Breaking a few eggs (Attn:Ran)
Lono had been helping a lot lately. He was showing her more about the modern technology and he often accompanied her on outings in public. People tended to leave her alone when the large Hawaiian man was with her. Several people had commented about how cute they looked going on father/daughter outings. Mai was not entirely certain they looked very much alike but then again she perceived things differently so perhaps they just weren't as good and telling people apart and she was.
Her familiar, because Lono had chosen to become her familiar, liked to cook and was one of the chefs for the Manor. She rarely ate at all and hadn't bothered to cook things in...well, millennia seemed accurate.
However, she decided to do something for Lono for being good to her. He had once said that he enjoyed breakfast but didn't eat it as much because of the hours that everyone kept in the Manor. There were those who cooked for the familiars who kept daylight hours but Lono tended to have a late shift.
So, here she was trying to figure out how to cook crepes for him for when he woke up. Mai poked a finger into the powdery white flour and eyed it dubiously. Her other hand ran over the printed recipe.
The first step said:
In a large mixing bowl. ( She rummaged around in the cabinets and pulled out the largest one she could find ) whisk flour and eggs....
She was already lost. How did a person whisk?
Mina was graduating soon from law school and he wanted to make her a cake or something equally sweet to celebrate. Sure, he could have purchased something, but where was the pleasure in that? He could make something himself, especially since he'd taken a cooking class.
He entered the kitchen, and was surprised at who he found there. He almost hesitated; he didn't know Elder Mai well. He knew she was Hana's Creator, of course, but he also knew if he put a toe out of line Amir would murder him. Or worse.
Ran was not good at keeping toes in line, pretty much ever. But he was on a mission so he forged gamely ahead.
He looked at her with purple and pink swirled contact lenses. "Everything okay?"
Ran would almost say she looked... confused, maybe?
She turned to Amir's son when he greeted her. "Konbanwa, Ran-san."
He asked if everything was okay. Mai shook her head. "I do not know how to whisk." Holding up the card, she pointed at the word to indicate her meaning.
"Have you whisked before?"
"Oh, crepes! That's a good idea. I can make her one of those crepe cakes. That's a great idea! Mina will love it."
He realized he was probably making absolutely no sense, but he shrugged it off. Happened plenty, anyway.
"I do know how to whisk, as it happens. Here, let me show you."
He held his hands out for the bowl, and a quick search around the kitchen revealed the whisk. When he had them both, Ran demonstrated the technique, careful not to go too fast lest he wind up with way too much air in the batter.
"You do it to either infuse air into something, or to break up little bits, like the chunks of flour in here."
Before he finished, he offered the bowl back to Mai so she could try it if she wanted to practice.
(ooc: assuming Mai hands him the bowl)
Apparently whisking involved a tool. She studied it and the movements that Ran made with it intently while listening to his explanation. It adds air if you go too fast or removes the clumps if something is lumpy.
Ran handed her the bowl. Mai hugged it to her chest and took the weapon, whisk. Raising her arm up to let her kimono sleeve fall out of the way, she then settled the tool into the batter and began to whisk, slowly...for a vampire anyway.
The mixture wasn't working as well as it had been when Ran had done it. Mai slowed down further. She felt like she was going in slow motion.
A little head peeped over the counter from the stool where he had been sleeping. The stoat crawled over and tried to poke a curious nose into the bowl. She slid it away.
"I do not think you are going to be very helpful, Yoshi-San."
"No, I don't think it smells very good either." Mai handed the bowl back to Ran. "Are we doing something wrong?"
((OOC: The mixture is probably fine but apparently Mai and her stoat friend don't have much appreciation for flour.))
Ran leaned forward to smell the batter. "I haven't ever made them before myself, but I think they smell ok. It'll change when you cook them. They might be kind of plain though. Did you want to add a flavor?"
Then he looked at the huge bowl the Elder held. "And how many were you planning to make?"
That bowl was large enough to make enough crepes for the whole Clan. They could double or triple the recipe, and make enough for Ran to also make a crepe cake for Mina. That is, if the Elder didn't mind them working together. But also, he figured they might need a few trial and error crepes. He didn't always get things right on his first try and from what he understood, crepes could be tricky.
What was the traditional method for making crepes? She did not wish to go against what was proper.
"How many crepes does one traditionally make for one person?"
Mai's hand shot out and scooped Yoshi up just as he was about to topple the bag of flour onto himself. The tip of his nose was now white and he sneezed. He then complained to her about the whole situation.
"Yes, well that was your own fault, wasn't it? Imagine if you were covered in it."
She turned to Ran. "What is our next step?
As her little friend almost doused himself in flour, Ran caught the bag while Mai caught him up in her hand.
