Chapter 23: For the Sake of Gourmet Food
“Pei!” Su Nuan Nuan spat. “You’re telling me she’s of a noble character? Hah! Do you even believe your own words? True, she never mentioned anything about divorce papers. If she is really that stupid, she’d never be put in charge of your concubines. All she had to do is make you angry, and here you are, all righteously pissed off and ready to fight.”
“Unfortunately, even in her dreams she would never have imagined that her husband is a closeted foodie weak against gourmet food, allowing me to leap over this obstacle with ease. Kekeke, this is definitely a case where man proposes and God disposes. Hey, tell me, do you think Madam Yun will die of frustration when she realizes this?”
“Your tongue has gotten sharper and more poisonous in a short time.” Duan Tingxuan had no other retort to make against this and could only turn his head away, just in time to catch Hong Lian come out of the kitchen with a worried look on her face.
She quickly rushed the few steps over to them, bobbed a greeting to Duan Tingxuan, smiled at them and said. “Missy, the two ducks have been dressed and cleaned as per your instructions. We’ve lightly salted it and it’s now hung within the kitchen cupboard.”
“En, good, get the kitchens to send us an oven tomorrow.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded in approval. After some thought, she added, “If that Xue woman refuses to give us what we want, just say your master wants it…”
“Wei!” Duan Tingxuan’s face was all black. “Can you please don’t use my name to embezzle the family coffer? And to say all this in front of me? Do you think I’m deaf?”
“Yi? So you don’t want any roast duck? Or duck soup? If not, then fine. Don’t say I didn’t inform you, my skills with roast duck is not too bad…” Su Nuan Nuan’s face was expressionless.
Duan Tingxuan looked like he was about to choke, he forcefully swallowed and shouted. “Wait a minute, who says I don’t want roast duck?”
“You said it yourself, ah. All this talk about ruining your reputation with embezzlement…” Su Nuan Nuan watched him with her head tipped to the side, her innocent looking eyes nearly drove him mad: This woman…your mother, is getting harder and harder to deal with.
“Fine, fine, just get the oven, just say that I want it.”
In the end, the lure of roast duck was too great. Duan Tingxuan stared at Su Nuan Nuan with miserable face, he just could not understand how he was so thoroughly eaten up by the opponent. It’s not like he never had roast duck before, he was even sick of duck soup. Why is it that when this woman talks about roast duck and duck soup, he had the feeling that the flavours would be unique?
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The bone soup with the fat and impurities skimmed off was so delicious that Duan Tingxuan nearly swallowed his tongue. The bright and fresh fragrance with just a hint of sweetness was truly unforgettable. And these bones, perhaps due to the long stewing process, the meat on those bones were so tender that it did not have to be removed by hand. With just a gentle poke with the chopsticks, the meat just fell right off. When he placed the soft meat on his tongue, it just dissolved into gentle fragrance without a hint of greasiness.
The little marquis was actually in tears. He had never eaten such delicious meat in his life. The Hua Diau Fuling Pork  he had had at the Imperial Palace last new year could not even be compared. He really could not understand, just how this woman come up with such delicious food? It was just too out of this world!
He drank two large bowls of the soup in one go, ate the meat off three pieces of bones. At that moment, he did not bother with table manners. The only thing in his mind was the third bowl of soup. He had to finish the second bowl quickly in order to get the third bowl of soup. The pot of soup was not large, he estimated that there was only one bowl of soup left in its depths. It was just too bad that he could not have the whole pot to himself.
“Hong Lian, bring your lord another bowl.” Duan Tingxuan was in the middle of destroying another piece of large bone, and did not bother to look up as he said this.
However, he did hear when Hong Lian said. “Master, the last bowl of soup has been given to Missy.”
Duan Tingxuan felt like he had been struck by lightning. Looking at the full bowl of soup in front of Su Nuan Nuan, he gritted his teeth and said. “Can you really finish such a large bowl of soup by yourself? You should give me at least half. As a woman, you should watch your figure or you’ll turn into an ugly fatty.”
