“…What’s the title of the book you read?”
Asha looked at Pavel, a little embarrassed. How can she say the title of a book that didn’t exist?
“I don’t remember very well. I read this book a long time ago…”
Pavel burst into laughter.
“What? A long time ago? This little thing.”
How ridiculous must it have been in the chef’s eyes who would have a daughter of similar size and age to Asha?
Asha was also slightly embarrassed by her words, so only her collar was ruffled.
“Didn’t you see it in a book?”
Pavel squinted and said she couldn’t figure out what he was discussing. As Asha tilted her head, all the sand grains in the hourglass fell off the floor, and a cheerful bell rang.
The scones are finished.
The top side was golden, and the scones, piled up with layers on the sides, smelled savory and salty. Pavel opened his eyes to the perfectly completed result.
Asha, staring at it with pleasure and unable to touch it because it was still hot, lifted her head and looked up at Pavel. Bright yellow particles were rising from behind Pavel.
‘I guess he was stunned.’
Pavel squinted at Asha and the scones alternately.
“How did it rise without fermentation?”
“You put it in. Phoebe powder.”
“It was made of my medicine!”
“You thought it was medicine but left it in the scones?”
Asha lamented. Pavel grabbed the scones and cut them in half. Asha opened her eyes wide in surprise.
“Mister, isn’t that hot?”
“I’ve had years of kitchen experience. More than that, how does it rise like this?”
“I keep saying that I put in the powder that inflates the snack, so can you stop asking now?”
The scones were a beautiful mix of bacon and cheese from butter. Brownish bacon was embedded in the golden scone, stimulating the sense of smell. Pavel took a bite of the scones as if he could not resist the temptation.
“Mister, isn’t it really hot?”
Pavel didn’t answer, but Asha couldn’t ask more. Bright yellow and orange particles were popping out around Pavel.
Pavel was devouring the scone, forgetting what to say. The richness of the butter and three kinds of cheese in between. Each is combined with a savory taste and aroma.
But butter and cheese were made of milk. As a result, before the taste of the same type became dull, the well-fried bacon pieces instantly made the taste colorful. In other words, it was correctly seasoned.
And just before being bitten by greasy ingredients, the slightly pungent one neatly boosted the taste, allowing you to eat the scone endlessly without getting tired of it. It was the power of a teaspoon of mustard powder.
“Mister, did you burn your tongue?”
Pavel looked down at Asha, who was spouting useless worries and sighed.
Only then did Asha reach out to Pavel. Pavel handed her the scone he had half-split. When she took a bite, it was indeed a taste that Pavel would admire.
The savory, salty, and greasy taste gave a deep and clean finish.
‘But even with that… It looks very delicious.’
Is it because she made it herself? Last time, the fondant chocolat – now named Asha’s Chocolate Cake – was like the brownies. Asha tilted her head and continued.
“Next time I make it, I’ll have to reduce the Phoebe powder a little more. About a teaspoon. I think the end has a bit of a bitter taste.”
“I realized that… No, even if you put in that much… Is it swelling like this without fermentation?”
Pavel looked alternately at Asha with a bottle of Phoebe powder, with a face full of admiration. Asha, absorbed by her thoughts, suddenly tilted her head because the first scone she made was more delicious than expected.
‘Oh, is this…’
Pavel was the royal chef for the imperial family. He was also in charge of the eldest Crown Prince’s kitchen alone. As a chef, he was the second most successful person in the empire, even if he was not as much as the Emperor’s chef. Even if, of course, there was nothing in this desolate palace of the Emperor.
After all, wasn’t the imperial family initially the cutting edge of all civilizations? To say that such a Pavel was so amazed was, in other words…
Charts, graphs, and numbers quickly passed through Asha’s head.
“Chestnut? What are you thinking?”
“Ah… this, I was thinking about how to wrap these scones. I have to pack them individually and take them with me…”
“Why? Are you going to give it to anyone?”
“Yes, to my cousin. I don’t know if this will work.”
At that, Pavel brought a thin piece of paper and tilted his head, wrapping the scones individually.
“Cousin? Did you have any relatives? What’s the connection?”
“Yes. I saw them for the first time when I came to the palace, but my cousin seems to hate me so much…”
Pavel kept asking, his eyes narrowed.
“So what are you going to do to that cousin?”
