8.The Chemistry Behind Cooking (3)

Jeong-woo, got outside and cast his gaze at the chemical world hidden in Doo-chi’s fur.

The thin hairs, like small fibers, magnified into cylindrical structures, and the information of the molecules attached to the cross-section came into view at once.

‘Excluding the basic organic compounds.’

He began to exclude particle-like substances commonly encountered in daily life, such as feed particles, excrement, and molecules of soil seen in the backyard.
Anything that shouldn’t be here.
Focusing on that, he noticed a yellow-colored molecule at the tip of the hair.

It was a paint component he had seen several times before.

It seemed that these paint particles were periodically moving somewhere.
The particles were layered multiple times.

Jeong-woo thoroughly examined the front gate and yard of Grandma Geumsoon’s house once again.
He didn’t see any paint components that matched the color.

‘Could it be a nearby house? I need to find out where this fellow went to narrow down the scope…’

While pondering, Jeong-woo’s attention was caught by Yoon Yi-seol, who was closely examining the hairs on the side.

“What are you looking at?”

“I’m searching.”

Perhaps because her flickering pupils were too close.
Jeong-woo stared blankly, captivated by Yoon Yi-seol’s delicate eyelashes.

The warm sunlight descended, reflecting off her jewel-like eyes.

There was a natural beauty that made his heart race.

In that moment, a memory grazed Jeong-woo’s mind.

A while ago, when he threw a sausage to Doo-chi, the dog extended its head over the fence, concentrating its gaze on a certain spot.
Just like Yoon Yi-seol was doing now.



“I think I found it thanks to Yi-seol.
Let’s go.”

Jeong-woo blew on his hand, as if blowing away the fur, and walked away in a hurry.
Yoon Yi-seol followed closely, asking, “Me?”

“I remembered where Doo-chi was looking.
If we know the direction, we’ve found half of it.”

“Jeong-woo, I don’t think I can understand chemistry, so are you just trying to downplay it so I can understand it?”

Yoon Yi-seol asked, her eyes filled with curiosity amid her hard work.

“Oh, you’re smart, aren’t you?”


Jeong-woo smirked.
Yoon Yi-seol’s radiant face kept tickling his heart, and without realizing it, he mumbled.

“It just naturally came to mind because you’re dazzling.”


The words slipped out.
Jeong-woo hastily spoke as he descended the stairs.

“The sky is so clear.
Can the weather be this good?”

“Why would your eyes be dazzled?”

Yoon Yi-seol’s question, tinged with a hint of anticipation, made Jeong-woo scratch his chin.


“It’s strange.
Usually, my fans would say that my face is dazzling when they see me.”

“But today, I’m not a fan, I’m your manager.”

“Ah, and also the director.”

Jeong-woo was surprised.

“If I force you to accept compliments about your beauty, wouldn’t you feel embarrassed?”

“If you’re a celebrity, it’s only natural to have that attitude.
My close sister said that.
She always said that hearing compliments about being beautiful makes you even more beautiful.”

Yoon Yi-seol looked straight at Jeong-woo with confidence.

“Oh, a compliment.
That’s what you meant.”

Jeong-woo regained his composure and looked at Yoon Yi-seol’s face as he spoke.

“In fact, it means that your eyes are dazzling.
It’s because of the difference in the refracted rays of light.
In the case of someone like you, the skin tissue absorbs all the dull photons and only reflects the white ones…”

“Oh my.”

Yoon Yi-seol widened her eyes.

“What kind of compliment is that?”

“That’s why it means you have a beautiful glow.
The refractive index of your skin is also exquisitely reflected, making it even more beautiful.”

“Enough with that kind of compliment.”

Yoon Yi-seol abruptly turned her head away.
Jeong-woo chuckled and then his gaze rested in the distance on a distant alleyway.

“It’s Doo-chi.”

Yoon Yi-seol’s head turned back upon hearing those words.
On the other side of the alley, she noticed a blunt tail swaying above a fluffy, bobbing rear end.

“Oh? It’s leaving!”

