Volume 9 Chapter 5 Shirogane Aqua, Everyday Meal
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Right now, I’m in a dressing room at a certain location in Tokyo. I’ll appear as a special guest on the 65th anniversary broadcast of the national broadcasting’s long-running show, “Everyday Meals”.
”Today is a live broadcast, are you okay?”
”Oh, yes… I think there’s no problem.”
Kirika-san is accompanying me for today’s shoot. Hmm, what was that confession the other day? For now, Kirika-san is just like her usual self.
Well, she’s working, so it’s natural considering Kirika-san’s personality. Somehow, I feel like Kirika-san separates her work and private life.
”Nee-san, long time no see!”
As usual, Morikawa-san will be the host for today. Morikawa-san, who came to us, puts her hands on her open knees and bows her head.
It’s exactly the same as the scene where the lower-ranking members in V-cinema or similar games bow their heads to the boss. Won’t Kirika-san get angry about that?
”Ouch, what are you doing, Nee-san?”
Kirika-san lightly taps Morikawa-san’s head with her hand. Although there’s no strength in it, Morikawa-san rubs her head as if it hurts.
”Seriously, always fooling around. Well, I’ll leave it to you, Kaede-san.”
”Yes! Please leave it to me as if I’m on a sinking ship!”
”That’s why, Morikawa-san, you’ll sink like that.”
I feel like I’ve had this kind of exchange somewhere before. Is it just my imagination?
”Aqua-kun, nice to meet you today too!”
”Likewise, I feel like I can relax today with Morikawa-san.”
I shake hands lightly with Morikawa-san.
”Well, it seems like it’s about time, shall we get ready?”
We stand in our designated positions and wait while chatting lightly. After a while, the staff in front of us start the countdown, so we stop talking and focus. The lamp in front of us lights up, and the broadcast finally begins.
”Good evening, everyone. It’s time for today’s Everyday Meals.”
Morikawa-san, who was next to me, bows politely towards the camera. It’s amazing how she can switch so smoothly after fooling around just now.
”This time, as this program has reached its 65th anniversary since it started, I hope we can deliver a special episode to the viewers along with our wonderful special guest.”
I applaud along with the staff. 65 years, it’s almost the same as Grandmother Mary. By the way, Grandmother will be 66 years old this year.
”Now, I would like to introduce today’s special guest. The popular idol of the moment, Shirogane Aqua-san!”
”Good evening, everyone watching on TV. I’m Shirogane Aqua. Let’s have fun cooking together today!”
I also bow politely towards the camera. Everyday Meals is usually broadcasted at noon and replayed at night. However, this time, instead of a replay, a special edition will be broadcasted due to the commemorative anniversary. I’m genuinely happy to be able to appear on such a special episode. Moreover, I used to watch this show even in my past life, so I’m a bit nervous today. Originally, it’s a cooking show where professional chefs come out and cook, so is it really okay for an amateur like me?
”Now, let’s talk about today’s theme. Today’s theme is making sweets, huh? Wait, is that it?”
Morikawa-san tilts her head with a question mark floating above it. Indeed, normally, it should be something more specific like making muffins or pound cake. It’s quite vague to only specify making sweets.
”Does this mean we can make any sweets we like?”
”It seems so.”
It’s written like that on the cue card in front of us.
”What should we do?”
”What should we do?”
Morikawa-san and I look at each other and tilt our heads.
”Morikawa-san, is there anything you want to eat?”
”Huh? Well, if Aqua-kun makes it, I’ll be happy with anything. Hehe…”
I somehow feel like Morikawa-san doesn’t have any likes or dislikes. Even when we come to the cafe, she always eat the food deliciously, and she seems like the type of person who would want to make food for others.
”I see… that sounds good. Since we have prepared a lot of different ingredients, how about making a gingerbread house for the one-hour special?”
”Oh, that’s a great idea! A gingerbread house! Ahh, it’s been my dream since I was a child!”
Looking at the table in front of me, there are plenty of ingredients for making sweets. Of course, the staffs provided all these ingredients. With so many options, it would be nice to make various kinds of sweets.
”Alright then, let’s start with cookies. Will you help me, Morikawa-san?”
”…This feels like a newlywed couple.”
”Hm? Did you say something?”
”Oh, no, it’s nothing. Yes! Let’s do our best together!!”
