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“Okay, here you go. Can you still go on?”
“Then we will continue with the second helping.”
With the pretext of it being the season for the first soba made out of freshly harvested buckwheat, Fujibayashi Dried Goods invited cooks over from Mizuho and opened a temporary soba store.
Akira’s stores usually have free spaces for events. I’ve heard from him that he plans to call over a sushi cook and run some mochi pounding event in due time. I must attend these at all costs.
Today was the regular holiday for his stores, but Akira came to our mansion with his soba makers to treat us to some soba noodles. Given that I’m the local lord and one of his most regular customers, he occasionally humors my unreasonable requests.
Being a noble has its advantages only when it comes to such matters.
Because I helped him out with the formalities when he expanded the scale of his store, I think it also serves as his show of gratitude.
The cooks Akira brought with him start making heaps of soba noodles, and after cooking them, they finish up by putting them in water. They let us freely choose whether the soba noodles should be hot or chilled, and they even made some tempura for us. Lining up the dishes that are normally sold at Akira’s stores on top of that, we can pick side dishes as we like while eating the soba.
It’s not to the extent of my previous world, but for this world it’s a somewhat luxurious meal course.
“You sure wolf them down as usual, Doushi.”
“I really wonder, just where is all the stuff you’re stuffing into you going?”
Burkhart-san and Doushi have been invited for today as well, and Doushi has already had more than 30 bowls of soba.
He seems to prefer chilled soba, but he ends up downing the bowls at a rate of one per two minutes. Because of that, the soba makers are being kept very busy, End Erw as well as Burkhart-san roll their eyes at Doushi’s gluttony.
“Well, he still loses out to Wilma, though…”
Yep, we’ve got Wilma on our side.
Before she gave birth, her hunger had dropped a tiny bit…that in itself is already plenty amazing…but now she’s completely back to being a black hole. With her asking for second helpings in quick succession, it gives the cooks even more work to do.
“Wilma, do you like them?”
“As expected, soba is great, isn’t it?”
“Wilma-sama, you liked soba to such an extent?”
“I like this way of eating.”
Buckwheat is being grown in the continent’s center, but only the Mizuho Dukedom prepares it in a Japanese-styled way of cooking. Elsewhere it’s used for porridge, or turned into pasta and crepes. Given that buckwheat can be even grown on barren land, it’s used as a replacement for wheat and rice. Even in Japan, most of the buckwheat fields are located in regions with conditions that make rice cultivation difficult. 1
“Doushi, you stopped competing with Wilma, haven’t you?”
“Well, I do not see any chance in winning.”
Doushi eats very much as well, but ultimately it’s within common sense…no, it’s not. Wilma has her Hero Syndrome, so no matter how much effort Doushi puts into this, it’ll be impossible for him to win against Wilma when it comes to eating.
“Now is the only time I can call over the soba craftsmen, but we will stock dried noodles and dashi-based broth at our stores, so please feel free to visit us anytime if you wish to enjoy some soba noodles.” Akira casually advertises around the time when all of us had their fill of soba noodles.
In the past I’ve bought these things in Mizuho, but my stock on them has been running low for a while now. As I’ve been pondering whether I should go buy them on-site again, he’s bringing it up at the perfect time. Dried noodles are inferior to freshly-made ones, but they’re easy to prepare and work perfectly as a reserve.
“Since you can make soba noodles everywhere, I might be able to set up a store selling Mizuho-styled soba sooner or later.”
“I guess that would be an option, too.”
If you practice while focusing only on soba making, you can become reasonably skilled within an unexpectedly short period of time.
As udon is fairly delicious as well, I’ll get Akira to make some udon for me next time.
“Lately I went to a restaurant with Delia during a holiday. Over there we ran into a skilled artisan who was making fresh pasta by hand.”
A date as a married couple on their day off, huh? Well, they might look more like two women out shopping than a married couple, but I’m happy to hear that they’re getting along well.
“You mean Loreck’s restaurant, don’t you? The fresh pasta over there is great.”
The noodles eaten the most in the Helmut Kingdom are pasta. Areas with infertile land also have pasta made out of assorted grains or buckwheat. As long as one has the technique to make delicious pasta, they’ll be able to make decent soba as well after a little bit of training.
“We’ve befriended him, and decided together that I’d teach him how to make soba next time.”
“You okay with that?”
Is he really alright with teaching others how to make soba so easily?
The monopoly on techniques is a source of riches in this world as well. So it’s often regarded as a bad idea to teach others for free.
“Soba can also be made in the Helmut Kingdom, but the kombu and katsuobushi, which are needed for the broth, are monopolized by Mizuho.”
I guess him spreading the Mizuho-styled soba will rake in profits for his Fujibayashi Dried Goods as he’s going to sell soy sauce, katsuobushi, and kombu as ingredients for the broth. In other words, he’s going to earn money while receiving a debt of gratitude at the same time.
At this point it’s pretty clear, Akira is really good at business.
“When I suggested pasta with new flavors, he was immediately on board.”
That means Mizuho-styled pasta is going to appear on the menu of Loreck’s restaurant from now on as well. I’m looking forward to it.
It’s probably Akira’s plot to make good money by selling the ingredients, if the pasta over at Loreck’s restaurant becomes popular. I guess you could describe it as a Win-Win relationship.
