is indispensable, but it will be fine to simply procure these from Arterio-san.
If I tell him that I helped with a reconstruction, Arterio-san shouldn’t say anything unreasonable either.
“The tempura is delicious as well.”
The kakiage7 that mixed the meat with vegetables after filleting the small fish bodies into three pieces was wonderful as well.
River shrimp kakiage should become popular.
“This is served together with alcohol as side dish to boost the sales per customer. It makes it easier to make a profit on the alcohol.”
“Wend, what’s sales per customer?”
“Well, it means just what it says…”
Erw apparently can’t understand the term sales per customer.
“It’s the average of how much a single customer paid in total.” (Elise)
“As expected of you, Elise. And Erw, you are really stupid…” (Wendelin)
“Hey you! Shut up! I’m a retainer in charge of the military, you know?” (Erwin)
Being ridiculed by me, Erw lost his nerve a bit as he was eating the prototype kakiage.
“The cooking of this is alright, right?”
“Yes. But, for such cooking to exist, the world is sure wide.”
After taking notes, the owner starts on his own trial products as well.
I guess it should be expected, but the owner beautifully completed the karaage and tempura even faster than Elise.
“Professionals are really amazing…”
After being told once, the owner with his long-standing cooking experience skillfully makes the rest.
Elise was good as well, but the owner seems to go beyond that.
“Wend-sama, amazing.” (Wilma)
“It will probably be quite easy. Since the cooking skill of the owner here is great, it’s enough for me to simply teach him new cooking methods.” (Wendelin)
Next I introduce roasted fish marinated in a spicy sauce, sweetened boiled fish, fish preserved in miso and cooked in miso.
“In the end it’s good to eat and delicious if it’s cooked with miso and soy sauce, but ain’t that in itself the taste of miso and soy sauce?”
“Pfft…Erw, you sure have a childish sense of taste.” (Wendelin)
“You are really dishing out insults as you like today, aren’t you?!” (Erwin)
“Say, Erw. Occasionally Elise cooked edible wild plants for us, didn’t she?”
“Those were delicious.”
Elise cooked plants which were picked up in the mountainous area located in the Savage Lands.
“Elise removed the astringent taste before preparing the food, but if you remove all the astringency, the wild plants become unappetizing.” (Wendelin)
“Yes. If you don’t leave some bitterness, the taste of the plants themselves will be gone.” (Elise)
As expected of the perfect super-woman Elise.
She gives Erw an explanation befitting my intention.
“There are also people who like a faint trace of river fish smell remaining in their dishes. Even if you season it with miso and soy sauce, it will become something completely different from a meat dish with those faint traces.”
The delicate balance of the taste depends on the skill of the cook though.
“But, won’t the customers avoid ordering it then?” (Erwin)
“What’s so bad about that?” (Wendelin)
“Eh!? That’s fine with you?” (Erwin)
“Yeah, don’t worry. Rather than a taste that’s called 『Well, it’s tasty, I think?』 by 90%, it will be a taste regarded as 『I will definitely come again to eat it』 by 30%!”
The success of a restaurant relies on securing repeating customers.
At the same time of seizing a new type of customers with a new cooking method in a river fish restaurant with too hackneyed cooking recipes, the number of repeat customers, who will definitely desire want to eat these new dishes, will increase.
“The reason why this restaurant managed to somehow stay afloat despite the falling number of guests is the regular customers who order the full course meal at night. Of course a full course menu also has a high profit ratio as well as pay per customer.”
“Certainly, it’s just as you say, Earl Baumeister-sama. The restaurant is still running because of the evening guests.”
“Is that so? By the way, what’s profit ratio?” (Erwin)
Even though he expressly received an explanation, Erw didn’t understand the meaning of profit ratio.
Everyone except for Erw ended up tumbling over in shock.
“What, you ask. Doesn’t it simply mean what it says? It’s about how much profit you made.” (Ina)
Without a moment’s delay, Ina explained profit ratio to Erw.
“Wend, you are difficult to understand as you only use complicated technical terms.” (Erwin)
“That’s not a technical term, and I don’t think that it’s complicated either though.” (Wendelin)
It seems that I won’t be able to entrust work related to the domestic affairs of my territory and money calculation to Erw.
He has absolutely no aptitude in this kind of area.
“I guess that’s all for the dishes? It won’t work unless the owner grasps his own way of cooking and the fine-tuned seasoning.” (Wendelin)
“Such new cooking methods are currently popular in the capital and its surrounding areas. The new flavoring is wonderful as well. I will go immediately buy some more to do several experiments. By just fussing over traditions, I eased up on the creation of new tastes. I have to do my best while allowing both, new creations and tradition, to coexist successfully.”
Having discovered a hope to continue the restaurant, the owner was suddenly full of power to get things done.
He is going to challenge new things while keeping the good things in his repertoire.
There are many people misunderstanding that a well-established restaurant will last eternally by serving always the same dishes, but since the taste of people changes with the eras, the majority of the restaurants actually changes its taste subtly.
As long as he can understand that, this restaurant should be alright for the next hundred years.