"Well, sometimes it's what's done. Sometimes you put a filling in them like fruit or custard. Sometimes you layer them and make a cake, like I want to do for Mina. And you can either make them plain or you can add flavoring or color to them. That's part of the fun of cooking. You can be creative."
He tapped the recipe card. "This is the basic recipe, but if you think of it as a guideline instead, then you can do lots more with it. You still need the basic components in the right quantities, like flour and milk and eggs and such, but once you have those the possibilities are endless."
It was the thing he actually enjoyed about baking. Mara was exact, measuring every little drop and mote that went into her dished, but Ran liked the experimentation. Yes, on occasion it led to wasted food or ruined attempts, but where was the fun in trying, if you only ever got it right?
"As for the amount, it's whatever you think the person will eat. If you're going to put a filling in, then maybe one or two will be enough. Plain, probably a few more."
He leaned back a bit and crossed his arms over his chest. "So I guess we need to figure those things out before we get too much further. If you don't mind adding more to the recipe, I'll make some too. We can do it together if you want. I think Mina would like chocolate crepes. Who are you making yours for?"
And perhaps that meant that there was no wrong answer.
Many people over the many centuries had tried to add rules to fighting but in the end there was only one way to fight and that was to survive. It was the only outcome that was ever necessary to be successful at it. She had learned many rules that concerned fighting but she had never forgotten that basic fact. Perhaps if the crepes were edible then they were successful, not matter whether they followed a specific set of rules or not.
She was treading into the unknown but she had been doing that all her long life.
Making a decision, Mai answered Ran. "We will make two cakes and there will be fruit." Lono had grown up on a pineapple plantation and had mentioned in the past that he loved fresh things from the earth. He had once said that he loved feeding vampires because despite that fact that they did not need the food for sustenance they savored the things he made far more than most.
"I am making mine for Lono, my familiar."
Each crepe was usually coated with a thin layer of custard, frosting, or something similar so the fluffy, light crepes would form a multi-layered cake.
"So we need a fruit, we need a filling. Whatever fruit we pick will drive our filling, I think. The filling itself doesn't have to be fruit. We can do so much!"
His thought process might have sounded scattered; he was excited at having someone to cook with. Ran scampered around the kitchen, gathering more supplies... a lot more supplies.
"If we're going to make two cakes we're going to need to fill that bowl with crepe batter. So we may as well start there, and we can figure out our filling as we go."
In his enthusiasm, he completely forgot who he was with. Any modicum of restraint disappeared. He balanced stacks of ingredients in his arms, depositing them in a mountain on the nearest surface to where Mai had been mixing when he'd entered - well, trying to mix.
Ran decided they needed a filling. Mai nodded, willing to trust him and follow his instructions. "Hai, Sensei." She gave him a bow, a little deeper than her usual greeting. He was actually teaching her something and deserved her respect.
The question of which fruit they should use made her pause and consider what she had observed. "I believe Lono likes strawberries and...blackberries too." She had seen him eat some of the tart red berries while cooking something for the Manor and he had seemed very happy when she and Yoshi had brought in a cloth full of blackberries. Certainly happier than Mika, who had said that the shirt she had used to carry the berries would 'never be the same again'.
Her teacher was gathering other items and he had said that they needed to fill the bowl with batter. Mai nodded. She took note of how little was in the giant bowl currently and figured how much of the ingredients would be needed to fill it.
Nodding, she poured the entire bag of flour into the bowl and went to get more eggs from the cold box.
((OOC: I figure she has probably accurately guessed the amount of ingredients needed to fill the bowl...but she is probably actually filling it to full capacity. ))
"Oh berries would be nice. Mina likes them too, so that'll save us having to make multiple fillings."
Which would probably be a good thing, given the collection of pots, pans, and baking ingredients he'd just retrieved. The kitchen looked like a war zone and they hadn't even started. Excellent.
Mai upended the bag of flour into the bowl without measuring it, and Ran shrugged. Looking at the bag, he pulled out his phone and did a quick conversion. Some more math, and a few calculations, and he mostly guessed at the number of eggs they'd need.
"Don't forget to measure, Elder," he called over his shoulder to the small vampire raiding the eggs. "We're going to need about thirty six."
They'd probably all fit in the bowl. Maybe. But they could separate the batter into two bowls if they needed to. That would work.
Then again... Ran eyeballed the pile of flour. He could hear the voice of a small cat in his head blah blah blah measure twice blah blah something. He sighed, and began to slowly measure the flour between the huge bowl and the second largest one.
When Mai returned he showed her. "We want to keep the measurements as close as we can, if we want to get them right. Measure twice, pour once. Or something."
Mara would be so proud.
Perhaps the act of measuring was part of the ceremony. She didn't want to do it wrong and clearly she had because Ran repeated that she should measure and told her something that sounded like a time honored rule.
