Chapter 14:

If a rat can cook, so can you!

Mismatch Romance


Rika: Srry guys Going to be late :(
Rika: I have cleaning duty   ʅ(◞‿◟)ʃ
Saori: No worries Rika!!!
Prez: cometh whenth ableth
Dachi: That’s not even proper old English
Me: See you soon

Something nice for Rika huh? Hmmm. I feel a tap on my shoulder. Oh, it’s Saori-senpai.

“Are you alright Kazuma, you seem lost,” she asks.

“I’m just thinking of something nice I can do for Tanaka. She’s done a lot for me.”

“Why not buy her something special,” said Dachi.

“Buying? That’s lazy. You should try making her something instead.”

“Well, one time she asked me if I could cook her something special. But it’s too bad I can’t cook.”

Saori-senpai slams her hand on the desk.

“OBJECTION!” she shouts.

“Woah, dude you just brought out the attorney.”

“Kazuma Ito! What is the number one rule when it comes to cooking?”

“Wash your hands?”

“No. Well, that’s important too. But the number one rule is that anybody can cook!

“Isn’t that quote from a movie?” I asked.

“Anyways. Dachi, what day is it today?

“Tuesday.”

“Yes! That means the room is free. This settles it! Kazuma your surprise for Rika will be a special homemade meal.”

“But I can’t-”

“As your senpai, and vice president, I’m making this a club order.”

“Hohoho. Having Saori enact her vice president powers, you definitely made her pissed, Ito. Well, order approved. So what’s the plan, Saori?”

“It’s simple. Dachi, Kazuma, and I will head to the cooking club. Midori you can keep Rika distracted in the meantime.”

“Of course. How about we reconvene at 16:00hrs.”

“Sounds good, Midori. Let’s commence Operation, Kazuma learns that he can cook and make the most delicious meal for Rika!”

“Senpai, that's kind of long.”

“Then we abbreviate to Operation KLTHCCAMTMDMFR aka Food.”

Jeez that name's awful.

The three of us arrived outside the cooking clubroom. A second year steps out, it’s the club leader from before.

“Welcome to the - oh it’s you. I’m sorry but we don’t serve Benedict Arnold's here Hashimoto. You need to go somewhere else.”

“Yamada, I didn’t come here to engage in idle chit-chat. I’m here because my friend would like to cook a meal, and on Tuesdays, the kitchen is open for anyone to use.”

“Like you have any other friends besides Ichinose.”

“Seems like Saori-senpai and Yamada don’t get along too well,” I whispered over to Dachi.

“Yeah, it seems so. It probably has to do with Senpai leaving the cooking club,” he whispers back.

“So who is it?” Yamada asks.

“Him,” she says as she points to me.”

“Him? Hahahahaha. Absolutely not. The guy over there thought he was too good to be in the cooking club. Even though we welcomed him with open arms, and accepted him as one of our own, he still dared to reject us. As I said before, we don't serve traitors.”

“Dude, did you reject the cooking club?”

“There was only one spot left. And Tanaka and I wanted to join a club together.”

“Kazu, the cooking club is one of the most pretentious clubs in school. You don’t join it unless you're serious.”

“Well, that information wasn’t on the school portal.”

“Poor Yamada, your insecurity is showing. What, are you still mad about how a little nobody out-performed the daughter of a world-class chef? Or are you scared at the thought of my prodigy, cooking better than you.”

“Fine, Hashimoto. I see you’re trying to provoke me. Okay, let’s do this, me vs. your prodigy. If he wins you get full kitchen access. If I win, the three of you will resign from your club and serve as our club's cleaning crew, until you graduate.”

“Deal,” said Saori.

“Are you sure about this?” Dachi asks.

“I really don’t think this is a good idea,” I said.

“What did I tell you Kazuma, anyone can cook, and I’m going to prove it to you.”

We all headed inside the clubroom.

“So what are the ground rules?” asked Yamada.

“A simple, foreign dish. Double-blind judging.” She turns towards Dachi. “ Hey Dachi, what was the simplest meal you ate when you visited the States?”

“Ooh, probably grilled cheese. It was pretty much just bread and cheese.”

“Hmmm,” Yamada flips through her phone. “I’ll accept it. We will use this website recipe. So who will judge?”

“Dachi will.”

