An hour or so later, dishes started to appear on the table.
Mahiru decided the dishes on this day, and they were all Japanese foods favoring her preference for healthier food.
“These utensils and seasonings are somewhat useful, and I do not have to take much. I should be able to make more exquisite dishes starting tomorrow.”
“Well I’m grateful that you’re willing to cook for me.”
Mahiru was unsure of how many utensils and seasonings she could use, so the dishes were relatively simple. Nevertheless, they were colorfully vibrant and well plated.
There was steamed fish, vegetables with toppings, omelettes with miso, and various Japanese dishes laid out that he would not have dreamed of making.
Amane himself was not really a picky eater, but he liked Japanese food. Once he saw how apologetic she was, he had the urge to blurt that this was what he wanted.
“…These look really good.”
“Thank you for the compliments. Let us eat before it gets cold.”
Mahiru said as she sat on the chair. Amane then took the chair opposite her.
The dining table for one was pretty small, and the duo were seated very close.
Luckily, he had two spare chairs for guests, but there was something indescribable about a pretty girl seated before him.
Once he started eating however, Mahiru’s beauty did not matter.
Itadakimasu, so he said, and first tried some miso soup.
The moment his lips touched the soup, he savored the miso and the fish stock in his mouth, the tastes spreading upon the tongue along with the fragrance.
It was a gentle taste different from instant miso soup, and was definitely achieved after much effort and deliberation.
The miso was not too rich, and the taste of the fish stock remained even with the saltiness.
The first taste was a little mild, probably because Mahiru considered it would be eaten with other dishes. Only after one drank the soup completely would he find it sufficiently concentrated.
More than lacking, it was a relieving taste that piqued his appetite for rice and other dishes.
“Thank you very much.”
He honestly admitted his feelings, and she was relieved, narrowing her eyes.
While he had been praising her for her dishes, she might be nervous about him stating his thoughts directly to her.
Mahiru, who had been worried about Amane’s reaction, started eating, and the latter too reached for the chopsticks.
After tasting all the dishes on the table, he found Mahiru’s cooking to be really palatable.
The steamed fish was really delicious, while preserving the moisture in the flesh.
Moisture would be lost if she heated it for too long, wanting to get the flavor. It would have made the fish too dry, but the steamed fish was really tender and smooth.
The omelette had the flavor he really liked.
Lured by the bright yellow color, he took a bit, and tasted the gentle fish stock flavor.
There were some who liked their omelette sweet, someone who liked it salty, but the one here was made from fish stock, a little sweet.
The faint, soft sweetness might have been honey.
Not a lot was added, it seemed, but the lingering sweetness added to the richness of the flavor.
Of course, Amane did not dislike either sweet or salty omelettes.
However, he loved those with stock, with a little sweetness, and the perfect amount of seasoning. He was so moved that he was able to eat such an ideal omelette.
Delicious, so he muttered to himself, talking another bite.
The fire control was perfect. He slowly chewed on the soft omelette with the fish stock, savoring flavor.
Definitely better than my mom’s, so he quietly thought to himself these insolent things to his mother as he chowed down. Then, he noticed Mahiru staring at him intently.
“…Looks like you are enjoying it.”
“It’s delicious after all. I should be grateful for good food.”
“Yes, that is true.”
“And well, it’s better to eat with a honest look than just scowling away. We’re both happy here, right?”
Even though the food may be delicious, the cook would feel uneasy and curious if one did not express his feelings honestly. Sometimes, saying it was delicious with a frown would leave the chef wondering he was sincere.
More importantly, it was better for both of them to express their feelings on their faces. The one thanking and the one being thanked do like to be in a good mood after all.
“…I guess so.”
Mahiru seemed to have accepted Amane’s explanation as she showed a little smile.
The gentle smile seemingly expressed relief, and she was so adorable, he found his mind space out for a moment.
“Ah…no, it’s nothing.”
He was mesmerized by her…but naturally, he could not say this. He suppressed the rising shame within him as he continued eating, not wanting to be found out.
“Glad that you like it.”
Amane finished the food on the table, indicating he was full, and Mahiru tersely answered.
Nevertheless, she looked calm, probably elated that Amane finished the food completely, not leaving a grain of rice.
“I can tell from that.”
“Better than my mom’s.”
“I think it is taboo to compare a girl’s cooking to one’s mother.”
“Only when I’m trying to insult, you know? Anyway, are you curious about that?”
“Not at all.”
“That’s fine then. It’s a fact that it’s delicious.”
Mahiru’s cooking skills were not honed simply with some experience.
Amane’s mother had more cooking experience, but she had a different taste palette, and was blase about it, so there was no way she could have fine tuned the taste like Mahiru did.
His father might even be better than his mother, let alone her.
“…Well I think I’m very fortunate here. I do get to eat it every day after all.”
“Only when both of us have nothing else going on.”
“…Are we seriously okay with eating together every day?”
“I would have suggested so if that is not the case.”
“Well, that’s true.”
He knew very well that a straightforward person like Mahiru would not have suggested so if she disliked it, but despite that, he was wondering if this was fine.
He paid for half the ingredients, along with labor costs, but he was worried that it would be too taxing on Mahiru.
“…Do you normally cook for guys you don’t like?”
“You are living too unhealthily. Also, I do enjoy cooking, and I do not dislike seeing you enjoy the food.”
“If you are still concerned about that, I do not actually have to cook for you?”
“No please cook for me thank you very much.”
He instinctively answered, and it showed how much her cooking was a necessity, something he liked.
For him, getting Mahiru’s cooking was a matter of life and death.
He had some awareness of his own stomach, but the problem was that her cooking was too delicious. It was likely that if he went back to eating side dishes, every day would seem bland, and that scared him.
Once she heard his instant answer that was easy to understand, Mahiru showed a wry smile.
“Please accept this.”
Amane had to sigh with elation, anticipation and guilt, thinking about how the days of eating together with this great merciful Angel would continue.