“(I did something very good, didn’t I?) I wonder, is there anything else? By the way, where do you preserve your fish?” (Wendelin)
“If you are looking for a pond, it’s in the backyard.”
I detected another point that should be improved.
Once we come out at the backyard after following the owner, several wide ponds had been dug out, making use of the fact that this is the suburbs.
Once I peer into them, dozens of carps and catfish are swimming within.
But, I wonder, why has only a part of the fish a different way of naming compared to Japan?
It’s slightly bothersome.
“The water in the ponds is clean.”
“Fine spring water gushes out at my plot.”
“Hee, how much mud extraction do you do?” (Wendelin)
“Eh? Mud extraction? I don’t do that. I erase the bad smell with herbs.”
“That’s no good!” (Wendelin)
“Eh? It’s wrong?”
He sure has some nerve to not wash out the mud, including the carps, too.
If it’s that much, even I with my little knowledge about river fish am aware of it.
Or rather, for them to be reasonably edible even without doing that is probably owed to this world’s nature not having been polluted at all.
“You dig a pond into the ground and put them in there?”
“It’s for the sake of keeping them alive.”
Given that he’s putting the fish into the ponds solely for the sake of keeping them alive, he seems to give them normal feed.
Because it’s also in order to make it easier to prepare them at the time of cooking, emptying their digestion organs doesn’t make sense here.
Basically erasing the bad smell with herbs is a tradition, the owner explained.
“You said that spring water is appearing inside the plot.”
“Yes. Moreover a large quantity of it. Thanks to that, I can use good water for my cooking.”
“You have to also wash off the mud from the fish—!” (Wendelin)
Therefore I forcibly create a stone fish tank for washing off the mud in a hurry.
That’s because the mud smell can’t be washed out in the ponds.
So that the effort to change water, used to constantly stream the fish with, doesn’t change, I completed several isolated stone fish tanks in a mere hour.
“Magic is sure amazing.”
The owner is deeply moved by the tanks completed in the vast back yard.
“Of course I will take a teaching fee, but seeing as I have become so deeply involved, I will have the restaurant become popular again.” (Wendelin)
“Yes… So they can stay in there for around a week without fodder?”
“It’s around that long when I tested. Please study the exact number of days by yourself. After all it differs on the state of the specimen and the producing area. Eel will be alright for around three days before eating as long as you sprinkle water on it from above after putting it inside a cage so that it can’t run away.”
This is what I saw in an eel breeding farm.
They put the eel in separate buckets and keep them alive by pouring water on them to the extent of keeping their bodies’ surface wet.
Of course that will force the eel to fast, but it will be possible to maintain them in a fresher state than putting them into fish tanks, even if you do it like this.
“Let’s meet again after a week.”
Since there’s no reason for us to be in this restaurant until the fish’ mud has been extracted, we finished the first day of consulting with this.
And then after the promised one week.
“The river fish restaurant? It’s a store in the suburbs of the capital, isn’t it? I went there to sell fish in the past, but why are you supporting that restaurant?” (Roderich)
“I was asked to by Wilma and it looked somewhat interesting.” (Wendelin)
“Is that so…? I don’t particularly mind since the territory’s development is advancing faster than planned, but…” (Roderich)
He seems unable to understand my obsession, but since it’s not like it holds back the development, Roderich didn’t object to us visiting the capital.
He comes to see us off in the same manner as usual when we go hunting in the Demon Forest.
Once we instantly transferred to the river fish restaurant with 『Teleportation』, we were awaited by the owner who was sharpening his kitchen knives.
A 『Temporarily Closed』 tag hangs at the entrance door of the restaurant and he seems to have been eagerly expecting us.
It’s the start of the second day of the fake consultant job.
“First we start with the Konul.”
Following my instructions, he carefully makes miso stir-fry, koikoku and braised carp.
Since sashimi has the issue of parasites, we passed on that this time.
The cooking method is roughly proper and the owner makes the dishes while arranging them skillfully in his own way.
“I wonder, is it the cooking method? The one in our dojo smells really muddy.”
“Washing the mud off is effective, isn’t it?”
Since the fish lived in clean water to begin with, they turned out delicious without any smell after washing them properly.
If this was Japan, it probably wouldn’t have worked out like this unless you raised them in quite the controlled aquaculture.
“Next is whole-fried fish with sweet and sour sauce.”
It’s a dish combining vegetables in a sweet sour red bean sauce with carp that had been carefully fried twice in oil while alternating high and low temperatures after removing its intestines and scales and covering it with flour.
This is a menu from my memories, which my parents told me about in detail in the past and which was often offered at a Chinese restaurant I had grown accustomed to.
The cooking method was at parts a bit unclear, but the owner covered for that with his experience and his skilled handling, wholly frying the carp in a huge pot.
He had apparently procured potato starch through the church.
“Wendelin-sama, is this fine?” (Elise)
“It has a really nice red bean taste. As expected of you, Elise.” (Wendelin)
The fried carp in the sweet and sour red bean sauce made by Elise seems to be very delicious.
