• Solo • A Chef out of the Kitchen

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Kirei Qe'Azour
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A Chef out of the Kitchen

Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:21 am



40th Saun, 719


Kirei opened her eyes slowly. She could tell that something was wrong the trill she awoke, but it took her several bits to figure out what. She was a caracal. It hadn't been a dream. Kirei fumbled her way to her paws, and just stood for several trills, trying to get used to the feel of standing on four paws instead of two legs. Then instinct kicked in, and Kirei gave in to its pull gladly. It made even the most basic things like standing and walking easier to manage. Kirei paused. Who was she kidding? The instincts of her new form made it possible for her to move around, never mind making it easier to manage. She knew...or hoped...that she would get the hang of it sooner or later, but there was definitely a learning curve involved.

From her bed, she could hear her family getting up and going about their morning rituals. Aiden was singing softly as he fed Ru. That made Kirei flinch with guilt. Normally, she would be the one who fed her daughter, but that was clearly impossible now. What would Hart think of the situation if he knew that she was unable to care for their daughter without Aiden's help? Would he try to take Ruari away from her? Was it selfish of her to hope that Hart would never find out so she wouldn't lose her daughter? Probably. Hart was Ru's father, after all. Aiden loved the little girl as if he was her father, but they both knew that he could never replace her real father. Nor would Aiden want to try.

Nothing was going to be accomplished if Kirei didn't get up, so she did, jumping down from the bed with ease since she let her body's instincts take over. She made her way into Aiden's room, and stood in the doorway, watching Aiden finish feeding Ru. He smiled when he noticed her presence. Then he frowned.

"So it looks like you didn't change back overnight." he said slowly.

Kirei growled softly in frustration.

"It's a good thing that I told your boss that you were...not well, and that you wouldn't be able to come in to work for a while."

Kirei growled again, then mewed in agreement. It had been Aiden's idea to tell Trudi that she had suffered a severe shock, and an emotional breakdown of sorts after seeing someone from her past. He'd told her that it had left Kirei deeply shaken, and terrified to go out among crowds of people, or deal with anyone outside her family. Originally, the plan had been for to take time off from work until she "recovered," but one of the other chefs had mentioned that they were short a hunter since one of the people who provided Cally's with wild game was injured. Aiden had taken it upon himself to offer Kirei's services in that area since hunting could be done without being forced to deal with people. Anything that Kirei caught would be brought to the restaurant by one of Kirei's family members, and she would be paid according to what she provided them with rather than as a chef until she recovered from her "trauma."

It was a decent cover story, and Kirei suspected that it wasn't entirely a lie. She had had a lot of time to think over the past couple of days, and she felt that it was awfully suspicious that she had changed into her current form trills after wishing desperately that she was a better person...one who was less selfish than she was. It had essentially been a wish to be someone other than who she was...and it had come true. Sort of. Kirei couldn't be completely certain, but she suspected that this was one of the abilities she had because she was Karem's daughter. If so, it was a good one to have...if she could just figure out how to turn herself back!

Kirei watched Aiden tend to Ru's needs for a few more bits before heading into the kitchen to make breakfast. When she reached the kitchen, she froze at the sight of her three youngest adopted children cleaning up the dishes. Had she overslept?! Just how selfish could she be? What kind of mother would ignore her own kids' needs like that? Kirei hissed when she realized where her thoughts were going. How exactly was she going to be able to make breakfast the way she was now? If she could do that, then she could go into work! Kirei hissed in frustration, making the kids jump.

"You're still a cat." Ryl said, pointing out the obvious.

"She's not a cat, Ryl. Aiden said that she's a caracal, remember? There's a big difference." Eris told her younger sister.

"You and I thought she was a cat too, until Aiden told us the difference." Aerin pointed out fairly.

Eris stuck her tongue at her. Ryl laughed, and called her sister a silly head.

If Kirei could have laughed at the exchange, she would have. Instead, she purred with amusement, making all three girls giggle. They finished cleaning up, and Kirei stood back, watching them. She felt bad about not jumping in to help, but in her current predicament, she would only make things worse.

"Kitty!"

Kirei jumped, and whirled around to see Tauriel standing behind her.

"Mommy Kitty!"

The three arc old girl raced over, and hugged Kirei's legs tightly. Kirei purred as hard as she could, hoping that Tauriel would see it as the hug she wanted to give her, and couldn't.

"Mommy Kitty play?" Tauriel asked hopefully.

Kirei hesitated. She wanted to. She really did. But if she wanted to keep her job at Cally's while she was stuck as a caracal, then she was going to have to hunt for them. And she had no idea how to go about doing that, so she was going to need all the time she could get to figure it out.