As expected, Akira’s business sense is much better than mine.
“If it’s noodles, you can also sell them at street stalls or food carts. It will become a great business if you also sell tempura and onigiri at the same time.”
It’s only obvious that Akira has already considered things this far.
“If the demand for noodles rises, I can lower the prices by producing them locally without importing things from Mizuho. It’s also possible to separate the Mizuho-native products as high-class products. By the way, I have a request, Earl Baumeister-sama…”
“I have no problem with listening to it at least.”
Akira is providing me with many delicious foodstuff, after all. A little request…it’s definitely not because Akira is cute or anything like that.
“Currently the food culture is rapidly evolving in the capital, right?”
“So it seems.”
I’ve heard similar from Arterio-san who’s running a business with me, but coupled with the popularization of the Mizuho culture and foodstuff on top of a huge amount of new dishes and spices such as soy sauce, miso, etc, which I have been spreading by speaking so highly of them, a fierce competition seems to have broken out among the restaurants in the capital. The restaurants run by Arterio-san are still doing fine, but you never know what might happen in life.
My company’s president told us in my previous life, 『Times of prosperity are always gates of ruin』, but he actually used that as a reason to not really raise our pay, too, so…
“I’d like to research the restaurants in the capital, too.”
“Oh, market research, you mean?”
Running a restaurant for a long time is hard work. In my previous life it was common for more than 70% of the restaurants to shut down within five years after opening. Even eateries that got sponsored as being overrun with customers on TV went bankrupt in no time, so I guess it’s a fairly tough business.
“I’d like you to take me there with your magic, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
“Sure. I wanted to try going to the capital’s restaurants myself anyway.”
“Thank you very much.”
Hearing my approval, Akira thanks me with a smile blooming all over his face. As usual, his loveliness makes my heart throb a bit. In the end I can’t see him as anything but a beautiful girl.
“It looks like you favor Akira quite a bit, Wend.”
“That way of phrasing it only invites misunderstandings…”
“Are those really misunderstandings though?”
“Isn’t that obvious!?”
Luise looks meaningfully at me as if having seen through my feelings, but I deny her allegations with all I’ve got.
But, the lacking confidence that she might actually be right…obviously doesn’t exist!
Thus it was decided that we’d visit the capital together with Akira.
“Let’s get going then.”
We set the date for heading out to inspect the restaurants in the capital to be several days later. Officially we called the whole endeavor: 『Inspection for the Sake of Improving the Restaurant Industry in the Baumeister Earldom』.
Since I had become an earl, Roderich wouldn’t nod his head when it came to me simply going around various restaurants.
Government officials also go on vacation abroad with taxpayer money in the name of inspections, don’t they? So it should be alright to add some entertainment during such inspections as long as you provide a legit reason for things.
I was busy with the development, but I still finished a tough schedule for this inspection trip. Akira has brought Delia with him since they have just recently married and yet not gone on a honeymoon.
Given that the inspection is scheduled to last three days, they’re apparently planning to visit Delia’s family in the capital.
“Dear, it has been a while so you are looking forward to it, aren’t you?”
As it looks like most of it will be playing around, even though we’re calling it an inspection, I worried a bit about whom I should take with me, but Elise was the very first on my list. As my first wife, Elise has had it a lot tougher than my other wives.
“I really wanted to go together with Haruka too…it’s impossible though.”
The second is Erw as my guard.
“I’ll take care of the food sampling.”
The third was fairly decided through drawing lots, and Wilma’s luck at drawing lots is the best at such times.
“Choosing the clothes is troublesome, but I warmly welcome being able to eat.”
The fourth is Katia who’s unexpectedly lucky at drawing lots, and thus obtained the right to accompany us.
“Me too. My cooking repertoire isn’t overly big, so I might not be of much help.”
“When we partied up at the prep school, I was the one with the best luck among us, but well…at least I barely made it in.”
The last ones who made the roaster are Amalie-san and Luise. This was the entire lineup for the trip.
“I will further the development while you are not here, my dear husband.”
“Lisa, thou sure sound very motivated there. Well, it can’t be helped. I’ll help out with the work as well while following Lisa’s instructions. Next time, take Lisa and me out.”
“Count on it, I’ll definitely make up for it.”
Of those staying back home, Ina, Katharina, and Haruka will take care of the babies, whereas Lisa and Therese will use their magic to do construction work during my absence. That’s because Agnes and the other two, who have become quite at construction work magic as they’ve been using it as means to train their magic, are going to come with us to the capital as well.
“Sensei, thank you very much.”
“I want to see how bro is doing these days.”
“I’m so excited about going on a trip with sensei.”
Because the three have always been doing their best, I must give them a little holiday every once in a while. After all, it’s also their merit that the development of the Baumeister Earldom is proceeding so smoothly.
“Betty, are you worried about your brother?”
“Bro has the tendency to become a bum if I take my eyes off him for a little while. Sometimes I must whip him back into shape.”
She might be saying this or that about him, but Betty is a gentle girl who thinks about her brother. She’s been concerned about making sure that her brother doesn’t go bankrupt.
“He’s got a proper wife, and the repayment of his debts is advancing well, too. I think he probably should be fine.”