“It’s an amazing dish. But it takes quite a bit time.”
It has to be fried for a long time so that it can be eaten completely, including the bones.
Come to think of it, I remember talking with my parents about the current price value.
“Won’t it be fine if you serve it on a pre-order basis?”
“It looks as if serving it on a big plate would rouse any party.”
I tried sampling it, but it was as tasty as it took up time.
I fully understand why it was a hero in the Chinese restaurant in the past.
“I ate my fill.” (Katharina)
“Katharina, you are only eating.” (Wilma)
“Wilma-san, this is not the stage for me to enter, is it? In the first place, you aren’t helping with anything either.” (Katharina)
“No, Wilma went to catch a nicely-shaped carp from the fish tanks in the backyard. Then, Katharina, go and fetch a Namasa next.” (Wendelin)
“Eh!? Me?” (Katharina)
Katharina hesitated quite a bit after I handed her a big net.
“The appearance of Namasa is slightly…” (Katharina)
“You can even defeat wyverns, and yet why are you afraid of something like Namasa, Katharina?” (Wendelin)
Even though wyverns seem to be a lot less popular with women than Namasa, Katharina was never afraid after seeing a dragon.
And yet, for her to be bad with Namasa; I really don’t understand women well.
“Its appearance is physically no good. It slimy and slippery…” (Katharina)
Most of the women might be bad with slimy and slippery things. But, if you look properly, it has a really cute face, you know?
“So you do have woman-like parts as well, Katharina.”
“Wendelin-san, there’s no one as womanly as I am.” (Katharina)
“Umm, what about Elise?” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin-sama, I went to fetch Namasa.” (Elise)
Before I had realized, Elise went to get Namasa with a big net.
Elise seems to be fine with them.
Given that undead are quite unpleasant, Elise might have developed a strong resistance.
“Owner, you handle the business conditions well.”
“Please have a look at my skills from 20 years of experience as a cook.”
Being able to learn various dishes, the owner gets quite motivated.
After perforating it on a chopping board, he swiftly and splendidly filleted the big catfish into three parts.
“Wow. So you perforated it.”
“It’s because Namasa are slippery and slimy.”
The owner cuts and trims the catfish efficiently, making tempura, fried catfish, teriyaki, deep-fried catfish and hot pot prepared with miso out of it.
“Its stomach seems to be a delicacy.”
“I will turn it over, sprinkle it with salt after washing it properly with water and grill it.”
In addition, the owner created dango by frequently hitting the leftover fish, its head, its bones and its liver with a kitchen knife and mixing that with miso. It resulted in him creating a soup with dango floating in broth.
“The seasoning called miso is convenient. I tried this cooking with various river fish, but if it’s just salt and herbs, the taste is lacking…”
The owner apparently carried out a personal cooking method research. Even without being told by me, he made various types or original dishes.
It seems the existence of miso and soy sauce, which are fermented seasonings, is a big deal.
“If it’s Sho, it won’t result in an overly good taste as the ingredient is fish as well.”
Since Sho is fish paste, it probably has a fishy taste.
“Let’s cook Pon turtle next.”
“You are going to eat that turtle?” (Katharina)
“You haven’t eaten it at home, Katharina?” (Wendelin)
“Sorry, but we didn’t have such a custom…hiii!” (Katharina)
Katharina screamed a bit after watching the owner cut off the head of the big soft-shelled turtle that Wilma brought from the tanks.
“And yet you can calmly behead a wyvern with magic.” (Wendelin)
“This and that are different. Isn’t the Pon turtle cute if you look at it?” (Katharina)
Now that she mentions it, I remember there were people who bought it as pet in Japan.
While I’m talking with Katharina, the owner magnificently finishes dismantling the soft-shelled turtle. I introduce standard dishes such as fried turtle, hot pot, stir-fry and rice gruel containing vegetables and turtle flesh to him with this as ingredient and have him make them.
Even here the owner capitalized on his skills after seeing it for the first time and created unbelievably skilled dishes.
“Now then, time to sample.”
Since the daytime has turned evening at last, it’s just the right time for dinner.
The restaurant is on break, and since we have planned to stay here and continue the consulting work tomorrow as well, we decide to take dinner comfortably in a private room inside the restaurant.
“It’s really tasty.”
Since the ingredients and cooking is excellent, all the river fish dishes were delicious.
They were raised in clean water and had the mud removed, thus it was nice as it didn’t have the smelliness of river fish.
“With this, plenty of customers will come. I have to procure plenty of miso and soy sauce.”
The owner seems very happy while serving the finished dishes.
“It’s great with its adult taste.”
Erw also ate plenty of dishes while looking satisfied.
“Since it will be difficult to win even if you challenge the large funds of Arterio-san, who bets on small profits and quick return, we will fight with a multicolored menu featuring river fish. It will be a good idea to sell fried fish and sweetened boiled fish at the storefront. We will create a special lunch menu, single dishes and alcohol for those enjoying that and several course menus for parties…”
“I see. Different menus aiming for different customers.”
“Yeah. But I guess manpower is still a problem.”