"Mommy Kitty has to work, Tauriel. She has to go hunting." Aiden told her.

"Mommy Kitty can't play, but we'll play with you." Aerin promised.

Kirei purred her thanks to Aiden and Aerin. Then she went over to stand by the door, hoping that someone would realize that she needed to go outside. Aiden followed her to the door, and opened it for her.

"Good luck, Kirei. When you're ready to come back in...hmm. You won't be able to fit through the cat flap we have on the door, will you? Well, we'll just have to keep an eye out for when you return. Hopefully, you won't have to wait outside for too long before someone sees you."

It wasn't the best solution, but it was the only one they had just now. Kirei mewed in acknowledgement, then headed off towards the woods.



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Kirei Qe'Azour
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Re: A Chef out of the Kitchen

Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:56 am




Getting to the forest was the easy part. Sort of. Simple movement was getting easier now. She still got into trouble if she tried to control it herself, but when she let her new instincts take over completely, it wasn't a problem. The real problem came when she tried to process everything her instincts and senses were telling her. Her senses were all...different. More intense. Her hearing and sight were the strongest, but even her sense of smell was better than it had been before she changed. And the sounds were deafening. She could hear the sound of running water, but there was no water in sight, so it had to be coming from a good distance away. She just couldn't tell where. She could hear sounds that her instincts told her were prey, but she couldn't even begin to guess where they were...or what to do should she manage to stumble across something she could hunt. What did caracals hunt, anyway? Did they fish more than they hunted? Cats loved fish, after all, and a caracal was a big cat.

Kirei had no idea what to do, and she hissed in sheer frustration. Then she took several deep breaths, and forced herself to calm down. She wasn't going to get anywhere if got so overwhelmed that she gave up before she even tried. Giving herself over to her instincts had worked when it came to balance, and moving around, so maybe it would help her now. It certainly couldn't hurt, at least. So she closed her eyes, counted to ten, and did her best to calm her mind. Once she had made some progress in that regard, she forced herself to stop thinking, and allowed the instincts that were screaming at her to take over.

It worked. Kirei's ears twitched as she heard something rustling the bushes several feet away. Her instincts told her it was food, and without even realizing what she was doing, she crouched down, and began to creep towards the sound slowly. As she gave herself over to her instincts, it wasn't that she walled herself away, and stopped thinking or feeling. It was more that she was a passenger in the caracal's head. The caracal knew what it was doing, so Kirei let her do it. For her part, she watched...and did her best to learn.

She continued to stalk her prey. As she got closer, something about the sound of the rustling told her instincts that it was a rabbit. Kirei had no idea how the caracal knew what the animal was by sound alone, but that seemed to be the case. She tried to pay attention to the sound so she would recognize it again when she needed to. Every once in a while, the rustling would pause. When it did, Kirei's instincts made her freeze as well, waiting patiently until the animal the caracal was stalking went back to whatever it was doing. Finally, her caracal instincts seemed to feel that she had gotten close enough. Under their guidance, she committed herself to the kill, and darted forward at full speed. Her paw stepped on a bit of dry grass, making a sudden noise that alerted her prey to its danger. It bolted, but her instincts knew how to handle that. Rather than chase after the fleeing rabbit, she leaped into the air, allowing her momentum to carry her forward. She landed on her prey, mauling it with her claws.

Well...that was successful. Sort of. Kirei thought ruefully.

The rabbit was most certainly dead, but it was in no shape to be suitable to be brought to Cally's to serve to their guests. She stared at the mangled rabbit for several trills before eating it herself. If she was going to keep hunting until she had something she could bring back to Cally's, she was going to need to keep up her energy.

The next nine attempts were equally unsuccessful. Five of the rabbits escaped completely, and the four she did catch were too mangled to be presentable. She ate those too. The one good thing that came out of the effort was that Kirei was learning how not to hunt. That, and she was now certain that caracals were ambush hunters. They hunted by stalking their prey quietly until they were close enough, then leaping, pouncing, or darting forward in a short run to catch it. That knowledge would be of great help when she tried to hunt without using the caracal's instincts to help her.

Her tenth try was successful in producing a rabbit that she could sell to Cally's. The next three attempts were failures, but after that, she had a lucky streak where she caught six rabbits and a mouse in a row. Four of the rabbits were in good enough shape to be sold to Cally's. By then, all of the prey in the area was aware of her presence, and she couldn't hear a single thing moving around. After a quarter of a break more searching, she decided to take the rabbits she'd caught so far home, and go try another part of the forest.