Yoon Yi-seol tried to run over immediately, but Jeong-woo grabbed her arm.

“I found it.
Where it ran off to.”

Jeong-woo raised his finger above Yoon Yi-seol’s questioning gaze and pointed to a house with yellow paint.
Yoon Yi-seol looked puzzled.

“It just went in the opposite direction of that house.”

“It will probably come back.”

Jeong-woo confidently walked towards the yellow door and peered inside.

“This rascal, making itself at home.”

As Yoon Yi-seol was shorter than Jeong-woo and couldn’t see inside, Jeong-woo extended his shoulder.
He held Yoon Yi-seol’s shoulder and lifted her head as much as he could, allowing her to see inside the door.
A smile immediately formed on Yoon Yi-seol’s lips.

“Oh, how adorable.”

Inside the humble dwelling, several puppies with fluffy fur and overflowing cuteness were gathered, their buttocks exposed as they had not yet opened their eyes.

The unfamiliar mother dog barked appearing wary of the intruder.
Yoon Yi-seol quickly lowered her head and said, “Sorry.”

Yoon Yi-seol spoke to Jeong-woo, who was standing in front of the door.

“Are those puppies Doo-chi’s offspring?”

“Well, I wouldn’t know.
But they look similar.
Their faces.”

Doo-chi’s face, unseen by Yoon Yi-seol, made her extremely curious.
Just then, a dog with a bone in its mouth appeared from the other side of the alley.

“Hey, Doo-chi!”

The dog, approaching in response to Jeong-woo’s shout, halted in its tracks.
Doo-chi, who approached with a wagging tail, was a chubby dog that seemed to have lived well and eaten well for a small breed.

“Do you know that your grandma raised you without a leash?”

Whether Doo-chi understood the words or not, its gaze was directed towards the yellow door.

“Let’s first reassure grandma inside and then come back.
How did you manage to squeeze through this narrow door?”

As Jeong-woo attempted to lift Doo-chi, the little rascal tried to escape.
However, before it could react and take even two steps back, it was caught.
Yoon Yi-seol covered her mouth and laughed at the struggling Doo-chi.

“This little one is heavy.
Yi-seol, please take the bone and throw it inside that door.
It seems like this gluttonous fellow brought it, thinking it’s food for his wife.”

“How kind of you, Doo-chi.
That’s right.”

Jeong-woo held Doo-chi’s head, and Yoon Yi-seol took the pig’s trotter bone and swiftly threw it inside.

“That’s done.”

As they made their way back to Grandma Geumsoon’s house, Yoon Yi-seol suppressed her laughter, which kept bubbling up as she looked at Doo-chi’s lifeless expression.
Then a thought suddenly crossed her mind.

“Jeong-woo, how did you find the yellow house with Doo-chi’s puppies?”

“Oh, um… The process was simple, but explaining it would unnecessarily complicate things.
Let’s skip it.”

Yoon Yi-seol petted Doo-chi’s head as she spoke.

“I can’t understand your magical chemistry, Jeong-woo.”

“The moment I saw that house’s door, it was dazzling, just like Yi-seol.
I must have looked like a big fan, right?”

“Not at all.”

Yoon Yi-seol’s gaze turned towards Jeong-woo, who was joking.

Although Yoon Yi-seol had heard from Sora unni that it should be a two-way street, she couldn’t help but feel increasingly anxious as it seemed to be one-sided from her side.

If that was a bad thing, it didn’t feel like it at all, so Yoon Yi-seol felt the urge to firmly grasp her thoughts.

If that’s the case, I hope the other side is the same as me.

As Yoon Yi-seol’s eyes met Jeong-woo’s, she quickly turned her head.

“…When I saw the nameplate, it said ‘Lee Sang-myeong.’ The yellow door.”

“I know where it is.
Oh, thank you.”

“No, please come to the feast tonight.”

Watching Doo-chi, who had gone out of the house, engrossed in devouring his food as if he had never eaten before, Jeong-woo greeted Grandma Choi Geumsoon and stepped out into the yard.

“Just a moment.”