“It’s alright. My parents, wife and children are around.”
Since the restaurant is on vacation right now, his wife is only at night here and his sons are part-timing in other restaurants.
“If the restaurant becomes busy, everybody will come to help out here.”
“In that case tomorrow will be the crucial moment.”
“Yes. Tomorrow we will tackle eel.”
It was beyond expectations that the river fish cooking was more delicious than expected, but there’s a reason why I taught him river fish cooking, which I don’t really like much, and had him make it.
It’s for the sake of observing the skills of this restaurant’s owner.
Speaking of eel, it must be that dish.
Is he a person worthy of allowing him to make kabayaki which requires technique?
In order to make sure of that, I spent some time.
“Owner, how do you cook eel?”
“Let’s see. After cutting it in round slices, I blanch it. Then I cook it together with salt and herbs…”
“That sounds unappetizing…”
In all honesty, I have absolutely no craving for such a dish.
“Sounds unappetizing, you say…it’s pretty much the local cuisine around here…”
In this world they don’t wash off the mud and remove the bad smell of river fish with herbs. It makes me angry that the majority is boiling it with salt or grilling it.
“Traditions are important, but you have to challenge new dishes!” (Wendelin)
I spontaneously stress towards the owner.
“Wend, why are you so picky about cooking?”
“Because it’s my hobby, I guess?”
“Even if that’s the case, it has developed into something close to an obsession.”
“You are not wrong there.”
Erw and Luise are saying rude things from the sidelines, but it’s important for humans what they eat.
If everybody can eat delicious food, the causes for dispute in this world will decrease.
“Anyway, once we have eaten the food, we will go sleep earlier than usual in preparation for tomorrow.”
“I will do my best tomorrow as well.”
“Wilma, if the owner displays the soul of a cook tomorrow, it will cause an uproar in the river fish circles. He might be called 『Eel King』 then.” (Wendelin)
“Such an amazing dish… I will go sleep quickly.” (Wilma)
“You’re right. Let’s prepare for tomorrow by going to bed early.” (Wendelin)
Wilma and I wrap ourselves in blankets next to each other and close our eyes.
The location is a room we borrowed on the second floor of the restaurant.
“Eh? You are going sleep this early on?” (Ina)
Ina seems to be dissatisfied, but tomorrow will be busy from early morning.
That’s because we must pour all our energy into making kabayaki tomorrow.
“If I can eat plenty of delicious dishes tomorrow as well, I’m fine with that.” (Erwin)
“I will help out, too.” (Elise)
“Even though something like eel isn’t overly tasty as it’s only greasy…” (Katharina)
Erw and Elise were enthusiastic, but only Katharina seems to have a hard time with eel.
“However, I will declare that even you will begin to like eel tomorrow, Katharina!” (Wendelin)
“I don’t quite understand from where you’re getting that confidence…” (Katharina)
On that day we go sleep earlier than usual. And then, early morning of the next day.
We grab a light breakfast and then set up a special cooking space in the front yard of the currently closed restaurant.
With Erw playing the main role, we finished the carpenter work by using the restaurant’s utensils, such as a stand to grill with charcoal and a kitchen table to process the eel.
“Since charcoal will be used for grilling the eel, all that’s left is to build a stand for grilling over a high flame8.” (Wendelin)
Using a high flame is great for grilling eel.
They even said so in a certain gourmet manga.
“That’s fine and all, but Wend, your blueprint sucks.” (Erwin)
“There’s no issue since you can roughly grasp what I mean, right?” (Wendelin)
“Well, it’s nothing that complicated anyway. But, the drawings are really bad.” (Erwin)
Even though I think that it’s none of his business, let’s overlook it since Erw is doing well at completing the eel grilling stand.
“Ina, Luise, how’s the rice?” (Wendelin)
“It’s fine, but is it really alright to cook this much?” (Ina)
“I wonder about that as well. Isn’t it a little bit too much?” (Luise)
“Everyone might want to have a second serving, that’s why.” (Wendelin)
“I see that you are brimming with confidence.” (Ina)
A short time later the special cooking space is done, and Wilma accordingly brings a big bucket full of eels that had been pickled in spring water.
“Owner! Slice it down its back!” (Wendelin)
“Please leave it to me.”
He places an eel on top of the chopping board, perforates it in the same way as the catfish and then opens it from the back in order to not damage the intestines.
If it had been me, it would certainly end in failure, but as expected of a professional who prepared things such as catfish for many years.
He handled the eel really skillfully.
After taking out the intestines, he cut off the head and the spine. Then, after stabbing a wooden skewer through the eel, all that’s left was grilling it without seasoning. It’s a wooden skewer since bamboo doesn’t grow in the Kingdom.
“Elise, please make the sauce.” (Wendelin)
Elise cooks the sauce in a pot with soy sauce, mirin and sake as ingredients.
Next we put the head and bones of the nicely-grilled eel inside, cook them together for a while, and that’s it for the sauce.
“So you get a soup stock by using the head and bones of eel, huh?”