“It’d be nice if you’re right…”
“I guess we’re going to make sure of it then…”
“I count on you, sensei.”
Thus our little group headed over to the capital with 『Teleport』.
“You are right on time!”
“Uff, you startled me! Isn’t it great if we’re on time?”
Having transferred to the capital with Teleport, we were scheduled to meet up with Doushi before starting the inspection tour. That’s because he loves commoner food despite being a noble, and regularly eats out.
Given that he’s well-informed about the capital’s restaurant (only the cheap ones though), we asked him to accompany us.
“I want to eat something soon! I have eaten nothing but a single loaf of bread since today morning!”
“I feel like that’s plenty, though…” Erw mumbles under his breath.
All of us except for Doushi and Wilma nod our heads at that.
“Certainly, if it’s only that much, I’d stagger around in no time.”
Of course Wilma is an exception. She eats three loafs of bread every morning after all.
“Since I’ve heard that we’d try food at various restaurants today, I’ve widened my stomach by increasing today’s share of bread to five loaves. Conversely, if I don’t eat breakfast, my stomach movements dull, ultimately resulting in a decrease of the amount I can eat. If that happens, I become hungry and start staggering.”
“Ohhh! I see! So that is how you increase the amount you can eat, huh?”
The conversation between Wilma and Doushi is weird in various ways. Or rather, Wilma is like a big eating master from my previous life.
“Uncle-sama, are you going to introduce us to some restaurants?”
“Half of it is out of fun, but I thought that I would show you some examples how the eating habits of the commoners in the capital and its surrounding areas has actually changed thanks to Earl Baumeister! Follow me!”
Basically Doushi belongs to the kind of people who are hyping cheap but delicious food. Since he has been adventuring in his youth, he likes food like it’s served in eateries and bars in the outskirts. Given that he’s now the family head of a Viscount household and the Royal Head Wizard, he usually eats noble-like food…or not, he doesn’t really look like he does, but he’s careful in his own way.
“Earl Baumeister, hurry up!”
“Actually, one more person is going to accompany us.” I inform Doushi, telling him that we’ll depart after that person arrives.
“Is he late? That person sure cannot read the mood!”
“Really? It’s not yet the appointed time though, Ron-chan.”
“As a person it’s proper to show up five minutes early at the very lea…Candy-dono?”
“Ron-chan, long time no se───e. Oh my, so you remember what I’ve taught you?”
“Of course I do…Earl Baumeister?”
Doushi, I’d like you to spare me the “Why Candy-san” look. Originally it hadn’t been planned for him to join us, but Akira had become his friend, and Candy-san himself asked to come with us as reference for his future business development.
“Candy-san, how are you doing?”
“Oh my, Elise-chan, you’re so beautiful today as well.”
“Elise…you know Candy-dono?”
“Uncle-sama, I had Candy-san coordinate these clothes for me. Candy-san is very skilled at cooking. We have both become friends.”
“You do not say!”
Since Candy-san is kind to women, he befriended all my wives during his short stay in Baulburg. Even among our maids, some are on fairly good terms with him.
Contrary to his appearance, Candy-san excels at communication skills.
“Uncle-sama, is it that surprising?”
“…No, I am not particularly surprised or anything like that…”
I think Doushi is worried that stories from his youth could reach Elise’s ears through Candy-san. After all, it’d damage his dignity as her uncle.
Douchi does have impressiveness, but whether he has dignity at all, stands on another page altogether.
“Time is precious, so let’s go.”
“Yes…let us…” Doushi obediently follows Candy-san’s suggestion.
It looks like he can’t handle Candy-san at all.
“This is a fairly dangerous district, isn’t it?”
Doushi led us into an area of the city that’s inhabited by the poor, or in other words, the slums. Since we stood out like a sore thumb with all of us being nobility, people surrounded us at a distance, staring at us, causing Erw to alertly scan the vicinity. However, just for caution’s sake.
“You’re not wrong about that. But then again, no one would try to extort money or kidnap Doushi-sama.”
“Ultimately, I’m simply making sure.”
Luise and Katia, both excellent adventurers, casually positioned themselves as Elise, Amalie-san, and Delia’s guards. But in the end, it’s just a precautionary step.
I don’t think we need to worry about Delia since Akira is here. Given that he’s strong enough to get acknowledged by Takeomi-san, I’m pretty sure that anyone messing with him would terribly regret it.
“Those missies are super cute.”
“Yeah, I’d have called out to them if not for their company…”
“No kidding, they’re totally different from my ugly wife.”
The slum inhabitants, who are looking at us from a distance, are whispering amongst each other while evaluating the pretty women on our side.
The one garnering the most popularity is Akira, as expected. Because he’s a Mizuho person and very cute, he stands out a lot in the Kingdom, no matter what he does.
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“(Somehow I feel conflicted about it. I’m sure I’m cuter than him)”
“(That’s not a line a mother should say, is it…?)
Erw squeals oddly after receiving an elbow strike from Luise after saying something unnecessary.
“(Even though I’m Akira-san’s wife…)”
“(A wife with a pretty and cute husband, huh…?)”
“(Luise-sama, hearing that assessment doesn’t make me happy at all…)”
“(But, you guys sure are intimate for you to casually call him Akira-san)”
“(Well, we’re married after all)”
Luise and Delia whisper about Akira who draws the most attention from them men.
