"Bring one more pot! Go get some turnip! Where do you think you are bringing this water? Boil it first!"
Standing in the middle of the open field, I watched as numerous crowd of cooks and servants was rushing about with their tasks. Since I was in control over the cooking process thanks to the Governor permission, I decided to separate this part of the camp in two.
The first one, located just beyond the illusionary fence made out of just a few sticks smashed into the ground, was following the standard procedures, using the ingredients they intended to use in the way the wanted to. On the other side, all those poor people subjected to my power on the other side of the 'fence' had to reshuffle their entire mindset, with how I stopped almost every single task they wanted to tackle.
"Okay guys, this won't do. Everyone, gather up!"
After a few attempts to simply change their usual routine, I realised how hard it would be. Cleaning the vegetables in the same water as they would boil them, most of the attention paid to the meat, as if no other dish could be made from the abundance of the ingredients that were already prepared, not to speak about all the different plants - considered a weed - that were growing everywhere around the camp and at the opening of the forest.
If I wanted to turn their work into something really productive, everything had to be organised from scratch.
"Okay then, listen up."
Taking a look at the part of the crowd now obediently waiting for my orders, I assessed their number to be about thirty men strong.
"Starting from the left, ten of you step up!"
While in this day and age, most of the people were illiterate, basic calculus was something that everyone required to know. Unless you knew how to add and deduct, you would get scammed at every trade you would do!
"Now, you will be tasked with preparing the meat. Drain the blood, remove skin and dissect it into edible parts. On one leg!"
As if I were a general ordering the troops to attack, the designated group of men instantly jumped to the task. Maybe it was because of my decisiveness or maybe just because of the fact that they were placed responsible for the meat that the governor hunted himself, there was not even a single sign of anyone slacking now!
"From the left, five of you, step up!"
As I continued to give simple orders to the groups of cooks, in just a few minutes, from the chaotic bunch of servants that were annoying and bothering each other while focused on their own tasks, I created and organised units of people, all working in the separate field and doing tasks simple enough even for illiterate guys to understand.
"Why do you even bother? Back in Pilzno, you just added the spice to the soup!"
Standing right behind me, Elie snuggled to my arm, asking me with the curiosity filling her eyes. Taking a moment to enjoy the fact that such a nice girl was getting close to me on her own accord, I took a deep breath to calm myself down after scrapping my throat for a few minutes straight.
"You see, just like in warfare, when one wields an organised group with high morale, there is nothing in this world that could best him. This logic can be applied everywhere. You saw how they were scrambling against each other and taking way too long to finish a simple task like moving pot with water from one place to other. Look at them now!"
Resting my back against one of the supply wagons that separated the cooking area from the rest of the camp, I observed how my temporary underlings were orderly fulfiling the task that I gave them.
"Give me a moment."
Freeing myself from Elia's arms, I ran a few paces forward, smacking the head of one of the servants that attempted to throw a raw carrot into the pot with the water reaching the point of boiling.
"Scrap its skin before adding it to the pot! There is no point carrying all the dirt into the dish, is there?"
While I hit a man in his head, there was no hate or real force in it, just an action akin to a friendly nudge that one could serve his friends on every plausible occasion.
"Yes, my lord!"
There wasn't even a single noble in either of the cooking groups. As the highest class, even the poorest and lowest nobles were expected to at least farm the land, as it was what feed the entire population of the commonwealth. Thinking about this, only traders and in some insanely rare cases - craftsmen - were jobs that a noble could busy himself with, without losing the grace of his status.
But I simply couldn't care less.
By preparing a proper feast for the governor, I could attempt to not only gain his favour but also make him think about some basic reforms that I was already slowly implementing in Tarnow with the use of mobile kitchens. Even if the impact on the internal situation of the country wouldn't be that great even if he turned out to be as enthusiastic about such reforms as I was, it would always set some foundations for the increased prosperity of the lowest class!
"Okay, now, wait for the turnip to turn completely transparent, before throwing the water away. You guys, if you have bones ready, throw them to a big pot, pour the preboiled water and boil it again!"
With how everyone was using the water directly from the Vistula river for all the culinary affairs, I could only assume that they weren't bothered by the fact that just a few steps upstream, someone else was currently pissing right in it! That's why the very first thing I ordered them to do, even before organising them in a proper manner - was to get three big pots full of water and boil it for quite a while. Not only did it allow me to kill all possible microbes that could be harmful to a human organism in there, but the residual dirt and sand that was gathered along with it from the river had enough time to simply fall on the bottom part of the pot, allowing me to start making the soup with something at least close to clear water!
"So, what are you going to prepare? From how you got the bones in the water, the stock soup is obvious, but what about the meat?"
Always following me just a few steps behind as a proper wife-to-be should in this age, Elia looked over my arm at the diligent ants of cooks working around the tasks I gave them.
"Soup stock with a variety of vegetables, sour soup for those who want to have a taste, and as the best part, grilled meat!"