“This sauce is important.” (Wendelin)
The owner makes grilled eel while carefully spending time on it. Meanwhile Erw manufactured a steaming basket to steam eel.
“Erw, make sure it’s sturdy.” (Wendelin)
“Somehow I feel like that’s not the job of an adventurer, but with the prospect of eating delicious eel dishes, I guess I will do my best.” (Erwin)
Erw’s handmade steamer, which is placed on a cauldron, has been finished, and using that, we steam the grilled eel.
With this the excess oil will be thoroughly removed.
It’s a cooking method in the Kanto style, but the natural eels seem to have tougher bodies than those from aquacultures. And since I heard that this method is better, we go with that.
“And then at last put sauce on the steamed eel and grill it again.”
“Ooh! So there’s such way of cooking as well. I will be cautious to not get singed.”
The owner does the last grilling, finishing the eel kabayaki without problems.
Lastly he covers the cooked rice with sauce and once he puts the eel, which was taken off the skewer, on top of it, the dish is done.
“Katharina, the pepper is needed, so how far are you?” (Wendelin)
“Yes, yes. I grated it properly.” (Katharina)
Japanese pepper – indispensable for kabayaki – existed in this world as well. I had Katharina grate it, then added it as garnish, and now we just have to eat.
“First I will sample the dish…”
At once I put a bite into my mouth, but the eel, which I’m eating for the first time in a long while, had a flavor that brought me close to ascending to heaven.
Even though he’s a professional, the owner doesn’t have any experience in cooking eel kabayaki, so it might be inferior to a Japanese restaurant, but he would just need to improve his skill.
As long as he makes it over and over again, the big difference to the Japanese version will gradually fade away. Once that happens, I will be able to eat tasty eel kabayaki whenever I feel like it.
“So there’s such way of eating it as well, huh…?”
Next even the owner was deeply moved by the taste while sampling.
“It’s overwhelmingly more delicious than stewing it in round slices.”
Stewing it like that is the local cuisine, but that likely won’t please anyone but an English person.
I don’t think that it’s something I want to eat.
“This is extremely delicious!”
“I want to eat more!”
“Luise, how sly. You eat too much.”
“I couldn’t endure the aroma any longer when it was grilled while soaked with the sauce. Wendelin-san, it looks like there’s not enough…” (Katharina)
The unadon, which was made first, is eaten up completely without a single serving remaining by Ina and the others.
“I didn’t get even a single bite of it!” (Erwin)
Erw complained as he couldn’t eat it due to getting a late start.
In addition to him, Elise couldn’t eat it either, but as expected of her, she didn’t complain about it. That difference in behavior might be owed to their upbringing.
“Owner, today we will devote to preparing eel and making kabayaki.”
“For the sake of training, right?”
“There’s that as well, but the biggest reason is the sauce!”
I point at the huge jar with the sauce made by Elise.
“Grill and steam the eel, add the sauce to it and then grill it again, right? On that occasion the eel’s oil and flavor will melt into the sauce.” (Wendelin)
“In other words, you are saying the eel’s flavor will gradually condense into the sauce?”
“If it decreases, you have to replenish it with new sauce. As you do, this sauce’s taste will steadily get better.” (Wendelin)
“It will turn into an outrageous asset, won’t it?”
“Even if the restaurant burns down or is engulfed in a war, as long as you have this sauce, it will be easy to rebuild this restaurant.” (Wendelin)
“I see. The sauce is a treasure. Alriiiight. I will grill plenty and improve my skill!”
The owner called his wife and children in a hurry, and began to grill a huge amount of eel.
Since he also has three sons that are already adults, they do the preparing, skewering, steaming and grilling in turns with the four of them. Meanwhile his wife begins to cook rice and prepares it in bowls.
And like that they finish another 30 unadon.
“Erw, eat without reservations.”
“What a nice scent. A combination of eel and rice, huh?” (Erwin)
Having already finished making one set of eel grilling stand + steamer, Erw begins to eat the delicious-looking unadon.
“The eel with its mellowness and tenderness is tasty. The rice soaked with sauce is the best.” (Erwin)
“Deep-fried eel bones and fried liver is great as well.”
I give instructions to the owner’s sons and have them make things like eel-liver soup, fried liver and eel bone crackers. I enjoyed the nostalgic taste of eel while eating those dishes.
“For me too!”
Since it’s so delicious, I ended up getting another servings against my better judgment, but even for me three bowls was the limit.
Afterwards I watched the owner’s family while slurping eel-liver soup and eating the fried liver and the eel bone crackers. Their performance in making kabayaki is gradually becoming better.
However, every single one they completed ended up in Wilma’s stomach.
“Wilma, do you like it?”
“Delicious. I think the restaurant will be safe with this.” (Wilma)
“Indeed. My advice ends here. Owner-san and his family have to come up with further ways of business.” (Wendelin)
Even though I had intended to look cool in front of her, Wilma holds out her empty bowl to the owner’s wife without care.
I feel slightly as if I had wasted my effort.
“Wilma, how many bowls did you have already?”
“60. But, I will stop soon. I hear it’s good for one’s health to eat moderately.”