“Sensei, is it going to be alright? My parents forbade me to enter the slums…”
“My brother told me the same.”
“Saying that I’d be kidnapped and so on.”
“Usually that would be the case. But today you don’t need to worry. Just stay close to me.”
“””Okaaay! I’ll stay close to you, sensei!”””
“You got really cheerful all of a sudden.”
The three girls looked worried after entering the slums for the first time in their lives, but I explained to them that they wouldn’t need to worry today. Once in a while ill-bred folks would steal money from country bumpkins who wander into this district. But, doing something like that with Doushi around would be like signing your own death sentence.
Even in the very unlikely event they succeeded, they might end up on the executioner’s block if they cause damage to the Royal Head Wizard. Thus, because it’d be a high-risk-low-return endeavor, no one blocked our way.
“This is the place.”
“Oh, a restaurant serving entrails dishes?”
“Indeed. Have you already eaten entrails dishes, Delia?”
“Several times. My employees also happened to buy them grilled on a skewer as an afternoon snack. Since there will be leftovers if you filet fish, dishes with leftovers from fish are often served as fishmonger meals, but we’ve also traded them with the entrails dishes of an acquaintance butcher. Therefore I’m familiar with it.”
I see, leftover dishes at a fishmonger are a special privilege only available to the staff working there, huh? Listening to her, it woke the urge in me to eat fish entrails soup. I suppose I’ll ask Akira later to make it for me.
“Welcome, Sir. Today you have a fairly big company with you, don’t you?”
The elderly shopkeeper seems to be surprised to see us, but he talks normally to Doushi. It looks like he’s already gotten used to Doushi as he’s a regular here.
“Serve us the dishes in suitable amounts! Liquor for me, too!”
As it appears to be a period of time with few customers, we sit down around a table located deeper inside the store and wait for the food.
“Entrails dishes, huh?”
“Are you bad with them?”
Around the time when the Baumeister Earldom had been just founded, we often ate at Arnold’s food cart which also serves entrails dishes. The stew and skewers were especially great. Given that he could quickly incorporate soy sauce and miso into his cooking, he’s very popular among the construction workers.
Back then Arnold had started out with a food cart, but nowadays he’s running several bars in Baulburg thanks to all his delicious dishes. Many people, aiming for the special funding provided for the earldom’s development, have immigrated into Baulburg, but Arnold succeeded so magnificently because he chose a different approach.
“Uncle-sama, this is a good restaurant.”
“It doesn’t smell of blood.”
Elise has apparently noticed that this is a great place as well.
When it comes to commoners with low income eating meat, they often rely on the intestines of monsters and animals, which would usually be thrown away. Entrails can be obtained cheaply, but if you don’t cook them well, the dishes will stink.
In slums you will find many restaurants with the bad stench of entrails hanging in the air. It’s because many people eat such dishes while saying they taste good because they’re cheap, even if they might stink.
However, this restaurant has no such bad stench. It’s proof of the cook cooking the food after skillfully processing the entrails.
“Thank you very much for waiting.”
While we’re talking, the owner and his wife carry over the dishes. They have also brought a big mug filled with high-proof distilled liquor.
“Doushi, this tour has nothing to do with alcohol, you know?”
“It is just for cheering up! You do not need to mind it!”
Doushi ignored Erw’s objection as usual.
“Ron-chan, just one mug, okay?”
However, when Candy-san forbids him to get a refill of liquor, he obeys.
“This is delicious. The taste is very gentle.”
“You’re right. It doesn’t smell at all either. Even back home in the sticks we cooked the entrails from hunting in such a way, but they’d always smell a bit, no matter what.”
Elise, and Amalie-san, who had more opportunities to cook ever since she started to live at the Baumeister mansion, seem to like the entrails dishes.
“Plenty of various entrails have been used.”
“Since it’s so delicious, I’ve become even hungrier.”
Katia apparently has found a liking to the dishes of this restaurant as well, and Wilma immediately orders another serving.
“Such a flavor by just using salt and small quantities of herbs is truly amazing.”
“They are improving the taste by putting a lot of time and effort into it.” Doushi explains to me while gulping down his liquor.
It’s not like it’s particularly necessary for him to drink alcohol, but since telling him wouldn’t change anything anyway, everyone lets it pass.
“Haah, I said no.”
Doushi tried to use the general hustle and bustle around the corner as cover to order another mug, but Candy-san prevented him from succeeding.
“Ron-chan, that trick won’t work on me. Just like it hasn’t worked in the past.”
It sounds like Candy-san rebuked Doushi fairly often in the past for drinking too much alcohol.
“Uncle-sama, Candy-san is absolutely right.”
“Ron-chan, you mess up too much when you’re drunk, you know?”
“(Uuhh…a joint attack by Elise and Candy-dono is too much for me…)”
Certainly, I think it might be tough on him as it’s like him having two wives watching his behavior.
Clearing his throat, Doushi explains, “This restaurant is on the slightly more expensive side among the restaurants that sell entrails dishes in this area. But, it is prospering because of the outstandingly good taste.”
As lunch time is gradually getting closer, many customers enter the restaurant. All of them are surprised when they spot us, but they immediately order their food and focus on their own meals.
