Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 54 :做客 (As a quest)
The next morning, Zhong Ziqi fried the number of chinese breadsticks he needed for the morning, put them away, and went out with Zhao Zheng’an after saying hello to Zhao Amu and Huang Amu.
The people who came for breakfast at the ‘Quite Delicious’ found that the person in charge of chinese breadsticks had disappeared after just showing themselves for a while, but they didn’t care about that, as long as they had chinese breadsticks to eat.
Zhong Ziqi first went to the meat seller’s shop, and weighed a few pounds of fresh meat. He also bought fish and some seafood. Later he went to the tavern and bought a jar of wine too. There was so much stuff, Zhong Ziqi found things difficult as he looked at Zhao Zheng’an.
What to do?
Zhao Zheng’an thought for a moment: “Why don’t …… you go back first and hire a carriage to take the things back? I’ll go pick them up and take them to our home.”
“En, that’s the only way to go.” Zhong Ziqi nodded. He went to the place where the carriage rental was, with Zhao Zheng’an carrying the things and negotiated the price. Zhong Ziqi got into the carriage and went back.
“This little brother, how about our carriage? We specialize in the carriage for bringing friends and relatives, the price is not expensive and the outfit is also okay.” A man said to Zhao Zheng’an like a salesman, he also saw that Zhong Ziqi carried a lot of things, thinking that there might be guests coming to their house, so he came up to ask.
Zhao Zheng’an originally wanted to walk away, but just as his foot went out, he retracted his step. Carefully, he took a look at the carriage.There were three classes of carriages here. The lowest class was the flatbed carriage, which was usually used by the common people for hauling goods.
The second was the carriage with a ‘compartment’.The exterior was simply decorated.The richer people would take these carriages to visit their relatives.
The last of these was the finest carriage. The carriage also had a compartment,but the composition inside and out was particularly luxurious. Naturally, it was also very expensive and was usually used by the big and wealthy families. The common people remain at a respectful distance.
The man who greeted Zhao Zheng’an just now, the carriage behind him was an ordinary one with a compartment. It had some tassels on the outside and looked quite nice. Thinking that after picking up someone later, it was not a good idea for them to walk home, much less ride in a flat carriage, which was too beneath the guest’s dignity.
“All right. You come with me.” Zhao Zheng’an ordered this carriage straight away.
The carriage owner’s eyes lit up, knowing that he got work to do.
Zhao Zheng’an sat on the right side of the carriage and went to the Jin Hua Restaurant.
The Zhao Jia village was as peaceful as ever.
But that day someone suddenly saw a carriage with a compartment going to the back of the village. There was only one family at the back of the village, so it was self-explanatory as to whose house it was going to.
It has only been a few months since Zhao Zheng’an and Zhong Ziqi got married, they have become a family that everyone looks up to. Many people regret that if they had given them a little help as if they were doing some charity, would they have become as rich as Zhao Bao Gen and the others?
Talking about something aside from regret, let’s say someone saw a rather nice carriage going to the center of the village, the man stopped wandering around blindly and turned around to go back to the village again.
“Da Kui, why are you back again?” Several people sat under the old acacia tree in the village and looked at the man who had gone but returned and asked.
“Hey? I just saw a horse-drawn carriage go to the back of the village.”
“Behind the village? It’s going to the Zhao boy’s house, isn’t it?” An old Amu said in an old-fashioned manner.
“Aiyoo, this Zhao boy has married a good ger. Life is getting more and more prosperous.”
“No wonder! Every time I go into town, I see their shop doing a great business, with people coming in and out. I’m even too embarrassed to go in.”
The other Amu was the neat one: “What’s there to be ashamed of? Every time I go to town I go to their shop to buy some chinese breadsticks to improve the food for our Ah Da and the children. They all like it the best.”
“Is it good? We’ve never even eaten it!” Someone asked enviously, some of them became hostile towards it and some of them were not rich so they were unwilling to buy it.
“It’s delicious! My boy, as you all know, is so fussy about food that I buy him a few deep fried breadsticks. He even left the meat behind.”
“Is it really that good?”
“How could it be a lie?”
Zhong Ziqi was cooking in the kitchen when he heard a sound of talking at the front door so he knew they were back. He went to the front with his free hand and opened the door just in time to see Shen Yu Bei jumping down from the carriage.
“You’re here, please come in!”