“What does a nice figure matter to a married, abandoned wife? Who cares if I fat? I’d rather eat my food happily.” Su Nuan Nuan smiled as she continued to nibble at the large rib bone in her hands.
Duan Tingxuan eyes looked like they were about to spew fire, he hated that he couldn’t just snatch that piece of bone from her hands. However, as a man, his face still wasn’t quite that thick, so he could only reluctantly let go of the matter.
When the soup was gone, Duan Tingxuan eyed the empty bowls in front of him for a moment. He picked, tapped at the edge of one bowl with a chopstick and crossly said, “The soup is gone, the bones are all gone, but I’m still not full, now what?”
Su Nuan Nuan had three little bowls of soup and three pieces bones and was actually quite satisfied. However, when she thought of Si Ping, Hong Lian and Xiang Yun who only had a single bowl of soup and one piece of bone each, it was likely that none of them were full yet. She sighed. While she did not care if Duan Tingxuan’s dog, Si Ping, suffered from lack of food since it was his greedy master who ate everything, both Hong Lian and Xiang Yun were her personal maids, and she could not bear to show them a cold face.
After thinking for a bit, she suddenly remembered the 2 jin of beans she had been stewing to make bean paste buns. She had actually prepared those to make travel rations once the divorce papers were served. In the whole excitement, she had actually forgotten about the red beans. When Si Ping appeared with the two wild ducks, Su Nuan Nuan had decided to settle on a wait and see approach, thus the red bean paste had not been used up yet.
She had intended to make some bean paste snacks. However snacks, whether steamed or baked, requires time. That rascally little marquis was already licking out his empty bowl like a starving wolf, so it’s obvious that patience was not abundant in that one. She guessed that by the time the the snacks are done, it would be supper time. Even if Duan Tingxuan was willing to wait, Su Nuan Nuan was not willing to have this rascal hanging around Mei Yue Lou for that long.
Therefore, she decided to try a different recipe and frowned as she considered her options. Suddenly, the ideal recipe occurred to her and she clapped her hands in excitement, laughing, “I have it, a delicious snack that’s quick and easy to prepare. Normally, we won’t be able to make this thing easily, but since the lord is here we could make use of him. Why don’t we make that?”
“What is it?” Duan Tingxuan was immediately suspicious as he stared at Su Nuan Nuan. “You better explain everything properly and don’t just see me as a coolie.”
“For this sort of snack, if you’re unwilling to become a coolie, you won’t get to eat.” Su Nuan Nuan’s eyebrows twitched. “Either you become a coolie, or you scram. Which do you choose?”
Too hateful and arrogant, how dare you tell this lord to scram. Duan Tingxuan bristled with anger, he was about to erupt in the king of all rages when Su Nuan Nuan continued, a yearning look blooming across her face, “Xue Mien Tou Sa (Snow Soft Bean Paste) snacks, ah. It’s been a long time since I’ve last tasted it. Just thinking about it makes me drool…”
The accumulated energy fizzled out. The prince’s two eyes were full of stars: A snack that could make even this woman salivate, just how delicious is it? Also, Snow Soft Bean Paste snacks? Even the name sounds lovely and alluring.
“What do you need me to do?”
The little marquis asked unhappily as he rolled up his sleeves. He had lost all hope for his tongue and belly. These two body parts no longer belonged to him. They were actually spies and hidden agents sent by Su Nuan Nuan. As long as there are good things to eat, no matter how he made up his mind to resist, he would be defeated by these two characters.
Author’s notes: Ha ha ha! It’s all for the sake of gourmet food, ah. Please vote and bookmark, ou ou ou!
 Hua Diau Fuling Pigs – Pigs that are fed on expensive Hua Diao wine (a type of Xiao Shing wine) and Fuling fungus to make them delicious. Kind of like wagyu beef that’s fed on beer and given massages.
 coolie – cheap labour
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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
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