Since we’re no celebrities and since they can’t call out to us, ask for autographs, or request pictures with them, it might be only natural, though.
“This restaurant is cooking the entrails in huge pots!” Doushi looks in the direction of the kitchen.
Over there steam rises from three big pots.
“Three pots means they won’t have enough if they don’t make three at once?”
“No, they increased the number of pots to three in a hurry.”
Called over by Doushi, the owner brings bowls with additional entrails stew.
Looking closely, I can see that the stews have a different color.
“It’s miso flavor and soy sauce flavor.”
“As a result of having increased the variety of entrails stew, this restaurant has become even more popular! The stews with miso and soy sauce taste are somewhat expensive, but despite that, they are selling well!”
Okay, so on top of the restaurants in the Baumeister Earldom, miso and soy sauce have started to be used as ingredients even in the slums of the capital. In short, all restaurants are competing while using their own means to do so.
“Owner! Bring that out!”
Doushi appears to be a considerably frequent customer. After all, the owner knows what he’s ordered by him just saying ‘that’.
The puts a handheld cooking device run by charcoal, resembling an earthen charcoal brazier, on the table. And then he carries over plates filled with entrails pickled in a seasoning liquid.
“This is yet another slightly expensive dish, but it is very popular.”
Doushi picks up the entrails with experienced movements, places them on the wire meshing, and grills them.
“I’ll help you.”
“Erwin boy, the entrails are separated by miso, soy sauce, and seasoning sauce! You must not mix them together!”
Having turned into a grill master, Doushi keeps roasting the entrails while giving Erw strict instructions.
“If you grill this part of the intestines, excess fat is going to dribble down. The sauce will be heated by the charcoal, causing a fragrant aroma to spread.”
It totally reminds me of the yakiniku places I visited in my previous life. The Baumeister Household occasionally does barbecue parties, but such B-grade-like, grilled entrails seem to be great as well.
“You can put them into your mouth once they are roasted! Awesome! Wash down the remaining salt, miso, and soy sauce taste with liquor while enjoying the taste! It is the very best!”
That’s completely the line of an ordinary, old drunkard, but I agree with him in my mind. It’s a cooking that’s not appropriate for nobility, but it’s still a fact that it tastes wonderful.
“It reminds me of us having grilled meat outdoors during lunchtime.” Elise enjoys the grilled entrails while looking blissful.
But because her conduct clearly shows her upbringing as a noble lady, she feels out of place in this restaurant. However, given that Elise has been adventuring with us, it’s not like she’s completely against this kind of cooking. In her case, she excels at improving cooking like this into something elegant.
Whenever she encounters cooking that doesn’t taste good and only has it being high-class going for it, she sticks to a completely diplomatic attitude.
“This means miso and soy sauce have spread a lot more than expected. Did you develop those ingredients in the past or something, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
“Yeah. In the past I found a book about Mizuho in Breitburg. Information about miso and soy sauce was written there.”
Of course, that’s a big lie. No matter how cute Akira might be, I cannot afford to divulge my true identity. Me having pretended that I experimented as a loner while using an old book as reference has completely played into my cards.
“Though it was quite tough as I tried to produce them with just magic.”
“I think overall it is a nice and decent miso.”
“I’d say it’s normal.”
“Because it’s not limited in its use, it’s actually magnificent instead.”
I think my miso loses out against the Mizuho-native miso on all fronts, but it doesn’t feel bad to be praised by Akira. As expected, the praise of a pretty girl…bah, wrong!
“Let’s just say that it led to miso and soy sauce being mass produced at a considerably good quality.”
“If you keep producing something for many years, the quality will improve as well. However, the history of miso and soy sauce is long in Mizuho. It won’t be simple to catch up with that.”
Even if they export products of average quality, the profit might be rather low due to the long distance, so Mizuho is obviously planning to sell high-class products to the wealthy people of the Kingdom. In reality, the Empire is doing the same, I’ve heard.
“So as you can see, this is the cooking they are doing here! So, let us move on to the next!”
After having eaten most of the menu, Doushi asks the owner for the bill. It looks like he’s going to pay for us here.
All of us have limited our eating to some taste sampling, but with us being a big group, and since we have Wilma with us, it should have added up to a fairly big sum…or I guess not. Unable to get rid of my habit from my previous life, I end up feeling like stuff is expensive if the bill exceeds 10,000 Yen. I suppose I still haven’t escaped a poor man’s mindset.
“It’s going to be a great reference as it was delicious. Akira-san, how are you going to improve on the entrails cooking?”
On the way from the slums to the middle class district, Elise, as someone who likes cooking, chats up Akira who’s good at cooking like her. Elise, who’s still plenty beautiful despite being a mother, and Akira, who’s a Mizuho-styled beauty, would make for a great painting…no wait, Akira is a guy.
“It might be great to carefully and thoroughly cook them together with many other ingredients and soy sauce as base.”
“That sounds great.”
Elise and Akira get excited as they talk about cooking. Still, I really want to eat Akira’s entrails stew as soon as possible.
“Akira, don’t forget to add spring onion and shichimi to the stew.”
“Nothing less of you, Earl Baumeister-sama.”
Getting praised by Akira definitely doesn’t feel bad.