Grandma Choi reached out to Yoon Yi-seol, who was following Jeong-woo from behind, offering her some rice cakes.

“Here, have this.
There’s not much that can be given to young friends like you.”

“Thank you, Grandma.
I really enjoy eating these rice cakes.”

Grandma Choi smiled kindly at Yoon Yi-seol’s bright smile.

As Jeong-woo stepped outside, he said, “We worked together, but there’s only one rice cake.”

“Let’s split it.


Yoon Yi-seol smiled brightly and simply replied.

“If Jeong-woo forgets, I’ll eat it all by myself.”

She seemed to enjoy teasing him as she giggled and hid it in her embrace.

“Shall we go to the bakery now?”

“It might take a while, so we should go grocery shopping first.
Can we eat while we’re at it? Castella cake.”

“That’s fine.”

As Jeong-woo walked toward the market, he took out the list his mother had given him and pondered.
Some of the ingredients for the dishes were bulky and heavy.

‘This is Soo-chan’s part.
The rest is mine.’

He picked up his phone and searched for Park Soo-chan.

-Where are you? We’ve already finished eating.

“Oh, Soo-chan.
Can you gather what’s left and meet me at the entrance of the traditional market? Come there.”

-Go grocery shopping? Okay.

Jeong-woo handed half of the list he held in his hand to Yoon Yi-seol, who was scrutinizing it.

“Do you want to check it out?”

“Is it okay?”

“Of course.”

If he handed Yoon Yi-seol a heavy bag and let her walk through the traditional market, he didn’t know what her fans might do.
In that case, giving her a task like this would prevent her from feeling like she came along for no reason.

And so, Jeong-woo and Yoon Yi-seol headed to the market.

A black van stopped at the entrance of a narrow alley with a sign that read “[Trial Traditional Market].”

The manager, who was in the driver’s seat, spoke to a chef dressed in cooking attire and setting up a selfie camera in a shopping basket.

“Hyun-shik, today’s filming will be aired as a Lunar New Year special.”

“A special?”

“The PD suggested having a home-cooked meal showdown with the housewives in that community center.”

Hyun-min, the chef of the late-night show “Delicious Treat” on Channel Olove, burst into laughter at the sound of it.

“A showdown with ordinary people?”

“Why not? The writer wants to capture something like a lively and heartwarming scene rather than focusing on winning or losing.
And the local elderly residents can be the judges of taste.
It creates a warm atmosphere, you know.”

“Just take it easy on me, okay?”

“Of course.”

As Hyun-min opened the door of the van, he said, “Let’s just do it.
If the ladies there are overwhelmed by my cooking, we’ll just treat them.”

“I’ll relay that.”

“I’ll carefully select the ingredients, so come for pickup in about two hours.”

“Okay! The filming starts at 5 o’clock, so we have plenty of time.”

As soon as they stepped outside, Hyun-min, familiarly switching on the small camera attached to the shopping basket, said.

“Tasty Treat! Today, we will source fresh ingredients from the traditional market to create the best flavors.
Are you ready to join us?”

As Hyun-min disappeared into the market, four men and women walked down the hillside.

“The bread is really soft.
It’s delicious.”

Yoon Yi-seol’s eyes sparkled as she closed her eyes while eating half of the castella.
Walking beside her, Jeong-woo said.

“We should have bought more.”

“No, if I eat too many sweet things, my face swells the next day.
I’m satisfied with this much.”

“I admire the difficult diet of celebrities.”

“But it doesn’t mean I starve myself.
Don’t look at me like that with pity.”

Jeong-woo moved the half piece of castella he was eating to the side.

“You seemed really eager to have this.”

“I don’t.”

“Your eyes were following it.
If you don’t mind, you can have some.”

“I won’t eat it! I’m not the type to announce what I’m going to eat.”

Listening secretly to the conversation of the two from behind, Park Soo-chan’s face became touched.

“Shin Ki-joon, do you see? My friend is actually having a conversation with Yoon Yi-seol.”

