Chapter 60 – Home Made Pickles vs Special Shark Fins (C)
Hearing Ye Chui’s mild answer to Lin Wei’s question, that the content within the glass bottle was vegetable pickles, shocked everyone in the living room. They all suspect that they might have heard wrongly. However, no one could blame them for having this kind of reaction. Pickles vs sharks fin, it’s definitely a heaven vs earth kind of thing when it came to food. Looking at Ye Chui’s confident expression, they all thought he must have brought something incredible, but it was just a bottle of pickles. He even answered calmly, as though his pickles could actually be compared to sharks fin…
“P…pickles?” Lin Wei carefully repeated the word.
“That’s right.” Ye Chui nodded.
Wu Haimei was shocked. A stunned expression on her thin face. She never did say whether she agreed to Ye Chui pursuing Lin Wei, however, this brat actually dared to bring pickles as a first meeting gift…She pressed down her temper and said, “This pickles of yours, is it made from something amazing?”
“The ingredients are pretty basic, main ingredient is ordinary mustard leaf using my family secret technique” Ye Chui continued to smile as he answered mildly.
The atmosphere within the living room sank, a few seconds later, He Chengfei let out a ‘Hah!’ laugh. He gave Ye Chui as strange look, “After hearing your excellent talk just now, I thought you would bring out some great gourmet food. In the end it was just an ordinary jar of pickles?”
“Did I say it’s an ordinary jar of pickles?” Ye Chui turned the question back to He Chengfei.
He Chengfei gave a sharp snort. “ Didn’t you just say that you made it from ordinary mustard leaf?”
“That’s right. However, did I ever say that using ordinary mustard leaf would result in ordinary pickles?” Ye Chui continued to smile, then he turned to Lin Wei, “Wei Wei, please bring a small plate and a pair of chopsticks over.”
“Ok,” Lin Wei was almost blindly obedient to Ye Chui when it came to food. She obediently trotted over to the kitchen and after a while, appeared with a small plate and two sets of chopsticks; how could one pair of chopsticks be enough, she also want a taste too.
He Chengfei gave a snort. He felt that this Ye Chui was being unreasonable. Was it possible that this brat had been so shocked by the sharks fin that his brain had been scrambled? Still wanting to feed Wu Haimei pickles, did he really think that a madam like Wu Haimei would eat this kind of nonsensical food? He cast a glance at Wu Haimei, and noticed that Wu Haimei’s thin face was showing a trace of impatience. It looked like this mild tempered madam may actually lose her temper today.
Just then, Ye Chui was in the process of gently unscrewing the lid of pickle bottle.
In the next moment, a sudden sweet and sour fragrance permeated the air. The smell was actually quite gentle, but it was enough to attract the attention of Wu Haimei. She had been on the verge of losing her temper, but the smell managed to hook her attention enough to let out a soft ‘Yi?’ as she turned curious eyes at the source of the fragrance.
Within the crystal clear glass bottle, the pickles shone like gold pieces. Ye Chui held a pair of bamboo chopsticks aloft, and arranged a few pieces of the gleaming pickles onto the plate — plating was a basic skills all chefs must have. The pickles were expertly placed in the middle of the plate in a way that was pleasing to the eye. He placed the plate in front of Wu Haimei and the chopsticks on the side, with a smile said, “Would auntie like to have a taste?”
“Ye Chui, are you trying to make trouble for Auntie Lin?” He Chengfei said coldly, “You knew that auntie has anorexia, even gourmet food rarely tickle her appetite. And yet, you brought out this plate of cheap pickles for her to eat, this, you…”
His words stopped abruptly, because the stunned He Changfei had just seen Wu Haimei picked up her chopsticks. There was an expectant look on her face as picked up a single piece of pickled leaf stem and slowly placed it into her mouth and delicately ate it.
