Chapter 236 (Part1): Taotie
Toatie – A ferocious mythological animal, the fifth son of the dragon king. It’s famous for being super gluttonous, so gluttonous that it ended up eating itself…
Here’s a clip of a bunch of them attacking The Great Wall of China it’s quite amazing! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0o8aC2aPhg
Translated by Gumihou
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Su Nuan Nuan, who happened to overhear Long Pingzhang’s words, couldn’t help but laugh out loud at his slightly petulant remark. She turned to Duan Tingxuan and said, “When you talked about His Excellency Long at Suzhou and Hangzhou, I really thought he was a steady, intelligent, upright to the point of being uptight, person. However, it turns out that meeting a person is different from hearing about them. I never thought he’s actually such a crafty person. I’d been wondering how such a nice, good child would ever call a black-bellied scoundrel like you a good friend. Looks like I had been misled all this while.”
“Not really.” Duan Tingxuan sighed, then said. “Wasn’t he dead at that time? When a man dies, his sins die with him. Therefore, the only thing I remembered were the good things. However, now that he’s come back to life, all those annoying habits came back to life with him. When I looked back now, I really felt wronged for all the grief I’d suffered because of him.”
“Is that so? However, since you are both trash from the same can, surely there’s no need for you to put him down like this? After all, each time you belittle him, aren’t you belittling yourself?”[Gumihou: Ooooh, ooohhhh, shade! Shade! Ahahahaha!]
As she jabbed and poked fun at her husband, Nuan Nuan ultimately settled on the Sichuan Poached Fish in Chilli Oil. Though the Fish Flavoured Pork Strips might be technically more difficult in terms of knife work, it still has a more commoner’s flavour to it. Not at all suitable for a food competition judged by nobles and high officials.
What was that? The Poached Fish is also a commoner’s dish? Don’t be stupid, as long as you can get your hands on some large and rare fish, this ‘commoner’s dish would immediately be elevated to ‘high end’. After all, there was no such thing as the black Iberico pigs available in this era to level up the pork strip dish. As to the question of what freshwater fish is considered ‘rare’ in this era, Su Nuan Nuan has absolutely no idea. She’ll just leave it to Manager Li to source that ‘rare big freshwater fish’.
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The next day, Su Nuan Nuan handed the list of ingredients to Li Qiushan. Manager Li was someone who prided himself in his deep knowledge and ability to keep up with trends. However, a glance at the list caused him to go a little crossed eyed and he had to wipe the sweat off his forehead. Finally, he said in a small voice, “Madam, this is… though cooking competitions are about skill as well as the rarity of ingredients, but aren’t these ingredients a little too… random?”
“I’m telling you to find these things, so go ahead and find them. Otherwise we won’t be able to complete our menu. Also, you of all people should know that it’s more advantageous to use as many rare and precious ingredients in cooking competitions.” After all, the judges were going to be high ranking officials and local celebrities, and Su Nuan Nuan knew that these people would look more favourably towards dishes that contained rare ingredients. With that, she shooed Li Qiushan away.
However, just as the young man reached the door, she added, “Try and get a bigger wine jar if you can. The bigger and older the better. The best kinds are the ones that had contained Shaoxing wine for at least a few decades. Manager Li, please pay extra attention to this point.”
“Yes, this one understands.” Li Qiushan respectfully agreed. However, the moment he stepped out of the building, his face grew bitter. Luckily he had always been the flexible sort and proceeded to make arrangements on the sourcing of ingredients. For the more common ingredients, he delegated the odd job men to find them, while he personally went out to look for the Shaoxing wine jar. The task to source out rare freshwater fish and other precious ingredients was given to some trustworthy ‘helpers’. Though these people were associated with the local rogues and hoodlums, as locals, they were more familiar with all the random mouse holes in the city. They, of all people, would know where one might find things like, say, a large 100-year-old Shaoxing wine jar.
It took them three whole days to assemble all the ingredients together. However, since fresh seafood could not be stored long, Su Nuan Nuan ordered Li Qiushan to send word to Fu Sheng Xiang and tell them that they would be paying them a visit the very next day. At this, Li Qiushan grew uneasy, why on earth would anyone want to shorten their preparation time after all? Whatever, let’s just do what the madam says.
Also, seeing how easy-going Su Nuan Nuan was and how amiable the little marquis had been, Li Qiushan dared himself to make a big request, “Please excuse this humble one, but this one’s mind is not at ease. Since there are more than enough ingredients, would madam be so kind as to make one or two dishes for the lord heir and His Excellency Long to try out? It would also set this humble one’s mind at ease. What does madam think?”
Duan Tingxuan was naturally unhappy at this request. To think that a brat would dare to suspect Nuan Nuan’s skill? What a joke, do you not know who invented butter, cream, Stuffed Eggplant and the Lion’s Head? He was about to verbally tear this young man into pieces when Su Nuan Nuan laughed and said, “Good idea, ah. If you had not mentioned it, I am already planning to make a few things for everyone to try. It’s been a long time since I last cooked, and I do worry about being rusty. It’s no bother, you stay here and chat with the lord heir. Just leave the kitchen to me.”
“Yes, yes, yes.” Li Qiushan was overjoyed by the unexpected good luck. Then, he cautiously added, “Would madam need some helpers? That is… the second master has warned us before, whenever madam is making something innovative, we may only instruct the most trustworthy people. Otherwise, if the method is leaked out…”
“Bah! Your second master is just too petty. Things like recipes may be kept secret for a while, but could they be kept secret for a lifetime? Enough, even if I get Si Ping to help me, or take the chefs who assisted me back to the city, somehow, sometime in the future, someone would have to bring the recipe over here, right? Otherwise, once I leave and no one knows how to make this thing, aren’t you just cheating your customers?” After all, Su Nuan Nuan reasoned, people who managed to be An Le Lou’s chefs must have been investigated by Duan Tingye already. Which was why Su Nuan Nuan had no qualms about revealing her recipes here.
At this, Li Qiushan beamed and nodded fervently in agreement, “Yes, yes, yes, madam has clearly thought over the matter properly.” With that, he happily went out to gather the chefs together and tol them to prepare themselves to receive the legendary heir’s wife into the kitchen.
Duan Tingxuan looked up at the sky, noticed that it was still quite early and said, “It’s just past noon, why don’t you rest first? It would not be too late to start the meal at dusk.”
Su Nuan Nuan was already rolling up her sleeves, “This dish is especially complicated, and it’s been a long time since I’ve made it. It’s better for me to practice a bit more.” With that, she sailed out of the room, Si Ping trotting quickly after her.
Here, Long Pingzhang suddenly materialized in front of Duan Tingxuan. With a gay little laugh, he said, “No wonder you tolerate sister-in-law’s many faults so. Hohoho, to think that it is all for the sake of food. I say, aren’t you too much of a glutton? When did you start becoming so subservient over mere food?”
Duan Tingxuan looked coolly down at this despicable fellow who rejoiced at other people’s misfortune, and proceeded to stab a finely sharpened knife into this blackguard’s guts, “How much of your memory have you managed to recover? Have you managed to remember the emperor’s face yet?”
Long Pingzhang: … … wuwuwu, I’m going to sit in this corner and force myself to remember…
[Gumihou: Hahaha, just what has Nuan Nuan made? Could anyone guess from the clues given?]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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