It was the right decision to make. After five breaks more, she had another three rabbits that were in good enough shape to be sold to Cally's, and a fourth that was not, but that could be given to Aiden to make a rabbit stew out of for her family. Kirei was ready to call it a trial, so she gathered up the rabbits she'd caught, and started to make her way home.

As she passed by a bush, three good sized birds exploded into the air. By the time Kirei's startled mind recognized them as game hens, her instincts had taken over, dropped the rabbits she'd been carrying, and leaped into the air. Her body twisted in mid air to allow her to change position as the bird closest to her changed direction. And it worked. As she landed next to the corpse of the bird, she couldn't help but think that she had seen acrobats with less ability than her body's instincts had just shown. It reminded her of all the times she had seen her cat twist in mid air as it pounced on the shadows it loved to hunt. Her cat was an acrobat, and it seemed that caracals could be, too.

That's certainly a handy skill to have if birds are part of your diet. she mused.

And it would probably be good for hunting prey that was hiding among rocks, too.

Kirei made her way home slowly, carrying the prey she had caught. She felt that she had learned a lot from giving herself over to her new form's instincts, and watching the caracal hunt. But it would take time for her to process everything that she had learned, and she knew that she was nowhere near ready to try hunting on her own yet.


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Kirei Qe'Azour
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Re: A Chef out of the Kitchen

Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:57 am




Aiden was waiting for her when she returned. He didn't say anything, but he did rub her head affectionately as she dropped her prey at his feet. Kirei watched as he picked it up, and added the animals to the ones she had brought home earlier.

"I'll bring these over to Cally's for you. Should I ask them if there is anything in particular they want you to hunt next time?

He paused, then continued.

"Tap the ground with your paw once for yes, and twice for no."

Kirei didn't think that she would be able to take requests any time soon, so she tapped the ground twice with her right paw. Aiden nodded, then was gone. It was still light out, so Kirei wanted to brush up on her reading. She might not be able to cook while stuck in this form, but she did still know how to read, so she wanted to take the chance to learn about some new cooking techniques while she had the chance. It would put her in good stead with Trudi when she was able to cook again. Kirei knew that she wouldn't be able to practice what she was learning until she figured out how to turn back into her true form, but at least reading about new techniques would be a good first step in truly learning them.

Wanting to read up on new techniques was one thing. Actually doing so...was going to be a challenge. Kirei found that much out quickly. Fortunately the book she wanted to read was sitting out on her desk. That meant that she wasn't faced with the impossible task of fetching it off of the bookcase...or trying to get one of the kids, and conveying to them which book she wanted to read. But as agile and acrobatic as caracals were, they were definitely not meant to be standing up on their hind legs for prolonged periods of time while looking at things on desks.

Kirei hissed in frustration as she tried to consider her options. It didn't take long for her to decide that she would be able to read better if the book was on the ground. So she reared up once more, and snagged the open book with her paws. Pulling it off the desk was easy enough, but when it fell, the shock caused the book to close. Kirei stared at it in dismay. What now? Paws definitely were not built for opening books. Or turning pages for that matter.

"What's wrong, Mom?"

Kirei turned and saw Kirion and Maerin standing in the doorway. Their expressions told her that they wanted to help her if they could, and they had hands while she did not. They would be able to open the book for her, and turn the pages as she read...but how to ask them? The entire family had adopted Aiden's idea to use paw tapping for yes and no questions, but this wasn't really something that could be explained that way. Still, she had to think of something if she wanted to get some reading in. After a trill, she placed her paw on the book. Kirion and Maerin exchanged glances.

"Do you want to read that?" Kirion asked carefully.

Kirei tapped her paw on the ground once. The kids grinned.

"We can help you with that." Maerin said eagerly.

"Let me get some paper and a pen so I can take notes on what you want to read."

Maerin dashed out of the room while Kirion opened the book for Kirei. Then he hesitated.

"What part do you want to read?" he asked.

Kirei would have groaned if she could. The book had been open to the page she had left off when it had been on the desk, but how to tell Kirion what she wanted to read about when she was restricted to yes and no answers? Or...was she? She tapped her paw on the ground three times.

"Three? Do you mean page three?" Kirion asked.

Kirei tapped her paw on the ground twice.

"Chapter three?" Kirion guessed.


Kirei tapped her paw on the ground once, and Kirion quickly flipped the book open to the right page.

"Is this the right page?"

