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Rice and Real Rice

published on 2020-03-30, last updated on 2020-10-28 written by Thai “0xReki” Chung, checked with ProWritingAid

“Well, there are some precautions you can do to make it safer. Watch!”

I take out some Sky Tuna and Sky Salmon. I carefully descale the tuna — I’ve already descaled the salmon several days ago — and cut the fish to workable chunks and put them on a tray. Now I cool them down enough to kill any possible parasites.

“Absolute Zero!”

Like before, the fish is immediately frozen solid. Cloudy smoke flows from the fish to the ground.

“By freezing it fish to a very low temperature, even colder than ice, you can make raw fish food safe for eating as is. It’s so cold it looks like it’s steaming hot. But you should be able to sense it’s cold,” I explain, “there is only one thing: if blue glowing liquid forms, you need to keep it away from fire and sparks… In any case, we leave the fish to slowly thaw for now. Meanwhile, we can prepare the other ingredients.”

“Just like that?” Kat asks.

“Just like that. Though I’m not sure how to explain it so you can properly imagine the temperature needed for that.”

I have had unsatisfactory experiences with cooking too much rice in one single pot before. Usually, the bottom portion is burnt while the central portion is still raw. So in order to avoid that, I cook the rice in two pots. I get the Futo leaves from my Infinite Storage.

“Oh damn, I forgot to preprocess them,” I mumble to myself, “whatever…”

I cut the Futo leaves into strips and arrange them overlapping each other on the table to form a single big sheet. Now I just need to remove the water content.

“Parch!”

I can sense the water in the Futo leaves dissipate. I think I can continue draining the water, but then it might become too brittle to use… Anyway, I cut the big Futo sheet to sheets of usable size. While I was taking care of the Futo leaves, the rice has already finished. I put it on a lower flame to let the aroma develop. The smell of freshly cooked rice fills the kitchen.

“Oh, that smells nice,” Matt enters the kitchen with the others from our party, “I’ve never smelled something like this before.”

“I think this is the smell of cooked rice, Prince Matthew,” Luna answers.

“Rice? I’ve never eaten that.”

“You haven’t? Is rice considered too low-class food?” I ask.

“No, that’s not it,” Matt answers, “it’s just not many people around here know how to properly prepare it. It usually ends up tasteless and odourless. So the palace chefs never bother using it.”

“I’ve never experienced the smell of rice this intensive,” Pat adds, “how did you cook it?”

“How? I simply put it into a pot with water and cook it.”

“And then?”

“And then, nothing…”

“You don’t drain the water?”

“Why would I do that?” I shake my head, “That’d remove all the flavour!”

I’m shocked… Silas and Alexander look into the kitchen.

“But what about impurities in the rice?” Alexander asks. Silas and Alexander are standing in the doorway. It seems like they were listening to our conversation.

“You rinse the rice before putting in the water to cook it,” I answer.

“So I’ve been doing it wrong all the time…” Alexander mumbles. He claps with hands, “I learned something new!”

“Wait… you usually cook it in a lot of water then drain the water?!”

That how you cook dried pasta… And rice definitely isn’t pasta!!

“Yes, that’s how many people cook rice. It’s not exactly a staple food. But it’s cheap, so people use it. Nobody has ever questioned that method before…”

“I see…”

Oh my… what else is going to be different? Maybe their tea is something like herbs that have been brewed in hot water?

I get the pots off the oven and take one of the pots and put in some fruit juice and some vinegar. Rice vinegar would be better, but I’ve no idea how to actually make that. I mix in the contents of the pot thoroughly. After that, I put the pot into the fridge… at least that’s what I planned.

I forgot to make a fridge… I’m getting absentminded… This is very unusual! I’m not much of a scatterbrain. Granted, I was when I was young, I’d lose my head if it wasn’t fixed to the body, but nowadays I’d like to think I’ve got my stuff somewhat sorted… Such much about my to do list… Is my mind turning back to that of a kid as well? Anyway, I need to cool the rice. Using Absolute Zero is probably overkill…

“Kat, can you try to freeze this with the spell I showed you?”

“Sure… So colder than even ice…” Kat answers, “Absolute Zero!”

The pot freezes — I can feel the cold. But it’s not as cold as it would liquefy air.

“Hmm, that’s still too warm… Well, I half expected that. But it’s just what I need.”

“I can’t really imagine how it’s supposed to work…”

“Hmm… I’ll try to think of something to explain… But food comes first!”

I put the pot of frozen rice next to the tray of frozen fish.

“Now I need to wait for those to thaw. I’m sorry it’s taking a while…”

“Don’t worry. I know good food takes a while to make,” Matt answers, “though I can hardly wait.”

After a while, the fish and rice begin to thaw. I get three plates and spread them on the table. I take the fish and cut them to pieces of 3 different sizes. One size, I leave as is. And put them — the Sashimi — them on the first plate. The second size put on a similar-sized portion of rice. I put the resulting sushi on the second plate. The last size I roll in the Futo leaves with rice. I put the resulting the Maki Rolls on the last plate.

“This would be better with some soy sauce but it’s done.”

“Soy sauce? Never heard of that before.”

“Let me think…” I quickly look up the soy sauce in How to Replace Terran Cooking Ingredients with Cratherion Ingredients, “it’s…”

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