Fantasies and Realities: Episode 20

Nick is in the kitchenette of the suite he is sharing with Kat, busily at work. He has a puff of flour on his nose, and some on his hair, too, and some interesting red stains on his smock.

Katsura comes into the suite, ~~ moderately post ~~ and ~~ satisfied ~~ after her adequate but not spectacular transfer with Roger.

Katsura: Hi, Nick! What's cooking?

Nick waves a red-coated spoon in greeting, depositing another few stains on the smock.

Nick: Kat! I'm making some Genuine Wild Gen Cuisine. It's too bad Morry isn't here. He'd love it.

Katsura: Dare I ask what's in it? ~~ teasing ~~

Nick: Nothing you're allergic to, I promise.

Katsura: And nothing disgusting either?

Nick: Now, that's a harder question to answer. Your chart lists your allergies, but for some odd reason it doesn't go into detail on what you find yummy.

Katsura tickles Nick's ear with a tentacle.

Nick yelps in mock ~~ distress ~~.

Katsura: Oh, well, Wild Gens do eat some odd things, but this smells delicious.

Katsura is post enough to have a good appetite.

Nick: An all-Gen culture is bound to have some interesting cuisine, you have to admit. I'm actually a bit surprised that this particular dish didn't make it across the border, into the Householdings, at least.

Katsura: Oh?

Nick: Yes. I don't suppose your many accomplishments include those of a sous-chef?

Katsura: Alas, no. I just scrubbed vegetables and shelled peas and did other scut work with the other children. I can boil eggs, however.

Nick: We don't require eggs for this, but if you would dice up that apple over there? Bite-sized chunks, and no core. You can leave the peel on.

Katsura: Okay.

Katsura isn't quite sure how big a bite is, but quarters the apple, removes the core and cuts her best guess.

Katsura: Like that?

Nick dumps some oil on an already-sliced onion, and starts it browning.

Katsura's mouth waters. She hasn't gotten much enjoyment out of food for the past week.

Nick: That's fine. If you'd take the leaves off of a stem or two of that basil, and chop them as well?

Katsura complies, and offers the cutting board with chopped basil to Nick.

Nick stirs half of the basil into the bubbling red pot, and leaves half behind.

Nick: That's about perfect. Now, if you don't mind, the cheese lump over there should be grated, and the other cheese should be crumbled.

Katsura roots around and finds the cheese grater, then sets to work.

Nick hums as he warms some oil in a pan, then throws in some garlic.

Katsura is really ~~ enjoying ~~ these wonderful smells.

Nick decides his onion is suitably carmelized, and turns that burner off.

Nick: I think we're just about ready to put this together.

Katsura watches ~~ intently ~~.

Nick: Let me just check...

Nick goes over to a large bowl, covered with a clean cloth, sitting in a warm corner of the kitchen.

Nick: Ah, yes. We're ready. Bring the flour, would you?

Katsura: Okay.

Nick clears some counter space, and pulls out two baking trays. He scatters flour on the counter, then dumps the dough in the bowl onto it and kneads lightly, then separates it into two lumps, and starts flattening one.

Nick: Here, you work on the other.

Katsura watches Nick for a moment, then does the same with the other lump of dough.

Nick expertly flattens his dough, then grins in ~~ challenge ~~ as he tosses it into the air, spinning it, and catches it again neatly.

Katsura tosses hers into the air and gets it spinning using several tentacles. What comes down is neither as circular nor as uniform as Nick's dough.

Nick: Well, it takes practice.

Katsura: I can see it does.

Katsura smiles at Nick, ~~ enjoying ~~ his enjoyment.

Nick: You've obviously never been in the position of having to support yourself in a low-budget Gen eatery. This isn't usually considered gourmet food -- although I admit my version is a little fancier than you'd normally see.

Nick puts his flattened dough on one tray, where it neatly almost-fills the tray.

Nick: How's yours coming along?

Katsura hands it over.

Katsura: I defer to your expertise, Sosu.

Nick: Not bad.

Nick does a small amount of rearranging to better fit dough to pan, and cover up some thin spots.

Nick: There. Now, it's time to decorate them. Let's see. For the first, let's start with that oil with the garlic in it.

Nick spreads the oil on the dough, carefully spreading it out until it nearly reaches the edges.

Nick: Why don't you put the red sauce on the other one?

Katsura: How much?

Nick: Spread it in a thin layer.