Kirei glanced at the book. It was open to the introduction to the chapter where the author explained what would be discussed in the chapter itself. What she wanted was five pages into the chapter if she remembered correctly. So she tapped her paw on the ground twice, waited for several trills, then tapped it on the ground five times. Kirion frowned at her as he took a moment to figure out what she wanted of him. Then he grinned, and turned the page to the one she had requested.

"Five pages into the chapter, right?"

Kirion would have hugged her adopted son if she could. She tapped her paw on the ground once. Maerin returned with her writing supplies, and sat beside the book.

"Is that where I should start taking notes?" she asked.

Kirei tapped her paw on the ground once. Maerin glanced at the page the book was open to. Then she hesitated.

"It's talking about roasting food. Is that what you want me to take notes on?" she asked, seeking confirmation.

Kirei tapped her paw on the ground once in response. Then she began to read.

The dry heat methods of cooking include broiling, roasting, grilling, baking, sauteing, pan-frying and deep-fat frying. The latter three are all different types of frying food, and therefore will be discussed in their own chapter, as will baking.

Roasting is a technique where hot air envelops the food that is being cooked. This allows it to cook evenly on all sides at the same time. Food can be roasted in an oven, or over an open flame. The important thing is the temperature at which the food is cooked. Temperatures of at least 150 °C or 300 °F are required in order to cook the food all the way through in this method. Roasting food can enhance flavor through caramelization, and browning on the surface of the food. This method is more frequently used when cooking meat and vegetables.


Kirei tried to commit the information to memory. She knew that in order to truly master the technique, she would need to try it for herself, and practice it many, many times. But this was a start, at least. And in her current form, it was all she could do. Doing something, no matter how small, was better than doing nothing.

There were several recipes suggested after the description of the cooking technique, but Kirei only gave those a passing glance. It would do her little good to read them carefully when she couldn't actually try making them now.

"I'm done taking notes on the part about roasting, Mom. Do you want me to copy down the recipes, too?" Maerin asked.

Kirei tapped her paw on the ground twice. Kirion took that to mean that they were ready for him to turn the page, so he did. There were more recipes, so he flipped through those until he came to the next section of the chapter.

Grilling is a cooking method that involves dry heat being applied to the surface of food. It usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and is generally used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly. Broiling is a dry heat method that is very similar to grilling. Both grilling and broiling involve intense direct heat. The difference between them is that when grilling, the heat source is below the food being cooked, but it broiling, it is above the food. You can broil food in an oven, but grilling it requires a grill and an open flame.

As before, Kirei did her best to memorize what she was reading while her adopted daughter took notes for her. There were several recipes listed after these two techniques as well, and several of them sounded interesting. Kirei made a mental note to try some of them once she found a way to get back to her true form.

She wanted to read more, but before she could "ask" Kirion to turn the page again, Aiden came in to tell them that it was dinner time. The kids cheered, and raced into the kitchen. Aiden bent down and picked up the book Kirei had been reading, setting it back on the desk.

"Let's go eat, shall we? You can read more another trial. It's probably not a good idea to read too much at once in that form until we know how badly reading will strain your eyes."

Kirei purred in agreement, and followed Aiden into the kitchen.

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Yrmellyn Cole
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Re: A Chef out of the Kitchen

Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:16 pm

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Kirei

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Be careful what you wish ^^ But, if you happen to turn into a caracal, make sure to have loving and helpful family to support you until you are able to become human again. Poor Kieri. But, the story about how she’s hunting rabbits shows how she is one who takes responsibility and contributes with what she can even under very troublesome circumstances. The family can trust Kirei, no matter in which shape she is. Kirei can also trust her family. The part where they children helps her shows the mutual loyalty and trust without words. It’s a lovely story and I hope you enjoy your rewards.

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Cooking: Technique; Roasting is a dry heat cooking method where hot air envelops the food and cooking it evenly on all sides. Temperatures of at least 150 °C (300 °F) from an open flame or oven are required in this cooking method. Roasting food can enhance flavour through caramelization and browning on the surface of the food.

Cooking: Technique; Grilling is a cooking method that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food. It usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and is usually used for cooking meat and vegetables quickly.

Cooking: Technique; Broiling is a dry heat method that is very similar to grilling. Both grilling and broiling involve intense direct heat. The difference between them is that when grilling, the heat source is below the food being cooked, but it broiling, it is above the food.

Hunting: Caracal; caracals hunt by ambush; they quietly stalk their prey as closely as possible and then rely on a direct pounce, leap, or short run to catch it.

Hunting: Caracal; caracals are good at acrobatics; they use their agile leaping and climbing ability to catch their prey in rocks and from the air.

Hunting: Caracal; goes much better when you give yourself over to your instincts completely


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