Around noon, Nell drops by. Along with other stuff he has with him, he brought a big metal tool. He shows us a dead rabbit.
“This was just brought in, how about we make some Mett for lunch?”
“Mett?” I ask.
“Yes, I’m sure you’ll like it, Aster,” Rowan says.
The three of us move to the kitchen. Nell puts the items he brought with him on the table. I eye the big metal tool. It is a big cylinder lying on it’s side, with legs that stabilize the cylinder. Leading into it, it has a funnel on the top and crank on one end of the cylinder. Opposite to the crank there are holes.
“This is a meat grinder,” Nell explains, “you mention minced meat, so I assumed you already knew about this tool…”
Nell cuts Hau Onions and puts them into a bowl. He then cuts the rabbit meat into stripes and puts them into the funnel of the grinder. There is one pieces he eyes more thoroughly and discards instead. While the meat is put into the tool, Rowan turns the crank of the tool. After a few turns, the minced meat is pushed through the holes and falls into another bowl. As soon as he’s done with cutting the meat, Nell cuts the buns he brought into halves. After Rowan is done with grinding the meat, Nell adds the onions and spices to it and mixes it. Then, he puts some minced meat onto the buns. He hands me a bun and says: “Here you are!”
So there’s a meal with raw meat! I take a bite. It tastes… different. The meat taste is not as strong as yesterday’s fried meat, and the onion taste is much stronger. Compared to the food from the replicator, it still tastes stronger to me. But this has a flavour in it that the fried meat didn’t have, it’s light flavour yet very distinct. Nell and Rowan eat their buns as well.
“The rules of how to prepare and eat minced meat are really strict: the meat has to be as fresh a possible. Any piece of meat that has something of a different colour in it has to be discarded. Minced meat spoils faster than uncut meat, so it has to be cooked or eaten within one hour of producing it.”
“I see,” I answer.
“So it’s about meat spoiling?” Rowan asks, “I’ve been wondering why you only make it in winter or spring.”
“Spoiled meat is no joke! You can die from eating it!”
“What could happen?” I ask.
“I have never witnessed it, but from I’ve learned, that person experienced days of non-stop diarrhea and vomiting. They couldn’t eat or drink for days, so they died.”
Rowan gulps, “that’s a terrible way to die…”
With modern medicine, stopping those symptoms should be a simple thing. If you can’t stop those because the patient has an adverse reaction to the medicine, there’s still the option of nourishing them with intravenous infusions. Should I have Mittens prepare some medicine? No, that wouldn’t be of any use if I were to fall terribly ill. To the uninitiated, all medicine looks the same.
“Spoiled meat isn’t the only danger,” Nell continues, “I have discarded a piece of meat.” He takes it and shows it to us. In the red meat, there’s something that looks like a yellow grain.
“I’ve been taught to discard those when making Mett. Not removing it could curse the people that eat it.”
“A curse?” Rowan asks.
“People afflicted with the curse suddenly eat a lot more, yet they still seem to starve,” Nell answers.
“It’s probably a parasite,” Mittens adds.
“This is probably a parasite egg,” I explain, “eating this would make the egg hatch in your stomach and the parasite would eat close everything you eat.”
“That would explain a lot…” Nell says, “could you get it out of person?”
“It’s more like administering poison and hoping you survive while the parasite dies or flees. Thus, prevention is better than having to treat it.”
“That treatment doesn’t sound very pleasant,” Nell answers.
“Can you really call poison a treatment?” Rowan asks.
“From what I have learned the difference between poison and medicine is just the question if it’s beneficial to you,” I explain, “enough of that, shouldn’t we be cooking the remaining minced meat?”
“You’re right,” Nell takes a pan and puts some oil into it and puts it on the stove. He forms meat into a patty and puts it into the heated pan. The meat sizzles in the hot oil.
“It definitely smells like Hamburger,” I state, “how did you know I meant this?”
“There only so much you can do with minced meat,” Nell answers, “the only question will be if the consistency is right. If it ends up wrong, I need to use different meat, or I need to add some bread to it.”
To demonstrate, he puts some breadcrumbs and herbs to the remainder of the minced meat, kneads it to mix. He then forms it into a thinker patty. After putting the new patty into the pan, he flips the thin patty. The sizzling that has quieted a little picks up again. After several minutes, Nell takes the thin patty out and puts it into a bun. He cuts the bun into quarters and gives me and Rowan one each to taste.
“This is just like the hamburger from the replicator,” Rowan says.
“I agree,” I answer, “at least in the consistency, it’s just as the one from the replicator.” Just as I expected, the taste is so much stronger!
Nell flips the thick patty. After a few minutes, he puts that patty on a plate and cuts it and gives it to us to taste. The texture is different. It’s more like the meatballs that you tend to get with other dishes.
“I think we call this a meatball. It goes well with pasta.”
“Pasta? What’s that?” Nell asks.
“You take flour and water and form it, then boil it,” I answer, “there are some variants in the dough and form, too.”
“That sounds interesting. We could try making it next time.”
“I shouldn’t be using the replicator too much, but I can try to provide you a sample next time too.”
“That’d be great. I’ve been wondering: is there a particular reason, you’ve only told me and Rowan about the replicator?”
“The gist of it, I’ll eventually have to be able to live without it. I’d like to be able to rely on it for emergencies for as long as possible. It would be a waste to break it by overusing for things I can get through other means.”
“I see,” Nell answers, “that said, I still have another rabbit with me. How about we make all of that to Hamburger?”
🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒 🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒 🙐 🙑 🙓 🙒
After eating the Hamburger, I get the bottle of “It is Green” along with some cups. I fill three cups.
“It’s a strong drink. You might want to water it.”
“Cheers!” we toast.
I take a sip. It’s as strong as I expected it to be, but it’s not too much. I can drink this as it. Among the bitter taste of alcohol, I can taste the sweet taste of peppermint.
“This is certainly different,” Nell says.
“The taste of Mitia is quite pleasant.”
“It’s a summer herb. It grows in spring and can be harvested throughout summer.”
“If have could get our hands on it, we can try making it.”
“It’s a liquor, I just need some stronger alcohol and sugar for that. It’d be better if the base alcohol didn’t have any taste or had a taste that complements the taste of Mitia.”
“I see, I guess we still have time before that.”
Before long, the bottle is empty.
“It was good while it lasted…” Nell seems disappointed.
“By the time we come back from our pilgrimage, we might have more,” Rowan states, “isn’t that right?”
“I’ll definitely try to make some.”
“Thanks,” Nell answers, “I should be going. See you tomorrow!”