I open the bag of thawed frozen cookie dough and take out the contents. This is really convenient. I can make Sunlight’s cookies at home too. I use a rolling pin to roll it out thinly, considering the size of the walls for the gingerbread house, and cut it with a knife. Then I knead the leftover dough again and roll it out thinly with the rolling pin.
”Now, let’s use this mold to make various cookies. Here, Morikawa-san.”
”I-I wonder if I can do it?”
”Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Even if you make a mistake, you can knead it again and start over.”
Morikawa-san almost made a mistake at first, but she smoothly use the mold to cut out the cookie dough.
”Okay, you’re doing well.”
Well, there’s no way to fail just by cutting out cookies, but I don’t mind.
”Now, let’s bake the cookies.”
I place the cut cookie dough on a baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes.
”Now, let’s prepare for making chocolate while we wait.”
I finely chop Morikawa-san’s signature milk chocolate with a knife and put it in a bowl.
”Then, let’s make dark and white chocolate along with the milk chocolate, Morikawa-san.”
”Alright, I’ll do my best!”
While I’m chopping the dark chocolate, Morikawa-san is chopping the white chocolate. The staff told me not to worry because Morikawa-san doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to work, but I still feel a bit anxious.
As expected, I was a little nervous watching Morikawa-san’s clumsy knife skills, but we managed to finish without any injuries.
”Now, we need to melt the chocolate. But before that, let’s check on the cookies.”
”Oh, they’re starting to brown.”
Yeah, just a little more, I think.
”Just a little more. Let’s wait a bit.”
I look at Morikawa-san again. Today, Morikawa-san is wearing an ivory apron with black piping. The big black front ribbon and the big ribbon tied at the back of the neck, matching the piping, are adorable.
Actually, Kanon also has the same apron in a different color. I thought they bought matching aprons, and it made me feel really happy.
”By the way, Morikawa-san, your apron is really cute today.”
”Hwehh!? Ah… I see, it’s because it’s the same as Kanon-san’s. Hehe, actually, the four of us bought matching aprons in different colors.”
Four people!? D…Does that mean Kirika-san is also wearing this cute apron?
”Is that true? I can’t believe that a cool and stylish adult woman like Kirika-san is wearing such a cute apron in private… Ah, even though we’re in the middle of filming, I almost lost my balance from the shock——”
”——Oh, it looks like the cookies are ready to be baked.”
Tsk! Just as I was about to ask for more details, the cookies is done. I take out the baked cookies from the oven and let them cool.
”They have a nice golden color. Now, while these cool down, let’s temper the chocolate. I’ll show you an example first. We’ll start with white chocolate.”
After warming and melting the white chocolate in a double boiler, we cool it down in ice water and then warm it again in the double boiler to make the chocolate smoother.
This step is the most difficult when making chocolate. We need to measure the temperature accurately and work precisely.
”Alright, now let’s fill this into a piping bag… and yes, let’s stick the walls of the cookies together.”
First, I demonstrate how to use chocolate to attach two walls together.
”Morikawa-san, would you like to try it too?”
”Oh, um, can I do it? I’ll do my best.”
Morikawa-san follows the same process and uses chocolate to create the walls. It’s slightly uneven, but considering it’s her first time, it’s well done, and the slight imperfections add a homemade and cute touch.
”Now, let’s stand these walls up and put the roof on top.”
I take out some wafers and use melted chocolate to attach them to the walls. Yes, now the basic shape of the house is complete.
”Since we’re at it, let’s decorate it a bit. Morikawa-san, please use this chocolate bar as a door.”
”Oh, what if I mess up?”
”Don’t worry. Even if you make a mistake, it’s okay. That’s also part of cooking.”
”Okay, understood, Sensei. I’ll do my best!”
Using the piping bag, I skillfully draw wavy lines on the roof. With just this, the wafer roof starts to look more realistic.
”Aqua-kun… It’s strange that it doesn’t turn out weird when it comes to cooking… I mean, pftt, your drawings are disastrous…”
”Huh? Did you say something?”
”Oh, no, it’s nothing. Ah, um, more importantly, Sensei, it’s done!”
Yes, it definitely looks more realistic with the door attached.
”That looks great. Now, let’s use the remaining chocolate to decorate the cookies we molded. Meanwhile, let’s temper the dark chocolate and milk chocolate.”
”I wonder if I can do it well. Ah, oops… Oh no! It’s okay, I can still recover… I hope.”