“What?”

“Dachi I need you to wait outside.”

“But!”

“No buts.” And with that, she pushes him outside.

“Don’t you think it was a bit harsh to push him outside like that,” I whispered to Saori-senpai.

“Sorry Kazuma, but it's necessary. Dachi is extremely observant. If he witnesses us cooking, he will say ours is the best by default. It is also why the judging is double-blind. Meaning none of us is going to know which dish he’s tasting. This has to be done since Dachi is good at reading faces too.”

“Wow, I never knew.”

“You notice the little things when it comes to the person you like.”

“Since everything is settled, let’s set the time for fifteen minutes. The meal must be toasted and include bread, cheese, and butter. Hashimoto, your assistance will be minimal. And Ito just a word of advice, I would stick to the recipe. You wouldn’t want someone getting sick,” Yamada snickers.

“Let’s cook!” The two shouted.

“Alright Kazuma, start grabbing the ingredients.”

After grabbing all the ingredients, I started to make the sandwich, but every time I did something, Sayori would make an annoying high-pitched sound.

Time to spread ½ tbs of butter…

“Eeep!” Saori shouts.

Time to add four slices of cheddar.

“Eeep!” She shouts again.

“Saori-senpai, what's going on? This is the seventh time you’ve made that noise.”

“It's just are you planning to strictly follow the recipe?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Kazuma, let me ask you a question: What separates a chef from an amateur cook?”

“Experience?”

“Well yes. But, you see, an amateur cook simply follows the recipe but a chef creates. It’s similar to life. Life is boring when you do the expected. But when you add an unexpected spice you can liven things up. These beliefs are why Yamada and I don’t get along. And it’s also why I ended up getting banned from the club. During a cooking competition, I added cinnamon to a dish. While we won first place, the judge had a severe reaction.

“Oh.”

“But, I don’t regret my decision at all. There are times when you will face situations that cause you to waver. People, who will say that your feelings and beliefs are wrong. Adding cinnamon would completely ruin the curry. But don’t listen. After all, while your choice could lead to something awful, it could also turn out amazing.”

“I think I get it.”

“But my advice doesn’t apply to baking. For baking, you follow the recipe exactly or your dish can end up burnt.”

“Then, let's make it spicy,” I said.

“Yes!”

“And instead of just cheddar, let's add more cheese like Gouda and mozzarella!”

“Now we’re talking.”

We both worked together crafting the perfect sandwich, all that’s left now is to plate it.

“Hmm.”

“What’s wrong Kazuma?”

“I was just thinking, the first time Tanaka and I had lunch together she was eating grilled cheese too.” Hmm, I wonder.

I whispered in Saori’s ear.

“It’s cutting it close, but let’s try it.”

Ding! Time’s up.

“We did it,” I said

“Told you, Kazuma.”

We put our dishes under a silver platter. Afterward, we stepped outside while Dachi judged the dishes.

“Mmmmmm delicious,” we heard him say.

After Dachi invites us back in.

"Both of these dishes were so good but my favorite has to be the one that came with tomato soup. It tasted just like the States.”

“What!” Yamada runs over to our station and tries some of the leftover tomato soup. “He’s right, I can see how the acidity pairs well with the sandwich. Well done you two. A deal is a deal the kitchen is yours.”

“Any ideas about what we should make Kazuma?” Saori asks.

“Well, I’ve never seen her eat a traditional bento meal.”

“Alright team, we have less than an hour to prepare. Let’s do it!" Saori shouts.

The four of us work tirelessly. Luckily, in the end, we were able to finish cooking and prepare the room in time. Once Rika opened the door we all shouted “Surprise!”

“What’s all this?” Rika asks.

“It’s your special meal,” I said.

“Kazuma-kun,” she says softly. “Ah, there’s way too much! Everyone, please grab a plate.”

After a fun and delicious afternoon, Rika and I waited by the school gates like usual.

“So was the food actually good?”

“Yes, it was perfect!”

“I’m glad.”

“Hey, can you come a bit closer?”

“Sure.”

She closed her eyes, leaned in, and kissed me on my cheek.

“Ah..well…um. I wanted...a gift for you…Prez said memorable gifts are best. So what’s more memorable than a kiss? Anyways, my ride. See you!”

Whaaaaaaat!

minatika
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