Katsura does so, in her interpretation of 'thin'.

Katsura: This stuff smells wonderful. I like basil.

Nick: So do I. Now, I'm going to put the crumbled goat cheese on mine. You get the grated cheese.

Katsura: Just sort of sprinkle it on top? All of it?

Nick: Yes. Spread it out close to the edges, but not so close that it'll run over when it melts.

Katsura: Okay.

Nick spreads the crumbled cheese carefully on his dough.

Katsura probably does a more thorough job of evenly spreading the grated cheese without getting any too close to the edges than a non-Farris would.

Nick starts spreading the carmelized onion on his dough.

Nick: When you're done, those tomato slices can go on yours. I got a mixture of colors, to make it pretty.

Katsura: They are nice.

Nick is busily spreading apple bits between the onion.

Katsura arranges the yellow, red, orange, green and yellow with red streaks tomato slices artistically on hers.

Nick: Now, the chopped basil.

Katsura is charmed that Nick managed to find all these greenhouse delicacies for this project, to feed his channel and naztehr.

Nick had no trouble at all: he's been hanging out in the greenhouses since their arrival in Capital.

Nick: Now we pop them in the oven and let them bake.

Nick suits action to words.

Katsura washes her hands and tentacles.

Nick: Now, we should have just enough time to clean things up a bit, before they're done. Why don't you open the wine, while I put the extra food away?

Katsura: Okay.

Katsura searches out the corkscrew and opens the bottle of red.

Katsura: Wine from Gen Territory. Got to be better than the House plonk, eh?

Nick: Well, just about anything is. This is made from an interesting grape called Crljenak kastelanski. Or sometimes Kratosija.

Katsura: You sound like a native Genlan speaker.

Nick: I practically am. I lived there over a decade. And I was very determined to fit in.

Nick accepts a glass of the wine and gives it an expert swirl, sniff, and sip.

Nick: Ah, good. It's a real, what did they call it? Picniczin.

Katsura tries hers. It's richer in flavor than the House plonk, less sour, smoother somehow, and has a delightful aftertaste.

Katsura lifts her glass in a toast.

Katsura: To Sat'htine, naztehr.

Nick clinks his glass to her.

Nick: Sat'htine.

Katsura takes another sip, then puts her arm around Nick and leans against his shoulder, enjoying the texture of his nager which is far less depleted than it usually is after transfer.

Nick didn't find the transfer with Lanard very satisfying, but he is young enough, and male enough, to find closeness with Katsura interesting, even so.

Katsura: Mmm. You zlin good.

Nick takes a moment to give his channel a wine-flavored kiss, then opens the oven door to check his creations.

Nick: Look, the dough's starting to brown. It won't be long, now.

Nick starts assembling plates and napkins. He then removes his creations from the oven, steaming and covered with melted cheese.

Katsura: They smell wonderful. What do the Gens call this?

Nick takes a moment to ~~ savor ~~ the smell... and his ~~ hunger ~~.

Katsura's appetite is further stimulated by Nick's.

Nick: It's usually called pitsa, although the various Genlan accents can mangle that quite a bit.

Nick takes the kitchen scissors and a spatula and goes to work cutting the pitsa into manageable slices.

Katsura doesn't caution him not to burn himself, in the interests of trust in Gen basic competence and respect for autonomy.

Nick moves a Sime-sized sample of each creation to one plate, and Gen-sized hunks to another.

Nick: Here you are. Authentic Wild Gen Cuisine.

Katsura: Thank you. Let's eat in the sitting room.

Katsura wants to sit close to Nick on the sofa.

Nick ~~ obligingly ~~ carries his plate, leaving the wine glasses for Kat to manage.

Katsura follows, with her plate in hand and wine glasses and bottle in tentacles.

Nick settles on the sofa.

Katsura settles next to him and sets the wine on the trin table.

Nick: The Gen tradition is that you pick it up, like this...

Nick demonstrates.

Nick: And eat from the point towards the edge.

Katsura tries it, although she needs a tentacle to support her long narrow Sime-sized slice.

Katsura: Mmm. Delicious. It's good of you to go to all this trouble to make me a treat like this at the time I can enjoy it most.

Nick: I assure you, I have an ulterior motive.

Nick leans over to kiss Kat lightly, just in case she was wondering what that ulterior motive was.

Katsura enjoys the basil and garlic flavor of the kiss, as well as what she zlins with it.

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