“Sensei, my brother’s business is thriving without him getting too cocky about it.”
“Betty, aren’t you going a bit too far there with the wording?”
“But, look, my brother always immediately gets caught up in the moment…”
“Wend, it just means he’s an unreliable elder brother as usual.”
The restaurant of Betty’s brother I previously gave some fake consulting is flourishing. Rather, I actually feel like there’s more customers now than the last time I was here. Even if you take into account that it’s lunchtime, the number of guests has definitely grown.
“Since they look busy, I think we should call out to him after lunchtime is over.”
“I guess you’re right.”
We wasted some time at another place and then, one hour later, we went to greet Betty’s brother.
“Ohh! What a pleasure to see you, Earl Baumeister-sama! It seems I’ll be able to repay the debt on time.”
“It does look like your business is going quite well.”
“I’ve done my research and put out new menus after all.”
Seeing how he’s hired a new employee, the sales should be doing fine, too.
“But, brother, you always get carried away in no time.”
“Betty, I’m doing my job properly.”
“I see. It sure is difficult to regain trust that has been lost once!”
Betty’s brother ends up slumping his shoulders when hearing the unnecessary comment from Doushi.
“Ron-chan, you caused quite a few issues in the past, experiencing how easy it is to lose trust, didn’t you? Like the one time where you drank yourself silly until morning, went to our client just like that, and barfed all over the place…”
“Candy-dono! I have never done anything like that!”
Hearing that makes me wonder what was wrong with this guy…that’s cutting loose way too much, isn’t it?
“Anyway, all’s fine as long as your business doesn’t deteriorate because you got too cocky…”
“Rosa is with me for this reason…”
He’s being terribly trash talked, but I think that Betty’s brother has a considerable talent in cooking. Since he occasionally tries to proceed with things while lacking a plan, the person restraining him at such times…his wife Rosa…seems to be a great deterrent.
Him being dominated by her allowed his business to go smoothly.
“So you mentioned a new menu?”
“Yes, madam. The lunch is for small profits and quick returns. The main dish is something served on one plate to get our nightly customers to learn the taste. Stew with boiled sinewy meat and entrails is a popular menu item, but I’ve also started serving pasta. Currently it’s in the test phase.”
While explaining things to Elise, Betty’s brother brings pasta he prepared quickly. The noodles are ordinary pasta, and it’s garnished with a tomato sauce and a sauce of cooked sinewy meat and entrails. It’s like an entrails version of spaghetti with a meat sauce.
When I sample it, the taste is balanced and delicious, just as I’ve imagined it to be.
“Also, I’ve been using miso and soy sauce, too.”
What he served next was a pasta dish with minced meat that had been cooked with miso and other ingredients. It’s a dish similar to Chinese zhajiangmian with pasta but without broth. The soy-based sauce also contains onions and mushrooms. I got to say, he’s researched this one well, too.
Him having come up with this by himself means that his cooking skills have definitely gone up.
“It also has a salad to go with it, and together they cost 7 cents. A big serving of noodles increases the prince by 1 cent. It’s also possible to add fried and deep-fried food, as it’s served at night, to it. Each of them increases the price by 1 cent.”
I end up admiring Betty’s brother for having become so good at business.
“Rosa has said that it’d be better to handle it like that.”
“Ah I see…”
Unfortunately, the one with the talent was his wife.
“So, where’s your wife?”
“She’s currently at our new restaurant.”
For them to have opened another place in such a short time…it looks like Rosa-san got a really good business sense.
“Sensei, I can feel relieved because Rosa-san is here.”
I had such a premonition, but it appears that Betty trusts her sister-in-law more than her own brother.
“Betty! I’m doing my best as well!”
Sure enough, tears welled up in her brother’s eyes because of Betty’s treatment.
“Hmm, I see. What comes around goes around. The same applies to past wrongdoings.”
Betty’s brother drops his shoulders once more because of Doushi’s merciless comment, but as Doushi apparently hasn’t been any better in his past, isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? Even so, if I consider that the current Doushi has become a lot more tame that in the past, his youth must…no, let’s not go there.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, we are indebted to you for various things, including the care of my sister-in-law Betty.”
When we head over to their new restaurant after having Betty’s brother tell us where to find it, Rosa-san, who’s acting as the owner over there, greets us very politely. Her shrewdness lets me fully understand that her husband’s success heavily depends on her.
“Rosa-san, I’m sorry for my brother.”
“Recently he’s completely absorbed in his research, so it’s okay.”
“Feel free to put him on a tight leash if does something silly again.”
“Of course, no need to tell me.”
Them having been acquaintances for a while now was another reason why Rosa and Betty got along well. Wife and sister-in-law being intimate because of the brother and husband being such a goof-ball might be a ridiculous twist of fate.
“We’ve heard from him about the new restaurant.”
“This place only sells the noodle dishes my husband has come up with. Though it also has a reasonable variety of side menus.”
Ramen doesn’t exist in this world, but there are all kinds of noodles. It takes time and effort to make soup, but pasta that doesn’t require any broth doesn’t need that much time, and thus can be sold at a quick pace for quick earnings.
In reality, Rosa-san’s restaurant is flourishing as well, although lunchtime is over already.
“We also have half-sized menus for the quick hunger.”