I wonder if it’s alright. Well, even if the decorations turn out a bit strange, it shouldn’t be a problem. We focus on what we need to do.
”Just like before, we’ll temper the chocolate, but be careful because the temperature varies depending on the type of chocolate.”
Just like before, we measure the temperature accurately and make the chocolate smooth.
”Now, let’s coat the Sunlight soft cake, long potato, marshmallow, and cut oranges with the melted milk chocolate.”
We dip the sweets into the bowl of melted milk chocolate and coat them. While they cool and harden, we also temper the dark chocolate. Once the dark chocolate is cooled to the right temperature, we use a palette knife to spread it on the pre-cut cellophane sheets.
”What are you doing?”
It seems that Morikawa-san, who finished decorating, came over to see what I’m doing.
”It’s a secret.”
”Huh? Are you planning something outrageous?”
”It’s just your imagination.”
I wait for the chocolate to slightly harden, then I roll it up with the cellophane sheet still attached, creating a loop by sticking the ends together. I make a few of these and put them in the refrigerator. This should be good. Some of the sheets are left as they are, without sticking the ends together, for the next step.
”Now, let’s move on to sticking this part.”
I wrap the sheet in a cross shape like a ribbon around the candy house. I’ll put it diagonally so it doesn’t overlap the door… Yeah, this should be fine. Let it set like this for now.
In the meantime, should I check on the decorations Morikawa-san made?
”You did a great job. It’s amazing for your first time!”
”Hehe, thank you.”
I and Morikawa-san decorate the chocolates I coated earlier and the cookies she decorated with chocolate.
”Don’t you think this one looks better?”
”Oh, you’re right. Then let’s do it like this.”
”Yeah, that’s good. Let’s add this too.”
”Um, in that case, should we do it like this?”
We temper the leftover milk chocolate and dark chocolate again, put them in piping bags, and coat them together. The candy house is mostly complete now.
I temporarily remove the roof and start filling it with store-bought candies.
At times like this, it looks better when you skillfully scatter candies, etc.
”Hey, is there a point in putting candies inside the house?”
”Hehehe, that’s a secret for later.”
”What? I’m curious!”
”Haha, you’ll find out soon.”
For the final touch, I take out the chocolate rings that were chilled and hardened in the refrigerator.
I peel off the cellophane sheet from the rings and do the same for the chocolate attached to the roof of the candy house.
”Then let’s attach this ring to the roof.”
I attach chocolate to the tip of the ring and carefully stick them one by one.
”Wow, this is like a ribbon. The house looks like a gift box, it’s cute!! Oh! That’s why there are candies inside the house!”
”Yes, that’s right.”
”Wow, kids will definitely love this!”
Phew… I was a little nervous for the final touch.
Alright! Is it complete now?
”Yes, with this, it’s complete.”
We applaud together, celebrating the completion.
”Aqua-kun, how was the experience of making it?”
”Well, let me think. Personally, I think I did a good job, but I realized once again how amazing professionals are. It takes a lot of time and effort, and tasks like tempering and using cellophane require a lot of attention. Although it went well this time, I think it could have easily gone wrong.”
If you have actually cooked, you would understand that even something as simple as scrambled eggs is incredibly complex.
There is a high level of skill required to calculate the balance of flavors, texture, and cooking time to consistently produce the same quality. Unlike home cooking, where you can say “today it’s a bit salty, today it’s a bit sweet,” that is not allowed.
Even in this chocolate work, factors such as room temperature and humidity come into play, so it requires a lot of effort to manage those aspects.
”Even though we used store-bought items for things like sponge cake and cookie dough, it was a great help. Some people might prefer to make everything from scratch, but using what’s available is also fine. It’s not at all a shortcut. In fact, it’s amazing that you can buy products of this quality at places like supermarkets and convenience stores.
I’ve also had some sweets at Stars, and they were all delicious, but I realized once again that the confectionery industry in this country can truly be proud on a global level. The quality is really high.”
To be honest, unless you really love cooking, making food every day without it being your job can be exhausting.
In that sense, not just with sweets, I think the food industry in this country is truly excellent.
Because frozen foods and instant foods are also delicious.
Moreover, they are made in a way that you won’t get tired of eating them even if you have them quite frequently.
That’s really amazing.
”How about you, Morikawa-san?”