“Yeah, that’s true…” (Wendelin)
The owner and his family still continued to grill eel, but this is within my forecast.
Once they grill the eel with sauce on the other prepared grilling stand, the great aroma gradually spreads into the vicinity.
This was a suburb, but since it’s next to the road leading to the central part of the capital, many people are coming and going. Lured in by the smell, people started to gather slowly.
“『River』-san, is this a new menu? What an extremely nice fragrance.”
“Yes, it’s a new eel dish.”
“I still haven’t had lunch. How much does it cost?”
“Alright. one unadon for 15 cents. Half a bowl for 8 cents. The soup, fried liver and bone crackers go for 5 cents each.” (Wendelin)
“Then one unadon or whatever it’s called, and add a soup and crackers to it.”
“Thanks for your purchase. I will guide you, dear customer.”
I decide a price highhandedly and guide the customer to a seat inside the restaurant.
“You get the reason why I had you grill the eel outside, right?”
“It’s the smell.”
“Since you are going out of your way to practice by grilling a large amount, you might as well sell them while you are at it. Owner, you have to grill a lot.” (Wendelin)
Eel can tease one with its fragrance.
Since we continued to grill the eel outside, a fixed percentage of the people traveling along the road visits to check it out and eat unadon.
With today’s customers going back to the capital and advertising its deliciousness, it’s my plan to have plenty of customers crowd the restaurant starting from tomorrow.
It’s also a forethought to not let the precious ingredients go to waste.
“A new eel dish, huh? I’m eating it for the first time, but it’s great.”
“I hate eel broth, but this is truly delicious!”
“It was spot on to come here after being attracted by the scent.”
Even after lunchtime had already passed, the stream of customers didn’t stop. Before I realized it, the restaurant has become fully occupied and we helped out by taking orders and washing dishes.
“Occasionally things like this are fun as well.” (Wendelin)
“That’s true, Wendelin-sama.” (Elise)
I recall having worked as part-timer in ramen shops and family restaurants during my student days.
Elise was taking the orders while looking happy.
“But, what an amazing number of customers.”
“Wendelin-san, you have a superb talent for things like this.” (Katharina)
Erw and Katharina admire the big number of guests while washing dishes.
Though it’s a mistake to think that I have talent for business. In reality it’s just a type of janken where I wait to see the opponent’s move before doing anything. 9 I just knew by chance about eel kabayaki that didn’t exist in this world so far. Calling me a pioneer in being able to earn the most with business wasn’t wrong though.
“What a nice aroma. For me, unadon without cooked rice, fried liver, bone crackers and wine.” (Burkhart)
“Earl-sama, what are you doing in such a place?” (Burkhart)
Lately Burkhart-san was acting independently upon Margrave Breithilde’s orders. He ordered eel with a nonchalant look.
“Just a small, advisor-like job.” (Wendelin)
“Is that the job of an adventurer?” (Burkhart)
“Occasionally things like this are interesting as well, aren’t they? Burkhart-san, did you have a job in the suburbs?” (Wendelin)
“An errand for my lord. However, another new dish, huh? Let’s see… It goes well with alcohol.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san seems satisfied as he eats the eel kabayaki and bone crackers while drinking liquor.
“The fried liver is also great. This place is an adult restaurant where I can enjoy booze and good side dishes. Next time I will invite Arterio… And yeah, yeah, I won’t allow him to get involved with this place.” (Burkhart)
“The ingredients are special, and there won’t be any healthy competition if I entrust too much to Arterio-san, right?” (Wendelin)
“I guess that’s true as well. Which remind me, this place was an old river fish restaurant, wasn’t it? So it also has deep connections with the fishermen.” (Burkhart)
“If it’s Arterio-san, the procurement of eel and the negotiations will likely be difficult.”
“Yeah, the price will be a lot higher than for this place.”
The fishermen don’t have an official guild, but with their unity being strong, it’s almost no different from a guild.
If River, who is a veteran, succeeds with eel and other river fish, it will contribute to an improvement in the fishermen’s lives.
They are sure to prefer River, an old acquaintance of theirs, over a new customer like Arterio, and will supply River with good ingredients at a low price.
“I guess it’s better to exclude Arterio from the eel…”
“The smell of a new business…wait, Earl Baumeister-sama!? Even though I’m your purveyor, Earl-sama!” (Arterio)
It seems he was today in the capital and moreover swiftly sniffed out the scent of eel.
Arterio, the subject of our talk, was lost for words when he saw the delicious-looking eel kabayaki and me helping in the restaurant.
“Please allow me to join in on it as well—” (Arterio)
“The stocking of eel; are you going to be alright with that?” (Wendelin)
“Uuh…I won’t be able to sell it as cheap as this restaurant…” (Arterio)
Anticipating troublesome negotiations with the fishermen, Arterio-san started to flinch back.
“Aren’t you almost completely monopolizing soy sauce and mirin, which are ingredients for the sauce, Arterio-san? You should congratulate this place for its thriving business.”
Besides, when we open an eel restaurant in the Baumeister Earldom, the owner here will surely help us without sparing any effort.
