I think people often don’t really know much about what they are doing.
When you are obsessed, you can’t see your surroundings…
Ughhhh…embarrassing, how embarrassing of me!
No, that…the moment I woke up, I remembered yesterday.
A picnic date. Yes, I think that was undoubtedly a ‘date.’
Well, there are a lot of things I want to dig into to when it comes to a date, but I’ll leave that out.
Oh no, oh no, oh no!
I rolled around on the bed and nearly fell off.
That’s how crazy I was yesterday!
What? What kind of a damsel am I!?
If you asked me to say them again, I’d be agonizing to death in shame!
Just reminiscing makes me jittery already. I can’t stay calm.
What’s most embarrassing is that…After all, I can hardly walk by myself.
In the middle of a crowded city, I was held the whole time.
The only time my feet ever touched the ground was when he put me down for dinner in the park!
I can’t sit quietly every time I remember, so Lilia gives me a suspicious look.
“…Hey, I can’t stay calm when I remembered what happened yesterday…”
Because it’s too embarrassing. “The portable rations aren’t very tasty, but it was a little bit tasty because I’m with His Highness.”—I actually said that with a straight face. Impossible, impossible, Ahhhhhhhhh!!!
“You’re acting very suspicious, Your Highness.”
“…Sorry, I may not be able to make it through the day.”
“I hope you’ll be back tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon is the Queen’s tea party.”
…Somehow, I’ve been extremely tired since this morning.
I don’t know what it is, but I’m so embarrassed that I can’t stay still.
But, but, but I think His Highness’ is always the most embarrassing.
I can’t help but feel embarrassed when I hear him say it again, as if I’m going to break it.
And yet, because he is a prince, His Highness doesn’t feel uncomfortable about it at all. He is an iron wall, so to speak. I’m sure he wouldn’t be embarrassed about it either.
…I was out of sorts yesterday. I’m sure.
“Your highness, what would you like for today’s tea?”
“…I’m going to make a simple galette.
It is becoming a routine for His Royal Highness and I to spend our morning tea time together whenever we can.
I try to bring the tea cakes for those times.
This is part of the feeding operation. I think this is coming along nicely.
To my surprise, His Highness can tell the difference between the sweets I bring and the ones I don’t! Excellent.
It’s not that His Highness is a tastemaker, he just doesn’t care about it.
“Yes. It’s a common food in the South, where Julia is from, right?
“Yes. It’s a snack with jam or something like that, and a light meal with eggs and leftover salted meat from the night before. I loved the galette my mother made for me. We weren’t a wealthy family, so we didn’t have a full-time cook, so when my nanny, who was in charge of most of the house, was absent, she had to cook it herself.”
Julia says that her mother’s specialty is galette.
In the northern part of Dardinia, buckwheat is grown in greater quantities than wheat. But unfortunately, they don’t have a way to eat it like they do in Japan.
Julia says there are many different buckwheat dishes, and there is even something like buckwheat flour, but I’ve never heard of or seen anything close to soba noodles.
That’s why buckwheat noodles are on the top of my list of foods I want to popularize in Dardinia someday.
Steadfastly number one, though, is chocolate! I haven’t seen any shadows or shapes of cocoa yet!
Maybe not quite like Julia’s mom…but I’m going to make a galette that will be a light meal.
Thanks to the many stories Julia told me, I was able to successfully find out that buckwheat is produced in the country, and I was able to get my hands on some buckwheat flour. I don’t know if crepes have already been invented somewhere else, but I plan to make crepes sooner or later.
Why galette instead of crepes this time?…That’s because the galette is less sweet.
“…Are you ready for the fire?”
Miredei laughs, saying it’s perfect.
Fufufufu, there is a newly introduced secret weapon in the work room.
How do you heat a room without a fireplace?…That’s what led to the discovery of this secret weapon.
Here, we use stoves in rooms without fireplaces.
I’ve heard there are some that use oil these days, but charcoal is the mainstream.
There are many shapes and sizes, but the one I have is a cylindrical one. Of course, it’s not a plain mesh stove, as you would find in such a place, but an elegant one, beautifully carved with arabesques. I put the charcoal in this long, thin metal colander and use it.
Naturally, it is hot enough to burn when you touch it. It’s metal.
At first I thought about opening the top of that stove to use it. But then I realized I didn’t have to go through all that trouble.
We have charcoal, so we can use a charcoal grill, or even a shichirin. In historical dramas, they always boil water on a charcoal grill and bake rice cakes on a net. It’s useful enough for small tasks. (***shichirin = small Japanese cooking stove that uses charcoal)
When I tried my best to explain to her if there was such a thing, Alice told me that there was a device used to heat up food at a dinner party with an alcohol lamp.
It was a ‘gas burner’.
The shape and use of the gas burner is similar to that of a shichirin, and it is not very expensive. I heard that there are some households that can’t use a cooking stove to cook food with this one.
“It’s feels just right.”
The coals are making a nice fire.
Place the iron flat on top to warm it up and drop the butter on it.