”Well, I also tried it and found it to be very difficult. I only helped a little, but I was constantly thinking about not making any mistakes… Look, my hands are sweaty.”
”Indeed, but because you worked so hard, look, please. A lovely house has been completed.”
”Yes, I’m really happy for some reason.”
I like cooking, but one of the reasons I like it is the sense of accomplishment. It’s also a good way to reset my mind and organize my thoughts when I cook or do housework.
”Well then, since we’ve worked so hard, shall we eat?”
”Uh… it seems like a waste…”
”Haha, I understand. But you see, Morikawa-san, cooking is not complete until you eat it. Even though we worked hard together to make it, it’s pitiful if we don’t eat this baby.”
”We made it together… this baby…”
Hmm? Morikawa-san, your face is red, are you okay?
I worry and peer into Morikawa-san’s face.
”Oh, no… yes! Let’s eat!!”
Morikawa-san, who suddenly became energetic, takes the decorated cookies in her hand.
”Well then, since we’ve worked so hard, I might as well eat the cookies that Morikawa-san decorated for me.”
Like Morikawa-san, I take a cookie decorated with white chocolate in my hand.
I prefer Mary Biscuits, but Sunlight Cookies are also delicious.
”Yes, thanks to Morikawa-san’s decoration, it feels more homemade and has a simple taste.”
Morikawa-san must have really enjoyed it, as she takes another bite of the cookie.
Seeing Morikawa-san enjoying the cookie, I feel warm inside.
If this wasn’t a recording, I would want to pat her head and encourage her to eat more.
”The other sweets are delicious too.”
”Yes! Ah! This ribbon chocolate is thin and delicious!!”
We eat the sweets while sharing our thoughts.
”Oh… it seems like it’s about time.”
”Oh, is it already that time?”
Especially when it’s a fun time, it feels even faster.
”Well then, Shirogane Aqua-san, could you give a message to the viewers?”
”Yes. Um… to everyone watching the show, thank you for watching today. Making a candy house is hard, but I think it would be really fun to make it with a friend. Please try making your own candy house too! Well then, let’s meet again… oh, sorry. I won’t be appearing next time.”
”No, please appear every day from now on. I’ll suggest to my boss to make good use of the subscription fees we received from everyone. It’s the national broadcasting thanks to the citizens.”
Unlike before, Morikawa-san has a determined look on her face.
”Haha, it might be impossible to appear every day. Besides, I’m a fan of Doi-sensei, so it’s sad if I can’t see her.”
”I’ll definitely tell Sensei that later. Let’s collaborate with Sensei too.”
”Then, shall I make salt onigiri together with Sensei?”
Morikawa-san’s expression becomes stern.
I’m surprised by her serious expression, which is unlike her usual self.
”Are you trying to kill someone? Do you want to turn the studio into a crime scene?”
”Huh? Can someone die from onigiri?”
”They can! Oh, right! I have to finish. Um, um, everyone in front of the TV, how was today’s meal? This show has been loved for 65 years, thanks to everyone. And we hope for your continued support! Um, um, finally, today’s guest was Shirogane Aqua!! Well then, everyone, let’s meet again tomorrow! Oh… I won’t be appearing tomorrow either…”
And that’s where the broadcast ended.
”Haha, Morikawa-san, that’s cheating, it’s cut off at the end, isn’t it?”
”Ugh! It’s because Aqua-kun said something weird!”
”Huh!? Is it my fault?”
”Yeah. Because, look, everyone is nodding.”
Ah… That’s true. Everyone is nodding with a wry smile.
Did I say something strange?
”I also want to eat Aqua-kun’s salt onigiri, and Nee-san, you also want to eat salt onigiri, right?”
”Yes, that’s right.”
”Well then, how about the two of you come to my house next time? I’ll make it.”
”Thank you, Aqua-san.”
Morikawa-san jumps up and high-fives Kirika-san as usual.
So, it’s been decided that we’ll have a home-cooked meal together.
I think it’ll be fine, but I should contact Kanon and Pegonia-san just in case.
Since we’re at it, I should invite Emily-san too. I get worried if she’s eating or not…
Actually, I want Emily-san to come to our house regularly.
This time, she has some money from the MV we filmed a while ago, so it should be okay, but I have a bad feeling about it.
Well, I don’t think she has used it all up, and I hope she’s not eating grass or anything.
But then, my thoughts were naive, and I will soon realize that with Emily-san a few days later.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.