Cooking With Zack, pt 1
*snicker* Post-HC poked me, so. And, of course, it was too long for only one comment.
"...Why is Zack cooking?" Kadaj said warily.
Cloud looked up from the busted video screen he and Loz had been working on. Pieces were spread out all over the table.
"You did see Tifa today, right?" he said, blinking.
"Yes, well, can't you just fix her?"
"She has the flu, Kadaj. I can't do anything about the flu."
"So why is Zack cooking?"
"Because we have to eat, and I burn water."
"You cook better than Zack," Kadaj said, and Cloud let out a snort of laughter.
"You've eaten my attempts at cooking before, remember? Yazoo accused me of trying to poison you."
Kadaj hmmphed. "You're still better," he said huffily.
"Say that after you've eaten whatever Zack is concocting in there," Cloud said, and went back to trying to repair the screen.
"Taa-daa!" Zack said with a flourish, laying down two large bowls filled with...well, Cloud had no idea. They looked like really thick soup with hunks of meat and vegetable, only...only the colors...
"That shade of green is not one found in nature," Yazoo said, blinking.
"...Nor is that, what, is that orange? Red?" Kadaj said, pointing to the plate of some kind of cubed meat.
"I see why this took you all day," Cloud said blandly. Zack had definitely been working; there were the two thick-soup like dishes, the meat, salad, and a plate stacked high with some kind of flatbread.
Zack grinned. "I haven't had food from home in a long time, and my mom gave me some supplies a few weeks ago when I finally went to visit home. You guys are lucky, this is authentic!"
"...Authentic what?" Yazoo said, blinking.
"How do I eat it?" Marlene said, looking perplexed.
Zack grinned. "Break off a big piece of the bread, and dip it in the sauce. That green one's spinach and cheese tari, the reddish brown one is chickpea and pumpkin tari. That meat is chicken tone tiki."
"Oh, that clears it right up," Kadaj said sarcastically.
"Like this," Zack said, ignoring Kadaj and taking a piece of the flatbread and tearing off a sizeable piece, then and dipping it into the green sauce, scooping it so a piece of cheese was on the bread. Marlene, Denzel, and Loz watched him openly, with Yazoo watching surreptiously. Zack brought the loaded piece of bread over to his mouth and took a bite. "Mmm, perfect!" he said around the mouthful of bread, and Marlene took a deep breath, grabbed a piece of bread, and tore off a piece. She tentatively dipped it into the brownish sauce and then took a bite.
Her eyes went wide, and she immediately dipped another piece into the sauce, this time almost drowning the bread in it. "This is so good!" she said.
Loz seemed to take that as a sign it was safe, and so he picked up some of the bread and dipped it into the green sauce with one hand as he reached for some of the cubed meat with the other.
Zack grinned. "You use the bread to pick that up, too," he said, and promptly did so himself.
Yazoo and Kadaj exchanged glances, then both of them pointedly looked at Cloud and waited. Cloud snorted to himself, and picked up some of the bread, then stared at the sauces. They really weren't colors he'd ever seen occurring outside of poisonous plants that would melt your face off, but so far, Loz and Marlene were still alive, so he figured it wouldn't kill him. Zack had managed to life off the Nibelheim food Tifa made, even though more than once he had gone, "I can't even pronounce that!" when they would try to tell him the names of things, so Cloud figured he could manage food from Gongaga.
Or so he thought until he took a bite, and the spiciness made his tongue feel as if it had been lit on fire. He swollowed and groped half-blind for a glass of water and downed it at once, but he still felt as if someone had set off a Firaga on his tongue. "Sp-spicy!" he managed to splutter out, choking.