Chapter 24: The Red-headed Young Man
“Chana, shall we make lunch?”
“Yes, what shall we make today?”
“Today I’m going to try [Petite], which I’ve read before in the library…”
TL: Please correct me if I’m wrong.
“You wrap the filling with boiled and mashed potatoes?”
“Yes, I made the stuffing last night.
I’m going to deep fry them in coconut oil.
The filling is made up of finely chopped chicken and vegetables.
They’re sweet and spicy, with herbs and a dash of red pepper.
“It’s for eight people, so 24 pieces, three for each, but I’m thinking about making another 30.
Ethan and Hakim are growing up after all.”
“Growing up… Fufu.
You sound like an adult, Alesia-san.”
She smiles like an angel.
Petite is made of sweet potato dough, covered with something and deep fried.
But I forgot what it was… I’m in trouble.
“Alesia-san, why don’t we crumble the bread and sprinkle it on the surface?”
“Oh! there’s some hard bread that I’m thinking of feeding to the chickens or making into bread gruel.”
We ground the bread into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle.
While Chana fried and baked the petite, I made the petite.
I mix the flour with salt and water and knead it.
“Excuse me, but do you grow nekta on the farm?”
I heard a voice outside the door.
Because Chana, who was frying, couldn’t get away from the fire, I opened the door with my elbow because my hands were sticky.
A young man with red hair stood there.
May I help you?”
“I’m sorry to barge in.
My name is Gil.
I’m looking to buy some nekta from your farm, if you grow any.”
“If it’s Nekta, we have, but I’m busy right now, so could you please wait a moment?”
I showed my sticky hands.
“I apologize for bothering you at lunchtime.”
“No, I’m sorry for my appearance.”
I return to preparing the petite and offer him a seat at the table.
I need to finish it quickly or else the consistency will change.
The young man with red hair looks at us with interest as we work, which makes me uncomfortable.
“Um, would you like some petite?”
“Petite? Is that all right? I thought it looked delicious.”
Be careful, it’s very hot.”
I presented him with a Petite.
He ate it with his fingers while saying “Hot!” but I heard a crunching sound and turned to see him eating it with his mouth wide open, huffing and puffing.
“Delicious! I’ve never had anything like this before.
Is this something called petite?”
“Yes, it is.
I’d only read about it in a library book, but I’d never tried it.
I’m glad you liked it.
If you like, you can have another one.”
“Well, I just can’t resist the petite’s allure.
I’ll have one more.”
Chana and I exchanged laughs and smiles before turning to face the young man.
The young man took a petite as well, looked at us, and laughed.
We finally finished baking a large quantity of petites after a while.
“Thank you for your patience.
I’ll go get some nektas right now.
How many do you require?”
“Ten, I think.
Can’t I choose them myself?”
“I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to enter the farm.”
I talked to my father about that last time, and that’s what we decided.
That’s too bad.
May I please have a glass of water?”
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t notice.”
I’m a little hesitant about giving him our water.
It tastes good and could help with some health issues.
But the young man appears to be in such good health that I doubt he will notice any effect from the water.
“Oh, it’s delicious.
What is this? well water? spring water?”
“No, it’s rainwater that’s been filtered.”
Perhaps it’s because of all the rain we’ve had recently.
But it’s difficult to believe it’s rainwater.”
“Perhaps it’s because we use so much charcoal for filtration—I’m going to get some nekta now.”
I dashed to the nekta tree, put ten of the best ones I could find in a colander, and dashed back home.
The others would return soon, but I was concerned about leaving Chana alone with a stranger.
But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
They were laughing and chatting happily.
“Thank you for your patience; here you go!”
“Thank you very much.
How much is it?”
“Ten large copper coins for five.”
“It’s rather cheap, isn’t it?
“We sell our nekta at the market to Ben-san and his wife’s fruit store, so please look after them.”
“Ah, I see.
Thank you very much.
The petites were delicious.”
The young man with red hair greeted me politely and then exited.
He was riding a very fine horse when I went out to see him off.
He dressed like a commoner, but he had to be wealthy.
Soon everyone returned for lunch, and the petites were a big hit.
“I had no idea you could look up food in the library.”
“Oto-san, if there’s anything you want to look into, please let me know.
I’ll look into it.”
“Haha,I’d like you to check out the delicious foods again.”
“Leave it to me!”
Peaceful, joyful, happy times.
The rain causes crops to grow, mulberry trees to grow, and Isabelle-san to use the silk cloth Chana weaves.
The rain that I send down is being used to help others.
Every day, I go to bed thinking how fortunate I am to have been born.
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