Roll out the pre-mixed dough thinly. Cook the galette on one side only. I put the ingredients on it and bake it, then fold it into a square shape and eat it with a fork and a knife.
However this time, I made a special effort so that you can eat it by hand, as it is for tea time.
I bake the dough into small pieces and put the filling on top. There are three kinds of ingredients: plain cheese, prosciutto with cheese, and potatoes with cheese.
Just like a normal galette, I fold the dough in half and cover it with the last one. The shape should be such that the filling is wrapped around it. That way, it’s easier to eat.
“Somehow, it doesn’t really look like sweets, does it?”
“That’s the goal.”
“If it works, I’ll tell everyone about it…If it doesn’t work, I’ll be embarrassed.”
This is a stepping stone in getting His Highness to eat a normal breakfast.
If you mix the tea snacks with something that looks like a light meal, sooner or later His Highness might start having breakfast with me at tea time…or maybe he’ll want to have this for breakfast! That’s what it’s all about.
“I’ll put the jar of nectar here, Your Highness.”
“Thank you, Lilia.”
The one with just cheese will be served with nectar.
“…Oh, this one’s a bit torn. Please eat it.”
Any dough that has been torn will be served for everyone to sample.
The boiled potatoes are smashed and seasoned with cream, salt and pepper. The ham and cheese are delicious with the salty taste of the ham and the rich flavor of the cheese.
Maybe it’s because everything here is carefully produced by hand, but each ingredient has a strong flavor.
“…It tastes like cream. It’s very delicious. I love this taste.”
“There’s a little cream in it. If you mash all the potatoes and add milk to taste, you can make a potato potage. I’ll make a recipe for you later.”
Cooking is strange because you can make something different with the exact same ingredients.
I think this is especially true when you’re putting together a recipe.
There are no cookbooks or recipe books here. Cooking tips and seasoning tips and all that kind of stuff are a secret among chefs. I thought it was such an exaggeration…but if there are no recipe books, so that’s probably just as well.
Even though noble ladies basically do not go in the kitchen, they can’t prepare dinner for someone if they know nothing about cooking. Being able to provide their husbands with good food adds high value to the bride.
Princess Alienor, who married five years ago, took two master cooks with her when she got married at the royal court.
Alice and Julia, who are not in a position to marry a cook, say they are going to marry with the recipes I gave them, and when they make something, they put it together in a recipe.
“You are free to use the rest of the dough as you see fit. Don’t forget to ventilate the house. Don’t leave it closed just because it’s cold.”
Charcoal fires can cause carbon monoxide poisoning without ventilation.
“I will accompany you.”
Of course the knights will be escorting me, but Lilia always accompanies me.
While I am having tea with His Highness, she seems to be exchanging all sorts of information with the ladies-in-waiting of the Crown Prince, using the leftover sweets in exchange.
“Your Highness, come to think of it, I heard that Duke Elzevert entered the residence of the royal capital late last night.”
“The Duke? Why?”
“He will be visiting you today, so I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough.”
“What’s going on? Did you hear anything?”
“No, I haven’t been told of any special incidents, and the process is normal, so there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly pressing.”
“Yes…I hope it’s nothing.”
Winter is the time where most nobles spend their time in their domains. During this season, they keep an eye on the internal affairs of their fiefdoms and occasionally spend time chatting with neighboring lords and enjoying hunting and other social activities.
The remaining nobles in the capital are inevitably either ministers or soldiers, and one would think it normal that one of the four dukes would come all the way to the capital in the middle of winter.
“If there’s a problem, there will be more of a fuss about it, and if you’re worried, it would be a good idea to ask His Highness about it.”
His Highness would know everything….or rather, I think he knows.
It was something of a relief to think that.
I’m sure it was blatantly obvious.
“I’m glad to hear that Your Highness seems to be relying on him.”
“Because His Highness wouldn’t do anything to make things worse.”
“Is he trusted?”
It’s not that I know everything about His Highness, but I think he’s a fair man.
What’s strange is that he has such a clear will, but he suddenly becomes ignorant when it comes to himself.
I wonder…something is stuck like this…
It’s not that I don’t seem to understand, or that I’m neglecting myself in any way.
I think it’s rare to find someone who is as perfectly in control of his or her own existence as His Highness is. Control…control, then produce.
Everyone is saying “kind” or “compassionate” because that’s the side of His Highness that is strongly expressed.
We all have different sides, and the side that we show to the public is the side that we are trying to show to the public. Whether or not people see it as you intend, everyone makes an effort to be seen well, right? His Highness’s is the perfect version of that.
Once I figured that out, I wasn’t afraid of His Highness anymore, and as I learned more about him. I also thought I could trust him.
A lot of people who are in control like that are rather narcissistic, but His Highness is not a narcissist. This was quite a surprise to me when I realized this.
Rather, it seems to me that His Highness has very little of the ‘I’ that should be the source of his narcissism.
Is there something special about His Highness?
When I think of myself, for example, I think I’m passionate about baking and cooking because it’s so closely related to my memories from the other world. I don’t want to pretend that I didn’t exist over there, so I stick to it strongly.