Zhong Ziqi stood in the doorway and said with a smile, “The house is old, I hope you don’t mind.”
“It won’t. It’s nice and peaceful here.” Shen Yu Bei surveyed the surroundings and frowned: “Why do you live in such a remote place? How unsafe!”
Not far away was the deep jungle, in case there were ‘jackals, wolves, tigers and panthers’ coming down the mountain, how dangerous it would be for them to have a solitary house(獨門獨戶).
[豺狼虎豹 chái láng hǔ bào :
jackals, wolves, tigers and panthers (idiom) / animals who are dangerous to man and cattle / fierce and cruel people
It could mean literally those fierce animals and also bad people]
[ 獨門獨戶 dú mén dú hù : a house not sharing an entrance with others/ a single house which has its own entrance]
“It’s fine! When we first split up the family, we didn’t have a house, so we moved here. Now that we have money, we don’t really want to move, it’s quiet as you say, and no one bothers us.”
“Let’s talk inside! Don’t stand here.” Zhao Zheng’an said as he finished paying for the carriage and came over.
“Woof woof woof.”
“Woof woof woof.”
Before Shen Yu Bei and his servant could get very far away. Two barking dogs came from inside the house. Soon two big black dogs, which had been bred to be strong, ran out of the house and ran fiercely towards the two strangers.
“Da Hei, Xiao Hei! Don’t come over!” Zhao Zheng’an blocked the pace of the two dogs and shouted.
“Woof woof.” Da Hei and Xiao Hei stopped and looked at him innocently, barking twice at the strange visitors every now and then.
“Don’t mind them! These two listen to him the most.”
Zhong Ziqi said with a smile, these two guys were so humane that he and Zhao Zheng’an simply let them roam around without tying them up. No one came to this small courtyard, only Zhao Amu’s family came over here often, so Da Hei and Xiao Hei got acquainted with them.
“Good, they have spirit. They are two good dogs.”
Shen Yu Bei looked at the two dogs in an interesting way, watching him and Zhao Zhengan’s interaction, although he had never had a dog, he knew that dogs were actually just like people. If you treat him like a son, he will naturally be obedient to you as well.If you treat him ‘normal’, he will naturally treat you normal and without enthusiasm.
Hong Ying followed behind Shen Yu Bei and cautiously watched the two dogs to prevent them from suddenly jumping up.
When he entered the hall, Shen Yu Bei looked around at the small house. Although it was a bit simple, it was clean and tidy. It was a good place for people to look and feel relaxed so he had to say he liked it.
Shen Yu Bei thoughtfully looked around the house and thought to himself that the stubborn old man at home and Amu had always talked about finding a quiet place to spend their old age. He thought this was the right place. He thought it would be good to talk to them about this when he returned home.
Zhong Ziqi poured two cups of hot tea from the teapot and put them on the table. Their family originally did not have any tea leaves.He also had forgotten to buy it, and only when he arrived at home did he remember that he couldn’t serve people with plain water. But it was too late to go back to town.
Zhong Ziqi had no choice but to go to Li Zheng’s house to borrow some. He didn’t expect that Li Zheng’s house really had it, moreover it wasn’t a defective product, it was a medium to high quality tea. When he asked them, he also found out that they were from a wealthy family that used to live in the village. They were good friends with the Li Zheng family. Although they had moved away, they would occasionally bring some things to visit the Li Zheng family.
In those years, Li Zheng’s father was still alive. Although the old man was from a poor family, he had a wealthy hobby.These days, only ordinary people with nothing better to do would spend money on tea. The old man had only one son, Li Zheng, who was also filial. Since he could not afford the expensive tea, he bought the lowly tea that the common people could afford.
The old man was also known for his love of tea. Many people who were good friends with the Li Zheng family would buy tea as a gift during the New Year holidays. Those who had the money would buy some good ones, while those who did not had the money would buy ordinary ones as a token of their appreciation. When the old man passed away, there was still a lot of tea left in the house.
Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an did not drink tea either, so they asked for less. The Li Zheng family’s wife did not want his money but he was forced to take it by Zhong Ziqi.
“The two of us at home don’t drink tea either. We forgot to prepare it. This tea is not very fragrant.” Zhong Ziqi said shyly.
“It’s quite good. In my opinion,tea is just to quench thirst.” Shen Yu Bei said without much concern.
