In Harvest Moon, favors for townsfolk are rewarded with new lines of dialogue and, if you’re lucky, with recipes for delectable new meals (incidentally, there’s nothing like waking up and eating a whole bottle of ketchup for breakfast). I always thought it was a simplistic representation of reality and that no one would actually, as a reward, provide the list of ingredients and simmering time for mountain stew.
However, there is truth in the simplistic. As I listened to the person I had come to know over the past few months tell me new, random stories with no coherence, followed by a step-by-step approach to the preparation of some variation of fried trout, I knew that life was really as basic as these momentary interactions and that at times there is no “bigger picture” to grasp. Sometimes all it takes to earn these gifts of thanks is an offered ear and a pair of false teeth.