“Huh? That kind of resembles fon…”
“It’s something like an improved fon.”
“Amalie-san, you know about fon?”
Fon is a noodle dish that’s casually eaten by the commoners on this continent. It’s been around for a very, very long time. The noodles, which are thicker than those of pasta, have fried vegetables and salty scrap meat added to them. The amount of noodles is around half of that an ordinary adult would eat. The price is commonly 2 or 3 cents per serving, so many people eat it as a snack when feeling a bit hungry.
“My territory had almost no restaurants, but a restaurant serving fon did exist. Sometimes when my brother had some extra income through hunting, he treated me to fon.”
“Hee, I didn’t know.”
“But, isn’t fon as a dish currently hard pressed?”
“Yes, it is just as you say, madam. Currently many noodle dishes are being developed in the capital. Even the existing restaurants serving fon have been putting out new menus, but there are also cases where fon restaurants go bankrupt after having their customers taken by new stores.”
Fon is a noodle dish with its history going back several thousand years. As a result of many restaurants having rested on their laurels while sticking with their traditional fon cooking, they went bankrupt because they were left behind by the recent new cooking boom. And Rosa-san predicts that this trend is going to continue.
“It’s going to be hard for newcomers like us if we don’t put out new dishes regularly. That’s why I’m pestering my husband to keep coming up with new things. His cooking skills and ability to think of new dishes are high. Though his business skills are rather questionable.”
I guess they’re succeeding because Rosa-san compensates that part.
“Therefore we will pay back the money you lent us as planned.
“Launching a new restaurant and yet paying back your debts on time, you guys sure are amazing.”
Erw also admires Rosa-san’s business ability.
“I suppose fon has gone out of fashion. But, it’s certainly true that I don’t remember having eaten it recently.”
“Since I don’t like it overly much, I don’t feel like going out of my way to eat it.”
As a matter of fact, I share Luise’s opinion. It’s not like I hate fon, but it’s a dish I’d be hard pressed to call a favorite dish of mine.
“I also don’t recall having eaten it most recently.” Wilma adds.
I think Baulburg has no restaurants serving fon, and we didn’t really feel an urge to eat it either. I remember having visited fon restaurants on several occasions on the way back after receiving training from Doushi in the past.
“Earl Baumeister, that restaurant is close-by.”
“Come to think of it, you’re right.”
“I do remember having been in this area of the city.”
Having it pointed out by Doushi, Luise and I remember. An old, well-established fon restaurant, which the three of us frequented, had been in this neighborhood. Doushi had gone for the big eater challenge several times, but he never managed to become the champion…wait?
“I’m the champion.”
Everyone simultaneously looks at Wilma.
Since people capable of winning an eating contest against Doushi are rare, I can fully understand that Wilma is the champion.
“Wilma, you haven’t gone there recently either, have you?”
“I had no time to do so. The restaurants I visited together with you, Wend-sama, were great, too.”
Just like with the previous river fish restaurant, it might be the pattern of her simply having stopped going there because she’s become particular about her food. Luise and I immediately gave up on fon, so Wilma might not have liked it overly much either.
“How about you, Doushi?”
“Hmm, recently there are so many other restaurants I want to eat at, so it has been a while since I last went there!”
“Rosa-san, sorry about asking you about another restaurant, but how are they doing?”
“Umm, since it’s a business where you have to catch a weasel asleep, I actually opened the new restaurant here because I thought we could win.”
Their noodle dishes are a bit more expensive than fon, but they’re delicious, and since they have a big variety of noodle dishes, this restaurant has successfully taken the customers of the old fon restaurant, I guess.
“Wend-sama, let’s go and take a look.”
“You’re right. I think it’ll be a good reference.”
Being urged by Wilma and Akira, we head over to the nearby, old fon restaurant. Once we get there, we can see that it’s completely deserted, despite having thrived with guests in the past.
“Somehow it’s become desolate, hasn’t it? Just as Rosa-san said, it must be about to go bankrupt…”
I hurriedly cover Luise’s mouth as she unconsciously blurted out her opinion. If the people of the restaurant heard her, they’d feel offended.
“Oh!! Isn’t that the champion?”
“Long time no see.”
“It’s really been a long time, hasn’t it?”
Once the restaurant’s owner spots the big eater champion Wilma, he runs up to her. The owner seems to call Wilma champion.
“Doushi, you’re no child, so…”
Having never managed to take the championship, Doushi looks at Wilma with a frustrated expression, just like a kid.
“Oh my, Ron-chan, even though no one could measure up to you in binge eating during your youth, you can’t win against Wilma-chan, huh?”
I see. Doushi’s confidence is based on the fact that no one won against him in eating contests in the past, eh?
“For the champion to have become Earl Baumeister-sama’s wife, how unexpected.”
“Life is unpredictable.”
“It certainly is as you say. Want me to serve you some fon?”
All of us enter the restaurant, but not a single customer can be found inside. It’s a typical noodle dish with small profits and quick returns, but if they don’t have any customers like this, it makes me worry whether their business is going to hold out much longer.
“Thank you for waiting.”
Fon being served right after having been ordered is one of its sales points. I tried to eat it at once, but I immediately remembered that it had such a taste. A taste I had experienced at a time when I was forced to accompany Doushi on his training.
