A few days later, my temperature finally drops to normal levels. My appetite has also returned. Just in time, I have to say. Only eating soup all the time has been wearing me down a little. I also feel guilty for having the neighbours provide us food.
Eir and Mittens both told me to take it easy for a day or two. So I decided to visit the neighbours that have been making us food to thank them.
“You’ve been treating us all with hunting boars, so don’t mention it.”
“It’s widely known Rowan can’t cook.”
“That’s life in a village: in times of need, we just help each other.”
I’m on my way back to my house, when I run into Bob.
“Hello,” he says, “I see you’re back to health.”
“Eir says I should take it easy for a few days.”
“I know, I just wanted to drop by to give you this,” he hands me a bag. There’s at least two rabbits of meat in it.
“That’s too much!”
“With those glasses you gave to Dohal, we have been able to hunt a lot than before. Make something nice from it, I’m sure you want something you can bite into by now.”
“You’re right, thanks. I hope you aren’t overhunting.”
“There’s no need to worry about that. There are phases when we hunt so many of them we don’t see them for one or two weeks. But each time they suddenly reappear as if nothing has happened.”
“That’s interesting. Also, it’s reassuring to hear that. But then, I don’t get why the ice house is such a big deal. It doesn’t look like you have problems getting meat in winter.”
“Compared to other places that might seem like that, but people around here eat quite a lot of meat. We do eat less meat in winter, usually that is. Granted, since you arrived here, we’ve been getting so much meat like we do the rest of the year.”
After arriving at home, I take the meat and put it through the meat grinder. Nell conveniently left a spare one at our place. He seems quite happy to be able to teach me his cooking. Let’s try to make some meat pie.
“Do you want the recipe?” Mittens asks.
“No, I don’t,” I answer, “I want to know how good my skills currently are.”
I season and fry the minced meat with onions. Then, I mix some flour with water to a thick dough paste and put on a pie plate. After that, I add the minced meat on the plate. I put some more dough on top and put the plate into the oven. After an hour, I take the plate out of the oven and put it on the table to let it cool.
I hear the main door opening. Nell and Rowan enter the kitchen shortly after.
“Hey, you’re up!” Nell greets me, “and already making something.”
“Hi, I just finished. I made this from what I know from eating it. So it’s still an experiment.”
I get a knife and some forks and plates and cut the meat pie and put them on the plates.
“That’s new! What is this?” Rowan asks.
“It’s Meat Pie,” I answer.
We eat. It’s actually quite close to what I’ve eaten before.
“Not bad,” Nell says.
“Yes, I think so too,” I answer, “I wished the crust wasn’t so soggy. At this point, I don’t even think you can call it a crust.”
“Hmm,” Nell seems to be thinking, “maybe using Pochefs could help.”
“Pochefs?” I ask.
“It’s a root vegetable,” Rowan answers, “people in this country rarely use them. It’s said they are poisonous.”
“It’s just people in this country don’t know how to properly process them,” Nell adds.
“That sounds like potatoes,” Mittens says, “adding a new word to the dictionary…”
“As much I want to show you how to use potatoes, mine have all been exposed to the cold, so they can’t be used. They’ll be sprouting soon.”
“Then just for reference, what how would you use it?”
“Peel it and remove all the purple stuff. Cube it, then mash it and compact it to form a crust.”
“So it’s just a dough made from potatoes, what’s so different about that?”
“It’s able to absorb more without turning soggy. You might still want to make it a bit thicker.”
“I see. I’ll keep it in mind when I get my hands on some potatoes. So there are potatoes on, I mean, in this country…”
Upps, I forgot I shouldn’t be saying “on this planet”. I should also prepare some oil for deep-frying. I mean fries are just deep fried cut potatoes, it shouldn’t be that hard?
“It seems you have some more things you plan on cooking when you get some potatoes,” Rowan says.
“How do you know?” I ask.
“Uncle Nell makes the same face when he thinks of things he could cook.”
“Well, the hard part is getting potatoes. Making all that stuff will have to wait until then.”
“We could go buy some. From what I can tell, it’s not that much of a problem with the speed of the shuttle.”
“I’ll just ask grandma for permission. I’m not sure if she will agree though…”
“Say, Aster, how many people can you take with you?” Nell asks.
“According to the specifications, it’s designed for four people,” I answer.
“Can you prepare for two people aside from you and Rowan? Rowan, you come with me. With this, she won’t be able to deny the trip.”
Nell drags Rowan along and leaves the house.