Bear Stew and a Good Wife’s Stew.
This story takes place after Chapter 35: Bear ※Drop-Shipped
This details the temporary couple life of Ritz and Sieg.
We were continuing to play being husband and wife.
With the excuse of not making people around us find out, I now have more opportunity to be close to her.
Maybe since I overdid it sometimes, she is acting a little cold recently.
I might be able to do this only now. After the contract period is over, the two of us become strangers. So I kept apologising to her inside my head.
I silently stared at her and hugged her by the waist. Getting hugged, Sieg was frozen up.
I caressed her hair and whispered, “I won’t do anything you don’t want,” and waited for her to leave herself to me.
A while later, Sieg entrusted some of her weight to me.
The way how she awkwardly lets me do whatever is unbearable.
I wonder if I was famished for the warmth of people. When I hugged Sieg tightly, I felt relaxed.
I felt uneasy that I was only one in bliss.
Since I had no plans to ignore Sieg’s feelings, I asked.
“Sieg, if you don’t like it, push me away.”
Sieg said “No,” in a frail voice and then stayed still.
If she meant to reject me, I would already have been slammed into wall.
She is doing her best to play ‘the role of the wife’. It was disheartening to think that, but the fact that we were connected now was more important.
I fulfilled my desires using Sieg’s effort.
Will this remain as a good memory?
Or will this remain as a sad recollection of the happy past?
“I love you,” such heavy words would be too much for her so I kept them in my heart.
I knew that these actions will be in vain, but I couldn’t stop myself.
My temporary couple life with Sieg continued like this.
It was time to eat the bear meat we received from Teoporon.
Since butchering and maturing bear meat was new to me, it took some time.
The way it’s matured is also different from other game.
First, the meat is carved up into different parts and then those parts are wrapped in clean cloth. Then, those are put in a box filled with ice from winter and stored in the underground cold storage for about a week. After that, the meat is taken out from the ice box then matured for about a month in the cold storage.
The important thing to look out for is the humidity. If there’s moisture, the meat rots. There are pipes connected to the underground storage for ventilation. The ice are brought from the mountains so they do not easily melt, but dew forms in summer so they have to be wiped frequently. In addition, charcoal from the house is placed in to remove odour and humidity.
The bear Teoporon hunted was in a period where it was viciously eating food after waking up from hibernation so the meat is delicious.
Furthermore, it was a female bear. There’s fat on it which is guaranteed to be tasty.
The meat brought over from the underground cold storage was finished well.
“Sieg, look, it’s bear meat.”
Sieg frowned after seeing the meat colour.
It’s no surprise. The fat is turning yellow, and the meat is darkish.
However, this is the best state of matured bear meat.
I received bear thigh meat sometimes from Teoporon. I don’t know how many times I failed so far. This time, I took care to not let it rot, so it succeeded splendidly.
Bear meat has strong game odour so one has to be careful when cooking it.
It has to be grilled with finely chopped herbs, or boiled in red wine while removing the scum, or simply roasted then eaten with sweet and sour citrus sauce to remove the smell.
Today, Ruruporon has the day off, so the two of us started working at the kitchen behind the house.
The meat is placed in red wine and herbs to remove the odour.
It was taken out of the cold storage after wiping the water off, and then it was chopped into bite-sized pieces before putting them in the pot.
Other vegetables are also chopped into suitable sizes. We used onions, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, along with many kinds of herbs.
First, the bear meat was boiled with herbs and vegetable peels and scraps.
Since the scum started rising, I removed them using a spoon. After it boiled well, only the meat was taken out and the rest were thrown out.
Red wine and clear soup was poured into a pot in a one-to-one ratio, and then the rest of the ingredients were put in. After that, it was boiled well over a light fire.
Once the ingredients were cooked, I added in a jar marinated tomatoes that I made as preserved food, and then I added condiments to add the finishing touches to the flavour.
After that, it was boiled for another hour.
“It takes a lot of work.”
“Since it has strong gamy smell and also because it easily becomes tough, the cooking process is hard as well.”
Still, I love bear meat.
Sieg helped out with the long cooking process without complaint. For the boiling, we took shifts. We cooked while we did gardening.
When dinner was done, I was smiling on my own peering into the pot of stew.
Sieg looked a little exasperated.
“Thank you for helping me.”
“No, anything Ritz makes is delicious. I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Sieg really is kind, saying the right things.
She really is a great wife.
When I tasted it a little, the bear stew was prepared very well.
I formulated plans to have bread and wine, as well as cheese.
When I headed for the front door with the pot, I came to face guests.
“Ah, Lord Revontulet.”
“I-It’s been a while.”
The people in front of the door were the village head of the neighbouring village and his second son.
Come to think of it, I had totally forgotten that we had an appointment today.
Once a year, we have a dinner with the head of the neighbouring village and exchange information.
I was too excited about the newlywed life with Sieg that I forgot about this important occasion.
“Is she the rumoured wife?”
“Ah, yes, she is my wife Sieglinde.”
Sieg greeted the village head and his son.
The second son was around twenty-five years old. If I recall correctly, he was still single.
Maybe because he was bothered about my wife, he stole cursory glances.
Since it was time to dine with our guests, I offered them seats in the living room.
As for the bear stew, Sieg took it to the kitchen.
While I kept our guests company, Sieg served herb tea. After that, she also prepared the meal.
On the table, there were bread Ruruporon baked yesterday along with thick cheese, pickled herrings and bird liver spread. It was an extravagant meal.
The bear stew arrived at the end. It was a masterpiece I made with my wife.
Sieg removed the sediments in the wine and poured them into glasses.
After a toast, it was time to eat.
The bear meat that was prepared well was very soft. The fat melted on the tongue. The sour flavour of the tomato went well with bear meat. The gamy odour was nonexistent too.
When I glanced at Sieg who was sitting next to me, our eyes met coincidentally. From her happy expression, I could tell how she felt. I can say that I did my best for this moment.
The village head also praised the taste of the bear stew.
There were a lot so I offered seconds.
“My, it was the first time I had such delicious bear stew.”
“I’m glad you thought so.”
His stoic son was nodding silently next to him as well.
“Even so, it is a pity.”
When I asked what was a pity, the village head something grand.
His son, next to him, looked flustered.
“I would have liked to have a lady that cooks so well as my son’s wife.”
The two of us froze in surprise.
However, Sieg corrected him promptly.
“Erm, it was my husband that made the stew.”
The village head looked surprised, while his son clearly looked disappointed.
I had thought that a correction was unnecessary, but it would be troubling if Sieg was requested to be married after our contract was over, so I concluded that it was the right choice to correct them.
Since the village head asked me, I wrote down the recipe and then we parted ways.
We got over it well, and they did not suspect my relation with Sieg either, so I felt very relieved.
Thus went the day I had bear meat with Sieg.