"Measure twice." Mai nodded.
She pulled out cartons of eggs. Mai counted them out loud in Japanese Twice. Cracking them each into the bowl, she then put the shells in the waste can near her.
"Yes, this smells better. No, you may not eat it." Yoshi had the good sense to stay where she had placed him but he was upset that she was ruining the eggs by putting them into the dough.
Mai poured the milk into one measuring cup and then into another one. Measuring it twice, before pouring it into the bowl.
While she cracked, Ran measured water and milk as the recipe called for, separating those as well so they each had the correct amount of liquid to add to the batter.
Once the eggs were ready, Ran handed Mai a whisk. "Now we work on whisking skills. Not too fast."
Mai had practiced whisking already; Ran figured she had it down. He took the smaller of the two bowls and began to mix the ingredients together, glancing down at the recipe.
"Slowly add the water and milk. Okay. Usually they mean you add maybe half a cup at a time and mix it in, then another half cup, until it's all gone."
There would be more after this, but one step at a time. Ran felt pretty confident that they could make these. He'd heard they could be difficult, but he'd seen them done so he knew the technique, sort of, and they had plenty of batter. Surely there'd be enough for some practice.
But the manor was very well-stocked, even if they had to go through another thirty six eggs.
Ran eyed the refrigerator. Ok, he might have to run to the store.
She did this slowly like the instructions said. Her face mere inches from the bowl as she carefully poured in the liquid ingredients. A little stoat nose peered over the rim of the bowl with her.
Then she slowly practiced her new whisking skills, following Ran exactly, speed, stance, whisk position and probably even facial expression.
Once they had mixed in their second ingredients, she looked up at him.
"What is next, Ran-san?"
((OOC: I figure there might be trouble with the actual cooking part of the crepes. Who knows, maybe they will be excellent at it and I shouldn't doubt their skills. ))
But she was.
She asked him for direction once they had things mixed, and he consulted the recipe just to make sure they hadn't left anything out. It didn't appear that they had, so he got two pans of the same size and handed one to Mai.
"Now the fun part. Also maybe the hard part? I'm not sure. I've never done this before."
He showed her how to grease the pans lightly (with cooking spray, because it was easier). Then they went over to the stove and he turned the front two burners on medium.
"I don't know how hot these burners get," he said, "so this might take some trial and error. You might think every 'medium' setting on every stovetop everywhere would be the exact same temperature, but they aren't. If we make them too hot they'll burn, too cool and they'll never cook."
When he thought the stove was at temperature, he grabbed two ladles, handed one to Mai, and showed her what the technique was, in theory. He used a few tablespoons worth of batter, showing her the amount. He poured it into the center of the hot pan, swirled it to spread it around, and placed it on the burner when it was even. After a minute or two he figured it was ready for the next step.
"Now we just flip... oh. Uh. I didn't get... you know what, ok. We can toss them for now."
He had forgotten to get a spatula, so he was just going to attempt to flip it into the air and catch it. He was pretty sure it was all in the wrist.
(ooc: totally up to you if he catches it, or if chaos happens.)
He got them both new shallow metal bowls with handles and then they sprayed something strange smelling and greasy onto it. Then he handed her a long handled spoon.
Mai watched fascinated as Ran scooped up some of the mixture they had made and poured it into a circle in his greasy bowl. He then rolled it around with his wrist so that it spread in a nice circle.
Then he looked around for something. She looked around as well. Ran seemed to decide there was a different way to achieve what he wanted. Mai watched as he bounced the pan which sent the circle thing flipping into the air. She followed its motion upward and then back downward. Ran caught it again in the pan with a little wobble. The greased sides caused it to fall back down into the center.
Definitely more fun than whisking.
She took her long spoon, created her circle in the shallow bowl, tilted it so that it spread out. Mai then flipped it into the air. She wanted it to go high like Ran's had. She might have used too much force, it hit the ceiling before coming down. She caught it in the pan. It was not on the other side.
Turning away from Ran, hoping he didn't notice that her's was not flipped over, Mai reached in and quickly flipped the hot flat dough thing.
"That was fun. I will be more gentle next time." Next time her flip would be right. "Do we flip it again?
((OOC: I figure he might not know to rock it back and forth to get it to flip gently and so actually tossed it upward like most people think is what causes a nice pancack flip. Of course Mai would see this as THE goal and try to get it as high as possible. WoO!
Also: I figure there is a nice circle stain on the ceiling now. ))
"Well. We don't flip these again. And I'm not sure how clean the ceiling is so we might not want to serve that one to your familiar. But that's ok, there's plenty of batter left."
