Tensei Saki de Suterareta no de, Mofumofu Tachi to Oryouri Shimasu ~Okazari Ouhi wa my Pace ni Saikyou Desu~
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 23: The Meaning of a Food is its Intention.
“Yes, you’re right. I understand…I’m more and more convinced that I shouldn’t side with your faction.”
Even in the face of rejection, Lady Natalie was as quiet and expressionless as a doll. Mrs. Díaz, with her eyebrow twitching, leaned forward to speak for Lady Natalie.
“What did you just say, Lady Leticia? Did you, perhaps, misspeak?”
“No, not at all. I’m just informing you that I have no intention of siding with you.”
“…Do you truly mean that?”
Mrs. Díaz glared at me with unconcealed displeasure.
“If you don’t choose us, the only candidates left are the two mongrels and the weak human from the south. No matter how you look at it, it would definitely be a disadvantageous choice, don’t you think?”
“Again, I have no intention of becoming anyone’s enemy or ally. And even if I were to choose one of the candidates, it would never be you, who keeps calling the beastkin mongrels.”
“What’s wrong with calling a beast, a beast? Or is Lady Leticia a person of noble and indiscriminate kindness who believes that beasts should be treated like people?”
It was a blatant provocation, an insinuation.
― ― ― ―The existence of beastkin.
Because of my memories of my previous life, I did not personally feel disgusted by them, nor did I intend to ridicule them. In fact, I’d like to get to know them better and even ask them some questions. I knew that such sentiments were rare among the people of this continent. However, that was not the issue at hand.
“Almost half the people in this country are beastkin. Do you think that I, though only a figurehead Queen, can approve of such remarks that are intended to humiliate half the citizens of the country?”
“…You really like whitewashing, I take it.”
“Don’t you think it’s ludicrous to dismiss something to this extent as whitewashing? I understand that you have a strong resentment of beastkin. However, if you show your disgust in a place like this, you’re the one no better than a beast, unable to control your own emotions.”
“…What did you just say?”
A provocation for a provocation.
I could have tried to pass it off amicably, but Mrs. Díaz was blatantly looking down on me. If I left her alone, it would have only served to encourage her, so I decided to counterattack a little.
“You can’t just overlook that remark, can you? Are you saying that we are lower than those mongrels?”
“Well, judging solely by your behaviour here, I’d say so.”
“Lady Leticia, are you not a human being just like us? And yet you’ve taken a liking to those mongrels?”
“It has nothing to do with whether one is human or beastkin. What is it about their attitude and behaviour that you are qualified to judge?”
“Please, do tell. What do you see in us that makes you think so ill of us?”
“Your words, your attitude, and the food in this place.”
At the word “food,” the middle-aged man standing by the wall who seemed to be the head chef reacted.
“…Lady Leticia, if you would allow me to speak.”
“I don’t mind. Go ahead.”
“Let me ask you something: As the head chef of this estate, I have prepared today’s dishes with the utmost care, using an abundance of spices to create the most lavish of dishes. If you are dissatisfied with them, perhaps there is something wrong with Lady Leticia’s palate?”
…Are you treating me like a fool with a poor palate?
His tone was self-abasing, yet his last comment was ridiculing.
Mental note: this guy blabbers on and on.
“It’s not a matter of my personal preference. If you were a chef, you would understand. Today’s food, even if you consider it aristocratic cuisine, has far too many spices, don’t you think?”
“What’s wrong with that? The lavish use of spices is common in Milady Natalie’s birthplace. It may be an unfamiliar culture to you, Lady Leticia, but don’t you think it’s too immature to belittle it just because of that?”
Who is the immature one, huh?
As I thought, this head chef had a sharp tongue, or rather, he talked a lot. His manner of speaking irritated me to no end.
“It wasn’t my intention to belittle your cuisine. As proof, I finished the entire meal with a smile on my face, didn’t I?”
“Then why are you now speaking ill of my cooking?”
“I accepted the dish and understood what it meant. A dish with too many spices, this is not a traditional meal from your hometown, it’s a dish that was created only in the last decade or so, correct?”
“It’s only natural for a chef to keep up with the trends.”
“Even if these trends are merely a way to harass others?”
The purpose of this overly spicy cuisine was to harass people. Spicy and strong-flavoured food were popular among the upper class of the continent generally, but today’s cuisine was strong even by their standards.
Such seasoning had begun as a way to harass the beastkin. Beastkin generally possessed superior senses to humans, and in many cases had better noses. Given their keen noses, they were more sensitive to spices.
Most beastkin did not slather their food with lots of spices, and continued to cook the traditional way. It should have just been a difference in food culture…but sadly some people ridiculed them for it.
First among them were people from the western part of the country like Mrs. Díaz, who stood before me. The number of beastkin and humans in this country was about half and half, but in the western part, nearly 90% of the population was human.