“I was going to make delicious snacks and feed them.”
It was through Dimitri that she got the idea. Even more than Alexei, didn’t Dimitri, who hated seeing her, become quiet after taking a bite of her snack? Even the child, who seemed unbearable because he hated her, was silent before a nice snack, flying firecracker-like particles behind his back.
Asha planned to feed Alexei somehow, something like a delicious snack, making his sharp air any softer. Sweet things made people feel good!
“Hahaha! That’s the answer. If it’s delicious, everything is fine for kids.”
“I mean, it’s not that simple. He must have grown up eating delicious things for the rest of his life. Will you be relieved by eating some clumsy snacks?”
“Your cousin grew up eating only good food, but why are you…? ”
Pavel muttered suddenly and quickly closed his mouth. Pavel waved his hand with a slightly puzzled face and hurriedly turned his words around.
“Well, what is it? This is delicious. Really.”
Asha blinked her eyes. Pavel nodded, coughing, and pushed the wrapped scones to her.
“No matter how much they grew up eating only good things. Delicious things are delicious. And this is… How should I say this? The taste is very… It’s all right…”
With a mixture of wheezing and mumbling, Pavel went on to say that the scones were delicious.
Then the bell began to ring in the distance. It was a bell that marked five o’clock in the afternoon. Asha instantly took the scones and left some for Pavel.
“Five o’clock! Pavel, I’m going to go first! You eat the remaining scones!”
After leaving the kitchen, Asha did not head to Alexei’s room but returned straight to her room. In fact, one thing had captured her mind more intensely than Alexei.
If baking powder that was easier to use than that was invented in a place where there was no proper perception of baking soda, it was nothing short of an industrial revolution in the kitchen.
It will be sold like hotcakes. However, a terrifying amount must be made to sell Phoebe powder. And to make a terrifying amount, she first needed a terrifyingly large amount of money.
“First, if you distribute it as a demonstration through the chef, it will spread, and at first, it will be made less and sold at a high price… Mass production… To do it… Do I have to build a factory?’
Asha leaned under the bed, thinking of advertising phrases such as ‘the imperial chef also uses’ and ‘the imperial chef recognized.’ There laid a box of jeweled buttons.
When she opened the box, she saw a few buttons.
‘…How… Should I work a little harder at the Imperial Palace?’
The number of buttons that seemed to be far from enough to start a business seemed to make a mockery of her. You couldn’t even grab a carriage to get home with this. Asha closed her little mouth tightly and glared at the buttons.
“Money! Gold coins! New house!”
She didn’t know why, but she stayed at the Imperial Palace.
While she was here, how could she get invested in baking snacks, selling Phoebe powder, and getting enough money to build a decent house?
‘As long as I have money.’
Little Asha had no friends.
Even if Yuriev tried to get work somehow, nobles often rejected him harshly, saying he was never hired. In the end, he could only sell his paintings at a low price in a distant market.
Her mother Irina taught swordsmanship to nearby children, but she had to be told often, ‘Does she have to be paid to babysit them?’
Her parents managed to feed and dress her with everything they had, but they saved money to sing and listen to music.
The parents’ lifestyle of trying to find comfort with a small performance despite their poor lives was seen as a “foolish misfortune,” and the neighbors did not accept it.
As a result, Asha naturally moved away from her peers. Parents around them cracked down on the children, saying that if they hung out with Asha, they would be slandered badly and were unsure whether to treat the little girl as a commoner or a noble.
Asha could not communicate appropriately with people her age, so Yuriev and Irina were heartbroken because they couldn’t do it. The two were very sorry for being unable to make friends with Asha, even though they were not discouraged by poverty and hardship.
‘If you have a decent house and a prosperous life, more people will be around you, right? Then mom and dad won’t worry unnecessarily.’
If she had any more money, maybe she could open a real snack shop then…
Asha thought that far before she hurriedly shook her head. She couldn’t be working in vain already. Even if she tried to do something, there was no way if she could not afford capital and opportunities. To do so, the priority was to adapt properly to the Imperial Palace.
‘Yes, so the most important thing right now is Alexei.’
Asha collected herself and took the scone she had brought. Since dreaming is only possible when she is alive, her priority was to improve her relationship with her cousin now that she was far from knowing when she could leave the Imperial Palace.