It’s 『The good you do for others is the good you do for yourself』.
“This savory fragrance; a sauce based on soy sauce?”
“In addition the orders have increased because I recommended a recipe that used plenty of miso with the obsolete river fish cuisine.”
“Miso as well!?”
“It’s possible to use this for other dishes. Such as steamed chicken meat, grilled with the sauce applied on it. If you grill eggplant and tofu with the sauce, people who are bad with meat and fish will be able to eat it as well.”
“I see. What a great type of sauce. How do you do? I’m someone from the Arterio Company.”
Arterio-san cheers up right away and after greeting the owner, he started to happily eat the unadon and the fried liver.
That quickness of him changing gears; you might say it’s just as expected of him.
“If it’s like this, I will be able to sell a great amount of soy sauce!”
With the restaurant still being full, we temporarily place tables and chairs in the front yard and guide the customers to those.
And then, at last that person shows up.
“A wonderful aroma entered my nose! Alley-op!” (Armstrong)
The object, which suddenly landed or rather crashed at high speed in front of the restaurant, was Doushi who flew over from the capital’s central area.
Since he caused a thunderous roar alongside his landing, there were a few among the guests who came outside the restaurant while holding their bowls, wondering what was going on.
“Earl Baumeister, why didn’t you invite me to such an interesting event!?” (Armstrong)
“Well… As expected, for you, Doushi, this kind of work…”
There’s no way that I can make Doushi, the Royal Head Magician, help out in a restaurant.
That’s the official reason, and my true opinion is that I didn’t expect him to be of any use.
“Can’t I contribute by sampling food!?”
“(That’s, because Wilma is here…) I will invite you next time.”
“You absolutely have to do so next time! Now then, I guess I will try the new eel dish right away. 20 unadon with a big serving of rice, 10 servings of eel-liver soup, 20 servings of bone crackers and 30 servings of fried liver for me.”
“Are you really going to eat this much?”
Doushi confidently places an order for a large amount of food. He started to eat the served food as if devouring it.
“It’s very delicious! The sauce induces the appetite!”
“I’m getting a sour stomach by just watching…”
“That’s light eating for Doushi-sama.”
“Doesn’t that only apply if compared to you, Wilma…?”
Erw reveals a wary expression due to Doushi’s eating style. Everyone besides Wilma turned looks of approval at him.
“There’s many amazing people among your acquaintances, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
“They are amazing, but there won’t be any problems if you just serve delicious dishes.”
Given that Burkhart-san, Arterio-san and Doushi, three people whose names had spread in the capital, came one after other, the owner seems to be nervous.
And yet he continues to grill eel without lowering his speed.
That’s because otherwise the number of customers won’t decrease no matter how much time passes.
“Are you going to be alright from tomorrow onward?”
“The stock and manpower is fine.”
As might be expected of a long-standing restaurant, on top of the restaurant’s scale, they seem to be flexible in various ways.
The owner declares that he will be alright even without us and that he will build a management system as quickly as possible.
“After having been taught by you, I will do my best so that River continues for the next thousand years with river fish cuisine and eel dishes as core.”
In the end, all of the eels were sold out until evening. At night of the same day, we were served various dishes at a dinner party in a tatami room.
There were many of the dishes I had taught him, but as he apparently piled up experience in this one week, he had polished the taste and the food had become very tasty.
“Delicious. It’s great with booze.”
“Please ask the Arterio Company for fried food sauce and ketchup made out of sweet-sour red beans, in addition to soy sauce and miso.”
“Earl Baumeister, all the dishes served here are wonderful! Definitely call me the next time as well!”
The unrelated people obtained free food for three people, but from now on River would build branch stores as standard-bearer of river fish cuisine, resulting in the owner being later on referred to as 『Eel King』 who doesn’t allow others to follow his steps especially in regards to eel kabayaki.
＊ ＊ ＊
“I see, this is the sauce that came up in the story, huh…?”
“I thought that it would exist in the Earl Mizuho Country, but…”
“In our territory grilled eel with a wasabi-soy sauce is the standard.”
As we were preparing to grill the eel, High Earl Mizuho, who seemed likewise bored, visited our encampment while bringing his retainers along. It looks like he’s very interested in eel kabayaki.
“Did you buy the eel in a state of being skewered on bamboo skewers?”
“In case of an amateur, the processing will be quite bad after all.”
It’s not like an amateur won’t be able to handle it well either, but buying the goods processed by a professional is probably safer.
Even an amateur should be capable of grilling it somehow or other.
“Sweet! It’s sweeter than the sugar applied to a manjuu! Earl Baumeister!”
“That’s certainly sweet.”
Ina is the only one showing an understanding expression towards the weird allegory of High Earl Mizuho.
“A proficient skill is necessary to grill eel. I see, there are the methods of grilling it smeared in sauce after steaming it once, and grilling it soaked in sauce without steaming it? I better leave this to my family’s cooks. They grill it without seasonings, but they are fairly skilled at it.”
