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I decided to just completely rely on Wakaba-chan for Valentine’s Day.
We were going to make fondant au chocolat on the day.
Normally I only had Oniisama and Otousama to give chocolates.
I just followed recipes on my own.
Learning from somebody was a completely different experience.
This year, Valentine’s would be in Wakaba-chan’s hands.
Still, this wasn’t anything serious, since it was basically between family.
If I couldn’t make something delicious for Imari-sama then I could just buy him something.
Yukino-kun’s party food was an entirely different story.
For one thing it wasn’t my family doing the eating.
For another it was going to be the Enjou family of all things.
Bringing something weird over was unacceptable.
After some discussion with Akimi-san, we decided to make chirashizushi.
For one thing I could distract them with pretty colours, and for another the vinegar in the sushi rice could ward off any chance of food poisoning.
Yukino-kun’s birthday was on a Saturday this year so Akimi-san could come over in the morning to help with the food.
After that the plan was for me to head straight to the party.
Before that day I had been reading over her recipe every day, and practised making kinshitamago egg strips by myself.
It was burnt.
I couldn’t cut it thinly.
Mmn. I’d leave this part to Akimi-san.
“Kisshouin-san, I’m sorry for my brother’s wilfulness. If it’s too hard to make the food you can just refuse, you know?” Enjou said.
Perhaps he noticed that I was reading cooking books at the salon too.
“It is no trouble. I hope I will not disappoint when I say that I am only bringing something simple. I was only reading the book because I had some interest in it.”
And I was telling the truth.
After all the cooking lessons with Akimi-san and the vegetable cutting practice I did at home, I was really starting to gain an interest in cooking.
The house chef had been throwing the vegetables I used for practice into a blender to make soups and dressings and stuff.
Apparently none of the vegetables I practised with were good for main dishes.
The potage they made from the potato the other day was really good.
I was feeling pretty bad about always getting them to clean up after me so these days I had been looking up recipes I could use them in myself.
Curry was probably the best choice in the end.
Next chance I had, maybe I could try making curry with pre-made curry sauce.
The family cook never used store-bought sauce. All of it was made from scratch.
I did kind of miss the flavour of supermarket curry though.
Like the curry I had at Wakaba-chan’s house.
In my old life, Mum used to blend two different brands together.
It was tastier like that.
Plus, I knew the trick to making it perfect.
You had to add chocolate or yoghurt to it.
…Chocolate or yoghurt though.
Basically anything sweet would do, right?
In that case, what if I added flan?
If I used milk pudding instead, wouldn’t that dissolve easier?
Then again I wasn’t really into the really sweet curries.
In that case maybe I could use spicier curry sauce to balance it out?
It would be nice if I could bring out an original flavour even after using store-bought sauce.
Maybe I could add some miracle fruits.
I decided to ask Akimi-san what she thought.
“Kisshouin-san? Still here with me?”
“Eh? Ah, my apologies. I am listening.”
I was so lost with the thought of curry that I hadn’t noticed what he said.
“I just hope that the cooking won’t trouble you too much. There aren’t even twenty guests, so don’t worry about it too hard.”
Mao-chan and Yuuri-kun would probably be there too.
There was the pressure of her mother’s cooking now.
But I had Akimi-san with me!
She’d make it work somehow, so there was no problem!
On the day, Akimi-san came over in the morning, as promised.
“Gokigen’yoh, Akimi-san. I feel bad taking up your weekend like this.”
“Don’t be. Let’s do our best together.”
The ingredients were already prepared in the kitchen.
All I had to do now was have Akimi-san work her magic.
I thought of having her take a break in the living room first but my family knew about her visit and waited for her at the entrance.
“Welcome, Akimi-san. Thank you for helping my sister today.”
“Apparently Reika has been learning cooking from you,” said Otousama. “My daughter will be in your care, Akimi-san.”
“Please take care of my daughter, Akimi-san,” said Okaasama.
“Apparently the son of the Enjou family requested Reika’s cooking,” continued Otousama.
“After all, all of the Enjou family will be eating this,” continued Okaasama.
“Dad, Mum, just leave it at that,” Oniisama stopped them. “Akimi-san, I’ll send you home, so just let me know when you’re done.”
Since Akimi-san seemed visibly overwhelmed I shooed my family off and then brought her to the kitchen.
Thank goodness for Oniisama.
“What should I do. There’s so much pressure now…”
“Sorry about them, Akimi-san. Originally I wanted to have tea with you in the living room first, but what would you prefer? I have no doubts my family will be waiting there.”
“It’s fine. I’m okay. I want to start as soon as possible. We need time in case we mess up.”
Even though she was so happy just a moment ago, Akimi-san’s expression was all business now.
I mentioned learning cooking from her earlier, but I only recently slipped up about the party.
As soon as they heard that they kicked up a huge fuss and kept trying to convince me to let our cook do it, or to hire some restaurant to make the food instead.
I couldn’t lie to Yukino-kun about it so I refused them each time.
I told them that it would be fine with Akimi-san’s help, but they were still nervous about it.
Especially Okaasama. She was really something else.
She even said that if I brought bad food this time it would affect my prospects of marriage in the future.
I knew it would end up like this so I hadn’t really been planning on telling them.
Then again it affected them too so I couldn’t just keep mum about it.
“Shall we begin then, Reika-san?”
At first we had planned to do equal shares but in the end Akimi-san basically made it herself.
Especially the seasoning. That was all her.
As for what I did, it was mostly fanning the sushi rice with a fan…
But I did beat the eggs, and I put the rice into the bucket too. I also passed her ingredients, moved the utensils out of the way, and made sure to assist her.
I mean, this counted as making it together, right?
The finished chirashizushi went into stacked boxes, and the rest was left for my parents and Oniisama to try first.
They seemed to be worrying about it the whole time after all.
“This is delicious!” exclaimed my mother.
“The Enjou family can eat this without issue!” exclaimed my father.
“It’s delicious, Reika. Thank you, Akimi-san,” Oniisama thanked her.
“Thank you so much, Akimi-san!”
After seeing the exaggerated response, Akimi-san finally seemed to relax.
Since I had the party to get to, I left my seat first while Akimi-san rested in the living room.
I came back after changing and found her chatting amiably with Oniisama.
“Are you ready, Reika? In that case I’ll take you as well while I send Akimi-san home.”
“Please do, Oniisama. I have a lot to carry, so could you help with that?”
“You’re carrying quite a lot already, Reika-san. Are you okay?”
In the end I was bringing quite a bit. We had the chirashizushi too, after all.
“Shall we go?”
Wait for me, Yukino-kun!
Ah-, I forgot to talk to Akimi-san about the curry.