“That’s fascinating.
Even though he’s a stage manager, it’s rare to see Yoon Yi-seol become so comfortable with someone.”

“So, is that why he was chosen as the manager?”

“Since Starpiece is known for being very selective in choosing its staff, I think it might have something to do with the ‘White Magician’ stage.
She had the same expression back then.”

Watching the seemingly close duo, Park Soo-chan felt a pang of envy.

“I envy you, Han Jeong-woo.
You’re getting closer to your dream before me.”


Park Soo-chan pretended to laugh and said to Shin Ki-joon, “Do you have something like that?”

Arriving at the entrance of the traditional market, Jeong-woo turned his body.

“Soo-chan, if you buy everything written there, go straight to the banquet hall.
Don’t take a detour.
Yoon Yi-seol is making special noodles for the event, and if you eat too much junk food, you won’t be able to eat that.”

“Yeah, got it.
We’re going.
See you later, Yoon Yi-seol!”

Yoon Yi-seol bid farewell to Park Soo-chan and Shin Ki-joon with a nod as they walked ahead.
Then she turned her gaze towards the direction of the traditional market.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been to a market like this.
Oh, I’m excited.”

“Yoon Yi-seol, you should wear your mask.”

“Oh, right.”

Jeong-woo saw Yoon Yi-seol finish putting on her mask and said, “Now let’s go…”

“This way! This way!”

Yoon Yi-seol had already started walking briskly.
Jeong-woo, caught off guard by her speed, hurriedly followed behind her.

Yoon Yi-seol felt a renewed sense of excitement.

At the fruit corner, colorful fruits were stacked, and the aroma of savory oil wafted from the buckwheat pancakes.
There were also traditional Korean sweets, jellies, peanuts, and a variety of confectioneries displayed on the shelves.

Everywhere she looked, the distinctive ambiance of the market captured her attention, providing an indescribable sense of liberation.

She had never thought that escaping from her daily routine would bring such joy.
She eagerly exclaimed, “Jeong-woo, hurry up!” as she enjoyed the sights.

It was around the time when she was fascinated by the baby hanboks and flower skirts in front of a clothing store in the market.

“Um, Yi-seol.”


“Shouldn’t we start shopping soon?”


Yoon Yi-seol finally noticed the shopping list tightly held in her hand.

“I’m sorry.”

“Why apologize? I’m the one who interrupted your market outing.”

“It’s been a while…”

“Yes, it seems so.
Very much.”

Yoon Yi-seol, who had lowered her head in embarrassment, raised it again.
Her round eyes, visible between the hat and mask, scanned the market.

“Let’s start with the vegetables.
Although I’ve already figured out where everything is located.”

Jeong-woo casually remarked to Yoon Yi-seol, who was leading the way.

“That area is the fish section.”

“Ah, I see.

Jeong-woo smirked and followed Yoon Yi-seol without saying anything more.

The two of them arrived in front of a display filled with the pungent smell of fish.
Yoon Yi-seol quickly searched on her phone and then spoke to Jeong-woo.

“For cod, it’s best to look for ones with clear and protruding eyes.
So, where should we look?”

Yoon Yi-seol walked enthusiastically towards the area where the cod was piled up, closely examining the fish.
She then turned to Jeong-woo.

“What should we do? They all look the same.”

Jeong-woo also tried to find a cod with clear eyes, but they all seemed identical.

“Well, since we’re going to steam it, let’s just pick any.”

“How can you say that? Jeong-woo, the owner herself wrote that they have fresh ones here.”

“In that case…”

Jeong-woo focused his gaze on the scales of a frozen cod.
Examining the magnified world of chemistry, he searched for the cod with the fewest molecular structures that resembled bacteria and shifted his eyes.

As Jeong-woo silently examined the cod with his peculiar gaze, Yoon Yi-seol pointed to a different seafood shop on the opposite side.

“I’ll take a look at the goby over there.”

Jeong-woo quickly glanced at the cod.

‘The least spoiled one must be the freshest.’

Among the piled-up cod, one of them seemed to be the least damaged, with almost intact scales.