“And you two, don’t use ‘you’ (the formal you or respectful one)! Just call me little uncle( 小舅= Xiao Jiu).”
Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an looked at each other.
“Little uncle,” Zhao Zheng’an shouted as he took the lead.
“Er …Little Uncle.” Zhong Ziqi followed suit and called out.
“En.” Shen Yu Bei nodded his head in satisfaction.
“Then …little uncle, you talk to Zheng’an first, I’ll go and cook.”
“No need to make it too sumptuous . Home-cooking small dishes is fine.”
Shen Yu Bei called out to him and said not want to cause trouble for them.He wasn’t ‘a man of heavy appetite’, so he didn’t have too many requirements for food, it was good if he could eat it.
Zhong Ziqi agreed on the surface, but in his heart he didn’t think so. The Chinese have a tradition in their bones, no matter how close the two families are. Even if you are my oldest son, you can’t. Since he would stay for a meal, it had to be prepared hearty enough, not like the usual congee and small dishes eaten by the family — unpresentable.
The fish in Zhong Ziqi’s kitchen had already been cleaned and put into the pot. It was just that he was a little too busy to do it all by himself. He had to light a fire for cooking and cut & fry the vegetables.
Zhong Ziqi filled another handful of firewood into the stove before he stood up. He turned around and let out a startled “Ah!”.
It turned out that Hong Ying was standing behind him at some point, watching him expressionlessly.
Zhong Ziqi tapped his own heart as he was depressed, thinking how this man walked without a sound.
“What do you want?”
Hong Ying said with an expressionless face, “My master asked me to come and give you a hand.”
“No need, I can manage it. You can go inside and rest!” Zhong Ziqi waved his hand and said.
But Hong Ying stood still, no matter how much he persuaded him, it was useless. He finally gave up and pointed to the stove and said dispiritedly, “Then you can help me burn the firewood, don’t burn too much! Little by little, otherwise the pot will be scorched.”
Hong Ying looked at him for a moment and nodded slowly.
This worried Zhong Ziqi, who felt he was unreliable. At least, do not burn the fish in the pot!
Zhong Ziqi picked up all the other seafood he had bought and cleaned it, keeping an eye on Hong Ying’s movements as he cleaned it and making sure he could control the fire before he concentrated on his own work.
After picking out the prawns that he had bought, he started making this very simple Yan Shui shrimp. Boil the water in a pot before adding the prawns, spring onions, ginger,and salt. The prawns were slowly cooked until they turned red in colour and were ready to be taken out.
Apart from the prawns, there were still some oysters left. Zhong Ziqi marinated it for a while, beat the eggs in a bowl then mixed it with flour to make a batter.Add oysters and coat evenly.
As he asked Hong Ying, who was standing by, to help with the fire, he poured some oil into the pan and heated it up, adding the oysters and frying them until they were golden brown.
Bring the three finished dishes to the cupboard and put them away. The prawns were now not so hot and have cooled down, so he takes two of them and hands them to Hong Ying.
Hong Ying looked at them in silence, not taking them.
“How about you try them?” Zhong Ziqi handed them forward again.
Only then did Hong Ying take them.
Zhong Ziqi didn’t mind him either, as he scrubbed the pan clean and prepared for the next dish.
Zhong Ziqi, whose back was turned opposite from Hong Ying, did not see that Hong Ying nimbly and skillfully peeled the shrimp. Hong Ying looked at the shrimp in front of his eyes before he put it into his mouth, chewed it twice, and then his eyes suddenly lit up as he quickly put the rest of the shrimp into his mouth.
After he finished eating, Hong Ying wished to continue eating. He gave a couple of silent sounds and looked in the direction of the cupboard, but unfortunately nothing could be seen.
Smelling the aroma wafting from the kitchen Shen Yu Bei put down his cup of tea and shook his head: “Qi Ge’er has cooked a lot of dishes after all. Really trouble him.”
Zhao Zheng’an sat next to his chair and filled his cup of tea, smiled and said, “You don’t know, but Ziqi’s cooking is incomparable to ordinary people’s. Anyone who eats it will praise it, so let him show you his skills today.”
“Oh? Is that so? I’m looking forward to it then.”
Everyone in their family, even his brother, was spoiled and had never cooked before. He heard that Ziqi’s cooking skill was taught by his brother. Then he would like to see what his brother who had never cooked before, could teach him!