This was a perfectly normal way of eating. However, because the person eating was suffering from anorexia, it was quite shocking. Lin Wei’s eyes even moistened a little, it had been a long time since she had seen her mother eaten anything other than half a bowl of rice porridge!
Lin Wei’s eyes turned towards the little plate and picked up the other pair of chopsticks. She snatched up a piece of pickle and sent it into her mouth. A happy expression bloomed over her pretty face. The pickle felt plump and crisp in her mouth, not at all stringy or dry. The saltiness was quite moderate. As she chewed, a gentle sourness trickled onto her taste bud, followed by a trace of sweetness. Saltiness, sourness and sweetness all perfectly balanced — leaving behind an unforgettable after taste.
In fact, this pickled vegetable was nothing like gourmet food, however, its refreshing sourness stimulates the appetite very well. Lin Wei could not help herself and picked up another piece of mustard leaf stem.
He Chengfei was already shocked, but what was even more astonishing was when he heard Wu Haimei said to the servant, “Wu Ma, are there any more porridge from this morning? Quickly heat up a bowl for me.”
The maid quickly acquiescent and went to the kitchen.
In a short while, piping hot rice porridge was brought in. With the porridge in her hand, Wu Haimei actually felt hungry for food after all these years. Thanks to the mustard leaf pickles, her appetite picked up and she quickly drained more than half a bowl of the hot porridge. By now, Lin Wei and He Chengfei were both completely speechless. Between Ye Chui’s gift and He Chengfei’s gift it’s clear which was more superior.
He Chengfei also finally understood Ye Chui’s explanation of why using ordinary ingredients won’t result in ordinary pickles. He had thought that Ye Chui’s pickles were less than ordinary stuff. Who knew it could have such an influence way beyond his own sharks fin. Turning a surprised face at Ye Chui, he said, “This…just how is it pickled…is the method something valuable?”
“Valuable? It’s possible, but it’s something we have as a side dish with our meals everyday.” Ye Chui said mildly. It was the complete truth, even now Wang Shiyu was complaining about how sick she was of this pickle…
He Chengfei has no words, to treat a special pickle that could encourage anorexic patients’ appetite as a side dish for every meal? Even a wealthy young master like him felt like screaming at Ye Chui: Aren’t you being overly extravagant?
Wu Haimei placed down her bowl and chopsticks, and elegantly dabbed the corners of her mouth with a towel. This time, the look she gave Ye Chui was an indescribable expression — it was an expression that a satisfied mother-in-law would give towards her son-in-law.
Though the pickles appeared simple, and could never be a main dish, in practice it actually occupy a very important place on the dining table. It’s a time honoured dish since historical China, there were records of pickles ever since Zhou Dynasty, it was also described in the Book of Confucianism: Pickling Begin with Four Seeds of Thought, Pickled Chive, Pickled Chive Flowers, Pickled Water Plant, Pickled Ocra Pickled Chinese Celery, Pickled Bamboo Shoot. Here, the term ‘pickle’ is about curing vegetables in salt.
Ye Chui had used the original celebrated ‘Chao Shan Pickling Technique’.
Naturally, a variation of the Chao Shan Pickling Technique also existed here. However, though they might share the same type of tools, the craftsmanship, as well as the person behind each pickling technique will be different, which would result in different taste. Ye Chui’s skills was not limited to cooking meats and vegetables, he had also mastered other branches of gourmet cooking.
Today, as a first meeting gift with his future mother-in-law, Ye Chui deliberately Chosen to go with a jar of pickles. Because he knew, that for an anorexic patient, a jar of pickles that could increase their appetite was infinitely more precious and more valuable than any luxurious ingredient from the land or sea — thus, in Wu Haimei’s eyes, He Chengfei’s expensive sharks fin could not be compared with a single piece of Ye Chui’s pickles! Pickled Mustard Leaf – Oooh, I want to eat this with plain congee!
 I really have no idea what they are talking about, I nearly got into a pickle trying to find out more…