“Boss, I’ll take…”

As he reached out to point at it, a sudden arm swiftly grabbed it before him.


A man dressed as if he had just come out of the kitchen passed by Jeong-woo and stood in front of the shop owner.

“I’ll take this.”

“With your bare hands? Did you come from a restaurant or something?”

“Oh, it’s because of a cooking program.”

As the man, in his mid-thirties with a charming appearance, pointed to the camera attached to his shopping basket and smiled, the shop owner chuckled and expressed her liking, saying, “You look good.”

“I want them cleaned.”

The man who took out the cod from the black bag slightly showed it to the camera, with the gills reddened and the scales shining.

“This is a good fish with bright red gills and shiny scales.”

And then, he passed by Jeong-woo with a confident stride and disappeared.

“…I chose it first.”

Even though he had devoted himself to analyzing the fish’s chemical world while selecting it, the chef had effortlessly found and taken it away with his keen eye.

Left behind due to the difference in speed, Jeong-woo could only lower his head.

‘It’s not like I spat on it.’

The shop owner approached Jeong-woo.

“What can I help you with, sir? All the fish in our shop are fresh.”

“I’ll take a little more time to choose.”

Even when searching for corroded screws under the Han River bridge, he hadn’t been so diligent.

Jeong-woo searched again and selected the second and third cod with a lower level of spoilage.

“Please give me these two.
I want them cleaned as well.”

He put the cod in a bag and walked towards Yoon Yi-seol.

She was diligently examining the croakers lined up in front of a counter filled with anchovies and dried pollack.
Searching on her phone, she turned her head this way and that before choosing a bundle.

“The ones here have the yellowest area around the eyes.
The flesh is also firm.”

“Oh, miss, you know how to choose croakers.”


As Jeong-woo approached, the flattered Yoon Yi-seol shrugged her shoulders and looked away at the praise from the shop owner.

“Did you buy cod?”

“I did, but the best ones were taken by someone else.”

Jeong-woo pointed to the man dressed as a chef walking towards the meat section.

“That person.”

Yoon Yi-seol turned her gaze and was surprised.

“Oh? He’s a TV personality.”

“If someone hears that, they wouldn’t think you’re not on TV, Yi-seol.”

Chuckling, Yoon Yi-seol spoke.

“It’s just fascinating to bump into someone like this here.
I’ve seen videos of him taking selfies while touring the market.”

“Do you think he would be more surprised to see you, Yi-seol?”


Yoon Yi-seol playfully lowered her mask.

“There are a lot of people here.
It’s inconvenient for me as the daily manager to tolerate such behavior.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Let’s go too.
We’re going in a different direction, so we won’t have a chance to meet him again.
We have an amazing meat restaurant in our neighborhood.”

Jeong-woo tidied up without much thought and asked Yoon Yi-seol.

“Now, what should we buy?”

Yoon Yi-seol examined the list and spoke.

“We need vegetables.
But why is there only spring onions for the party food? Why aren’t there any other options?”

“The rest are heavy.”

Jeong-woo thought to himself, recalling Park Soo-chan, who would be carrying boxes full of potatoes and zucchinis, and silently apologized.

Yoon Yi-seol, who had been in a particularly cheerful mood since earlier, exclaimed brightly.

“Well then, let’s go for vegetables!”

“That’s the snack corner.
Vegetables are this way.”

Yoon Yi-seol took a step forward and abruptly stopped.

“Oh, let’s have some fish cake.
Oh, I’m getting hungry.”

Jeong-woo couldn’t help but laugh at her once again throwing a fit.
Even for Jeong-woo, who had been coming to this market for years, the maze-like streets of this market were a part that he still hadn’t quite adapted to.

“Yi-seol, people keep disappearing around you.
I wonder where the person who didn’t reveal what they wanted to eat went.”

“Yeah, where did they go?”

As they walked through the market and the distance between them became closer, Yi-seol couldn’t help but laugh bashfully at Jeong-woo’s teasing, which poked at a point that she didn’t want to be reminded of.

After that, it took about an hour to finish the shopping.

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