He slid his crepe onto a cool plate and loaded up a second one. This one spread out nicely in the pan, as the first one had, but when he flipped it it just sort of landed back in the pan in a crumpled heap. He shook the pan to flatten it out, which worked. There was a tear in the center but he didn't think that would matter if they were layering them into a cake.
On his third attempt, he did the same thing as Mai - only, the crepe didn't come down. It just stayed there, stuck to the ceiling. Ran stared at it. When it didn't show any signs of giving in to gravity, he set his pan on a cool burner.
"Um. Just a moment."
He leaped into the air, shifting as he did, and fluttered to the ceiling. He pried the sticky crepe away, but he underestimated the weight of it. An Indian Roller was not a very large bird. So the crepe dragged him downward as he fluttered awkwardly. In his attempt to get it down, his sharp beak easy sliced through the flimsy dough and the crepe dropped back down toward the Elder below.
(ooc: He absolutely has no idea how to properly flip anything.)
She took her not suitable crepe from the shallow bowl and laid it aside on the counter. Mai then poured her batter into the shallow bowl with her big spoon. She was concentrating on not flipping it high enough to hit the ceiling but still high enough to be fun. Who knew cooking was so entertaining?
It went up into the air and flipped over like Ran's had. Mai positioned her shallow bowl beneath it and caught it neatly with the right side up.
But her sensei's crepe had stuck to the ceiling. Mai made a sympathetic noise as she slid her crepe onto the plate with Ran's first one.
His crepe didn't come down. Ran hopped and then became a little bird. Oh, that was useful. Mai kept her attention on her teacher while also scooping up some more batter. She liked this new word, batter. Batter Batter Batter.
Ran's crepe started falling and Ran started going with it. She set her shallow bowl down in case she needed to catch the crepe-bird that was headed toward her. Her bowl was probably hotter than Ran would find comfortable. He pierced the crepe and managed to get himself out from under it.
Mai quickly grabbed her bowl again and just managed to get out of the way in time to catch the crepe on the edge of the pan.
She did dribble her batter across the front of the stove but that wasn't a huge problem. Mai didn't really even pay it any mind.
((OOC: I figure with ridiculous perception she should be able to 'keep an eye' on him and do her own thing since she doesn't really see normally anyway.))
Ran swooped back down and shifted back, chewing the tiny bit of dough and swallowing. "Hmm. Those taste good. Nice catch, too!"
Sadly, his failed crepe would have to join Mai's on the 'don't feed to humans' pile. That was fine; they had anticipated some failures. Ran simply grabbed his pan and his ladle and began again. With enthusiasm.
If some batter was flung as he did, he didn't notice. Ran simply threw himself back into making crepes, keeping an eye on Mai as well. She got the hang of it pretty fast, and they soon had a growing stack of crepes, but still a ton of batter. All for the best. The cakes needed to be at least six inches high, he figured.
"I wonder if they ever make crepe flipping competitions," he mused as they worked. "Actually, I wonder if crepe flipping is even a thing."
It was a little awkward, since crepes on their own didn't have a lot of heft. He supposed it would have been better to get the spatula after all, but flipping them was much more fun.
After the first few, Yoshi squeaked his disapproval of having to cling tightly to her shoulder while she moved as much as she did. He had to stay with her for much more vigorous activities in the past but she recalled him making his displeasure known on those times as well. Since it was not life threatening for him to get down, Mai paused and placed him near the discarded crepes.
He nibbled on one corner of one and pronounced it disgusting. Of course, he was a well fed stoat and could afford to be picky. She did make him hunt for food but she often accompanied him and with vampire stoat back up Yoshi was sure he was invincible.
Ran wondered if crepe flipping was even a thing. Mai was confused. They were currently flipping crepes so it was obviously a thing. Maybe thing meant something different now. Or maybe he meant it like the Norse had meant it as a meeting of people making decisions...that didn't make sense either unless making crepes was a traditional meal for the assembly. She decided she had no idea what he meant and that it was wisest to keep silent until more information made it clear.
Yoshi had managed to squirm beneath the little pile of discarded crepes, knocking at least one onto the floor.
"You should get that Yoshi-san. We are not trying to make a mess."
The stoat squirmed out from under the pile, knocking another into the floor.
"You get that one. I will get this one." Mai paused her cooking to reach down and gather up the crepe that her fuzzy friend dropped. He was carrying the other in his mouth and trying to get back up onto the kitchen island. The crepe was getting in his way as he tried to climb back up to the counter. She had sympathy and took it too, placing them back in a pile beside her. Yoshi got back to the counter on his own and decided to sit on top of the pile that had done him wrong.
Mai smiled at him and went back to her shallow bowl. Her crepe wouldn't flip. She bounced the shallow bowl several times and eventually turned it upside down.
"Ran-san, it will not flip."