Although it was now united as one country, this kingdom originally had been five small nations. Each region; east, west, north, and south; had a different percentage of humans and varied in the mindset of its inhabitants. Inevitably, the west had a strong human presence and a deep-rooted mentality of looking down on beastkin.
This country was more familiar with beastkin than other countries on the continent. However, it was exactly this familiarity that caused discrimination and friction to arise, making the relationship between beastkin and human complicated. For example: the western region, from which Mrs. Díaz and the others came and which had mostly humans, was somehow at odds with the other regions, where there were plenty of beastkin.
That competitive relationship could be easily seen in the cuisine of the western regions. In this continent nowadays, spices were a symbol of wealth and abundance.
It was said that the aristocrats of the west made fun of beastkin who did not like spices. When they refused to eat the food, aristocrats mocked them for not understanding its benefits. Such childish harassment intensified, and…a very thick, spice-laden dish was the result.
You might be wondering what they thought cooking was, and if they were stupid. But unfortunately, this was the reality of the aristocracy in the western part of this country. Even throughout Earth’s history, some customs were hard to believe for a 21st-century Japanese person, yet this was a food culture that I couldn’t bring myself to like.
“I didn’t mean to denigrate your food culture in any way. However, it is natural for me to have some reservations about the over-seasoned dishes that you chose to serve me, your guest, today, correct?”
I moved my gaze from the chef to Lady Natalie.
Even if it were only a dish, as long as it was served at a social gathering, there was some political message intended by it.
“Lady Natalie, may I ask you a question? Did you really think that today’s food was delicious? Was it because you thought it tasted good that you decided to serve it to me?”
She looked a little uncomfortable.
Lady Natalie dropped her blank expression and opened her mouth, but…
“Why are you talking nonsense, Lady Leticia? Seeking a dish only for its taste and choosing it based on personal preference is but the behaviour of a lowly commoner. It is the duty of an aristocrat to make choices based on the history and origin of a dish.”
Lady Natalie reverted to her doll-like state as Mrs. Díaz kept talking at a rapid pace.
Since cooking was a part of aristocratic social etiquette, Mrs. Díaz’s words were valid. But it was for that very reason that I couldn’t accept today’s meal.
It was because they had taken the trouble to serve food from the western regions of the continent, which was created to harass the beastkin, instead of common aristocratic cuisine. In other words, it was a silent sign that they looked down on beastkin.
“If you chose today’s dishes based on their origins and history rather than their taste…I really can’t accept it after all.”
Fighting back the urge to sigh, I stood up and thanked Lucian for pulling out my chair, before turning to look at Lady Natalie.
“I have no intention of further associating with those who ridicule beastkin. I’m sorry, but I’m going to take my leave.”
“Farewell. I hope to see you again soon.”
Lady Natalie spoke up in a small voice.
When I lifted my head to reply, the low voice of Mrs. Díaz pierced my eardrums.
“You’ll soon regret turning us down. It will be too late for you to try and win us over when Lady Natalie becomes the next Queen, you know? Don’t think that the relationship between you, your kingdom, and ours will be a good one.”
“It hasn’t been decided yet that Lady Natalie will be the next Queen, now has it?”
“What do you mean by that? As long as Lady Leticia is a human, there is no way you will be able to get along with the mongrel Queen candidates. I’m sure the day will come when you’ll realize the mistake you’ve made in disregarding our kindness as your only allies.” Mrs. Díaz snorted.
…I see, so that’s why they’re strangely bullish against me.
They believed that I, a human, and the beastkin Queen candidates would naturally be hostile to each other. That’s why they thought that I was in a weak position where I had no other choice but to take Lady Natalie’s helping hand. I’d had a vague idea that was the case, but what she just said confirmed it.
“I don’t believe that day will ever come. Because it was His Majesty who chose me to be his Queen.”
His Majesty Glenreed, whom I haven’t seen for more than ten days now…
I’m sure that he was aware of how Natalie and her people felt towards beastkin. If he knew that and still chose Lady Natalie as his next Queen—if he was forced to choose her, then—whether it was worth it to maintain good relations with His Majesty and this country would be very doubtful.
I think it would be better if I meet His Majesty once more in person and ask him who he’s considering to be the next Queen.
—My wishes were fulfilled that day by a summon from His Majesty Glenreed.
Since “Tensei saki” got picked up by an English publisher, I’m sorry to say this but we’ll be dropping it. This was nothing but a fan translation so we pretty much didn’t profit from it, neither did the author. But now that it’s getting officially published, we gotta support the author~!
If you wanna support the author, you can pre-order the LN from here http://www.crossinfworld.com/Since-I-Was-Abandoned-After%20Reincarnating-I-Will-Cook-With-My-Fluffy-Friends.html
Thank you all for your continuous support from when I first picked up this novel. I’ll miss Leticia and her cooking a lot, but rest assured I’ll continue working on our other novels so please give them a read.