We were visited by High Earl Mizuho all of a sudden, but he says that he will lend one of his cooks skilled in processing and grilling eel, and supply us with additional eels. This is sure welcome.
We prepare the eel with both styles, Kanto and Kansai. Former is an eel with fluffy, soft texture, latter is a tougher eel with a crisply burned skin. We were able to enjoy both, and the kabayaki kept being made one after the other.
Even so, I was still surprised that there’s no kabayaki in Earl Mizuho Country.
However, even in Japan kabayaki didn’t appear until the middle of the Edo period, so it’s not such a weird story either.
“Shall we taste and compare as we made both?”
“You had eel on hand as well, hadn’t you High Earl Mizuho?”
“It’s not the season for eel right now, but eel is an ingredient full of power after all. I have it preserved in a magic bag.”
It looks like he’s storing them while the eel is stabbed on skewers. Once he takes them out, it’s prepared according to my instructions, and then placed on top of piping hot, served rice.
One side of the bowl has Kanto-styled eel, the other has Kansai-styled eel.
Since I had River’s owner share some of the sauce with us, I offer it to High Earl Mizuho.
If the sauce runs out, I just have to replenish it by making new sauce.
“What an absurdly appetizing fragrance. The taste is the best as well, isn’t it!? Today we are going to make a large amount of kabayaki!”
Upon High Earl Mizuho’s order, the eel stock is released in large quantities. With that as ingredient, unadon is made and distributed to many Mizuho people.
“It’s a terribly nice aroma. This comes from you, Earl Baumeister-sama?”
“That’s correct, Haruka-san.” (Erwin)
“It’s a smell that lures one in.”
Being attracted by the smell, Haruka shows up and Erw, who helped out with the work, ran up to her and gave her an explanation.
“How can Earl Baumeister-sama come up with this kind of new dishes all the time?”
“Who knows? Maybe he was a cook in his previous life? Let’s eat, Haruka-san.” (Erwin)
At that point Alfons turns up after being lured by the novel scent.
“New Duke Philip-sama, how it’s going?”
“We can’t help much with the former Nürnberg Dukedom’s governing. If we stay influential, it will become tricky for Peter-dono in the future.”
Saying that the Duke Philip household’s feudal army doesn’t have much to do, Alfons looked enviously at the unadon.
“Eel, eh? If it’s the Empire, it’s served as fried dish.” (Alfons)
Apparently it’s stir-fried together with vegetables after boiling the cut round slices.
It’s uncertain whether that’s tasty.
“There’s little amusement on the battlefield, so enjoying this kind of cooking is great.”
“Indeed. Eat this and then do thy best, Duke Philip-dono.” (Therese)
“You have nicely gotten used to your easygoing social status, haven’t you Therese…? I want to retire as well, but…”
“Isn’t that impossible for at least 30 more years?”
“I know that…”
“Don’t cry, Alfons. I will give you an especially large serving of unadon, okay?”
I held out a bigger portion to Alfons.
“Those are tears of happiness…”
Various people gather and everyone eats the delicious eel.
In this way the eel kabayaki explosively spread among not only the Mizuho people, but also imperial citizens.
“Earl Baumeister, please sell the sauce for 1,000 ryo!”
“I won’t sell it at such price. After all this is a sauce soaked with a large amount of eel in the greatly flourishing restaurant River.”
“Hearing that, I want it all the more! Didn’t I provide the eel today?”
“Hasn’t it been you yourself, who said that you want to allow everyone to eat it? I contributed by sharing the sauce.”
“Can’t you think of it like this: your sauce improved the taste even further by absorbing the deliciousness of the eel provided by me? It has contributed to the good flavor of the current sauce. In that case it won’t be a problem, as long as you sell at least half of it to me?”
“No, no! This kind of sauce recipe isn’t new to you, right High Earl Mizuho? You just have to start from a new sauce by making it yourself.”
“Won’t our sauce fall behind yours then, Earl Baumeister?”
“It will be fine. Eel is a specialty in the Earl Mizuho Country, so your sauce will immediately overtake mine.”
“Please sell it. I want that sauce! Even half of it will be fine!”
“If half of it is gone, its deliciousness will weaken.”
“The eel provided today by me accounted for half the good taste, so isn’t that the same in the end!?”
“There’s no way that it was half, is there!? I was given this precious sauce soaked in the flavor of eel after a restaurant famous for its eel grilled eel everyday because it’s me!”
“I will do with a fourth of it!”
- Bowl of eel and rice
- eel dipped and boiled in soy-based sauce
- A miso stew resembling miso soup with koi carp slices
- They are written here in katakana as Iwauo and Yamauo, but I don’t really want to transfer those names into English. They basically mean Rock fish and Mountain fish going by their romaji pronunciation, so I will use that
- Autumn salmon cut into thin vertical pieces, washed in the ocean and dried by the salty ocean wind
- から揚げ (karaage) is a general term for fried food but usually it refers to fried chicken
- Mixed vegetable and seafood tempura
- It’s 強火の遠火, a technique to cook with heat in a condition of keeping away food from the flame while using a strong heating power
- That’s not allowed in Janken