Basically it uses salt as seasoning, and it’s somewhat okay as food, but eating lots of it tires you out. It’s not like the taste gets worse over time, but since it’s not really good when compared to pasta and broth-less noodles that use miso and soy sauce, it’s probably only natural for customers to get bored of it.
“How does it taste?”
“No different from before.”
Wilma is surprisingly fussy about taste, but she asserts that the fon’s taste hasn’t become worse.
“Thank you very much.”
“But, since others have become delicious, I feel like it’s not that good in comparison.”
“Certainly, you could say so…”
The owner has apparently noticed the weakness of fon as well.
“Won’t you serve any new noodle dishes?”
“That’s…I can’t make anything but fon…”
The noodles are made by hand, and his cooking skill isn’t bad either, but the owner has only made fon. Could you describe this as him obstinately protecting tradition, or rather him resting on his laurels due to tradition?
“Wouldn’t it be fine to serve fon with soy sauce and miso flavor?”
Erw’s advice is random and non-serious, but I think this method could work. While keeping the basic dish of fon alive, you add new flavors to it. With this, it won’t thwart tradition and so on either.
“I considered that method as well, but in reality, other restaurants have been doing just that for a while now…”
There exist many restaurants serving fon in the capital, its circumference, and even rural noble territories. They’re making their noodle dishes while using soy sauce and miso which have been gradually spreading from the capital. Even if he imitates them at this point in time, it’ll be seen as a rehashing of an old idea and won’t draw any customers, according to the owner.
“Though it’d be best if you made up your mind as fast as possible.”
“Indeed. Sometimes it is necessary to go all in with business.”
Doushi, who talks about business although he’s never run one himself, and Luise stop eating their fon, and blame the owner for his slow drive to take action.
“I thought that I’d try to come up with an extraordinary, wonderful fon, if I’m going to reform it anyway.”
“Depending on the circumstances, there are times when it is better to go with quick solutions, even if they are not perfect.”
I think Doushi is telling the truth, although he shouldn’t have a clue about business. It’d be nice if he could proceed with the improvements after gathering the attention of customers by simply adding miso and soy sauce flavoring to fon, and buying himself some time with this measure.
Now that the customers have left the restaurant like this, it’s definitely unrealistic to think that they’d come back on droves over some rehashed, old idea. After all, it’d be seen as copying other restaurants.
“At times it is necessary to risk something!”
Although I don’t think that he’s ever run a store, Doushi’s argument is reasonable.
It has apparently struck the owner’s heart as well, seeing how he’s dropped his shoulders in disappointment.
“I can’t make anything other than fon. I know that this restaurant is doomed at this rate, but I can’t quite take the first step. I don’t want this restaurant to go bankrupt either.”
Since the owner looks really down, I feel a pang of guilt, although I haven’t said anything.
“Owner, another bowl!”
“Doushi, please show some remorse.”
Even though he’s the reason for the owner to feel devastated, Doushi orders another serving of fon without a care. Even Erw feels that it’s way too cruel and gives Doushi a warning, and I agree with him.
“But, if no one tells him, this restaurant is going to be closed eventually.”
“No, well…that’s true, but…”
Still, I think there are some nicer ways to put it. Thanks to Doushi, the owner has become needlessly depressed.
“Another serving? Here you go. Next time this restaurant might not be around anymore though…”
As might be expected, Luise and Elise considered Doushi to be heartless and reproached him for his words.
“Ah, but telling others the truth is important. In the past Ron-chan, also…”
“It is, as you say, Candy-dono!”
Doushi had been cautioned about various things in his youth by Candy-dono. Probably because he has finally calmed down nowadays…wait, has he actually calmed down?
“Restaurant will be closed?”
“Right now I’m somehow managing with the savings I put aside so far, but at this rate…”
Once the owner explains to Wilma that it’s just a matter of time for the restaurant to be closed, Wilma’s expression suddenly turns gloomy.
“Champion, please don’t worry since I’ll serve you ten servings for the price of one as I’ve done until now. Ah, but I guess you’ve grown tired of my obsolete, unchanged fon…”
The instant the owner finishes speaking, Wilma clings to me with tears in her eyes.
“He took good care of me when I couldn’t get anything to eat in the past. Wend-sama, save him.”
“Just like previously, you should be able to do something about this. Please, Wend-sama.”
I feel like I’ve already seen this once…no, it’s not a deja vu, but a real occurrence.
Now that Wilma is imploring me like this, I can’t turn her down. But, the eel restaurant issue somehow worked out with just some suitable knowledge input, but the same can’t be said about noodle dishes…
It’d be a drama, if I accept the task and the restaurant goes bankrupt as a result of it.
“How about you take it up, since this restaurant is doomed to fail otherwise anyway?”
“Such an irresponsible…”
Doushi really takes it easy since it’s someone else’s problem.
“Ron-chan being irresponsible in many ways is a fault of his since the past, but Akira-chan and I are here as well.”
“I am not that irresponsible…it is just that Earl Baumeister will be able to somehow handle it.”
“Please, if you can give me a hint, no matter how trivial it might be…”
With me being not only encouraged by Doushi, but also Candy-san, it ended with me relaunching my fake consulting business once more.
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