I think making sweets and cooking is like part of my identity.
When I thought about whether His Highness had anything like that, I couldn’t think of anything.
I’m not sure if he’s too busy to do that, but he doesn’t seem to have any special hobbies…He has a deep knowledge of painting and music, but doesn’t indulge in them like His Majesty the King.
However, it’s not like he loves his work so much that he can’t do anything about it.
Ah, but he seems quite fond of his brother.
When we saw him last night, he seemed to enjoy it.
His Highness told me that when the second prince was a little boy, he used to terrorize the palace by collecting grasshoppers, cicada shells, and frog eggs.
I was glad that His Highness told me those old stories.
But I wish He’d tell me more about himself…
His Highness talks about his brothers and sister and so on, but he rarely talks about himself.
Alright, let’s get one of His Highness’s old stories out of him today.
I hadn’t yet realized at this time that I was thinking only of His Highness.
“Good morning, Your Highness.”
“Good morning, Luthia.”
His Highness furrows his brow a bit.
I tilted my head lightly.
“No……what is it today?
“It’s a galette.”
“…I might have eaten one at Knoll”
Knoll is the home of the Duke of Alhane, the Duke of the South.
“Oh, they’re sweets from there. I made it more like a light meal than a sweet today. Your Highness, you don’t like sweets so much, do you?”
His Highness nodded with a surprised look on his face as he said,
“…Am I that simple?”
“I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”
I tilted my head. If you say that His Highness is simple, there can only be simple people in the world.
To put it plainly, I think His Highness is a very difficult category….I’m not going to say that though.
“You…seem to know me very well…”
What’s with that?
“I don’t know you that well, but I do know a few things.”
“…Because I’m always watching.”
A natural smile comes to my face.
His Highness is not a very talkative man. But there are many things you can tell if you watch him.
For example, that he is originally left-handed…probably because he uses his fork and knife normally, but sometimes holds it backwards without changing it.
“…I’m certainly not a fan of sweets, but what you make isn’t bad.”
“Actually, I know.”
How does His Highness know what I’ve made? It’s probably the difference in sweetness.
I knew right away that His Highness wasn’t that good at sweet things. I had a funny look on my face at the apple pie at the first tea.
That was definitely quite sweet. And it was full of honey.
So the first cookie I baked for His Highness was modestly sweet.
The custard cream on the next pancake sandwich was also modestly sweetened, with just a hint of alcohol on top. That seemed to be okay, so I didn’t hesitate to use a lot of booze for the next brandy cake, and I also learned that he liked it a lot.
I had done my research properly while making it.
Recently, I also know that His Highness feels comfortable carrying things to his mouth.
“This is also pretty good.”
“Thank you…It’s not hard to find something sweet.”
Oh, the first compliment!
This is the first time I’ve ever been told that to my face. I’m glad.
Is it the joy of being fed? No, I wonder. Either way, I’m glad.
“Do honey and cheese go together?”
“This cheese goes together because it’s creamy and mild, unlike the cheese in the ham or potato ones.”
Cream cheese, basically. I think cream cheese is delicious just by pouring honey or scooping it up with jam. If you don’t have cream cheese, you can also use yogurt. If you drain the yogurt, it becomes very close to a mild cream cheese.
The cheesecake type is pretty much to His Highness’ liking, I think.
“Has His Highness not been much of a sweet tooth since he was little?”
“No…that’s not the case…I ate it reasonably well, though not as much as Shion.
Hmm. After all, I wonder if the tastebuds changed when he grew up.
“I heard that Archbishop Gittice has a sweet tooth. Lilia told me that.”
“Ah…That one said that if you weren’t my princess, he’d ask for your hand in marriage.”
“He liked the sweets that much?”
“Ah. Looks like it.”
His Highness gives a small smile.
“Is something wrong?”
A somewhat satisfied smile…I have no idea where in the current conversation His Highness had a reason to smile.
“Can you give some time after this?”
I don’t have a basic ‘to-do list.’
Basically, it’s like my job is to grow up in a safe place, away from danger.
I am free to study or slack off, depending on my will. Mostly I can be found in my study reading, baking in my workroom, compiling recipes, or going to see the herb garden.
“I have an audience with the Duke of Elzevert. You should be there.”
“Yes…Um, has something happened?”
Yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask him that. That’s what I was gonna ask in the first place.
“No. Nothing special. I heard they have something they want to give you.”
“It means there is something to offer you.”
“That’s right…I always pick it up check it out before it goes to you. It’s okay to receive it with you from time to time. It’s a rare occasion that the Duke himself came to visit you.”
‘Come here.’ He stretched out his hand and meekly took me in his arms as we left the usual living room.
The people we pass in the corridor all stop and bow their heads in a hurry.
I was constantly wondering why they were all looking at us in such astonishment, so I probably had a few circuits in my head blown out.
It wasn’t scary, nor was it forced…I wanted to fiercely ask myself why I didn’t question anything when there was nothing inevitable about being held up in his arms.
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