Accompany by a fool to Do Farming
Chapter 77 : 新品 (New Product)
On this day, after Zhong Ziqi returned from the town, he got into the kitchen and ordered Zhao Zheng’an not to come in.
Zhao Zheng’an was curious about what he wanted to do. When they went to the town today, Zhong Ziqi went to the seasoning shop to buy several spices and went to the medical shop to buy several herbs. He also went to the meat stall and bought some meat. When Zhao Zheng’an asked him what he was buying all this for, he just said it would be useful.
Now it seemed that he would like to make some strange and unusual food again.
Sometimes he was particularly strange, how could he have so many strange and weird ideas? Zhao Zheng’an felt as if Zhong Ziqi was carrying a layer of dense fog (fig. completely misleading), occasionally clear and sometimes becoming hazy. He had no choice or option but to admit that he couldn’t guess.
Just a ger who grew up in this small mountain village, what secrets could he have?
Perhaps even if Zhao Zheng’an thought about it to the point that his brain was worn out, he would not be able to think of how frightening the real secret was.
Zhong Ziqi swore in his heart that he would not tell anyone about it unless he had no choice. In ancient times, it was easy to be treated as a demon, dipped in a pig cage, set to the fire and burn, it was not unheard of. He didn’t dare to take the risk so let him keep this secret to himself ba!
Zhao Zheng’an had nothing to do, so he went into the courtyard to clean the stables. In order to prevent the spread of the unpleasant odor, Zhao Zheng’an basically had to clean up the feces every day. He knew that Zhong Ziqi was a person who loved cleanliness so he naturally had to clean it up properly.
But as every minute and every second of time passed, then Zhao Zheng’an had finished cleaning the chicken coop and the dog house, but Zhong Ziqi still had not come out of the kitchen.
Zhao Zheng’an shouted uneasily, “Ziqi? Is everything alright? Is it ready?”
“It will be ready soon. Just wait a little longer!” Zhong Ziqi’s voice came out from the kitchen.
Zhao Zheng’an put his mind at ease when he heard his full of energy voice, which meant that there was nothing wrong with him. But his curiosity got the better of him so he put his hands behind his back and quietly walked to the kitchen. The kitchen door was tightly closed but there was a light wisp of smoke running out from a crack between the door and its frame. Zhao Zheng’an sniffed with his nose and couldn’t help but say, “It smells so good.”
This kind of aroma was so different that he didn’t know how to describe it, but in any case it was the kind that made people want to chop up a big chunk of meal.
After some more time, while Zhao Zheng’an was tweaking his ears and scratching his cheeks ( It’s an expression of anxiety, delight, frustration etc), finally Zhong Ziqi came out from the kitchen.
He was also carrying a plate of neatly cut meat on his hands but the color of the meat was dull red, drizzled with an equally dark coloured sauce on top of it, which looked particularly appetizing.
“What’s this?” Zhao Zheng’an asked, gulping.
“Meat ah! You try it, is it good?”Zhong Ziqi picked up a piece of meat dripping with marinade in his hand and put it into Zhao Zheng’an’s mouth.
Zhao Zheng’an felt a strange taste in his mouth, but the more he chewed this taste, the more fragrance it became, to the extent that the more he chewed the more his eyes lit up.
“Is it tasty?” Zhong Ziqi asked. He had already tasted it. It still tasted good, although he hadn’t learnt it properly and some of the ingredients were put in by him blindly, but it still smelled good and appetizing.
Sure enough, Zhao Zheng’an couldn’t stop nodding, “Delicious! Wife, what is this called?”
“This is stewed (braised) meat (卤肉: lu rou usually used pork meat). How is it? Not bad, right? I used a lot of ingredients.”
Pic of 卤肉:
Zhao Zheng’an gave a thumbs up in praise, it was delicious.
“Wife, do you want to take this over to the compound to sell?”
Zhao Zheng’an took another piece of meat and asked as he ate it. Zhong Ziqi had told him that the products here at the compound were too simple. Moreover, Ma hua (fried dough twist) and You tiou (deep-fried breadstick) were not really that difficult to make and those who were attentive would be able to learn it. As time goes by, it will naturally become less rare. They would not be able to earn much money from it anymore.
So they need to add more new ones to keep the craze alive and preferably ones that no one else could imitate.
Zhao Zheng’an recalled the big bag of ingredients that Zhong Ziqi had brought back and thought that if this could be copied by someone, then they would have to admit defeat since that person must be considerably too awesome.
“I do have this idea, don’t look at the fact that the spices are a lot, but it’s quite easy to make. it just takes a bit longer to make. These ingredients, we have to mix it all beforehand.It’s all in certain proportions …that is, how much is the right amount. The ordinary people really can’t imitate it. Furthermore, before we find the suitable person, just the two of us could do the marinade! I’ll teach you how to make it, if one day I don’t feel well, you can also take over. What do you think?” Zhong Ziqi asked him.
As long as they kept the proportional recipe of the seasoning, Zhong Ziqi believed that no one could make it.
“It’s just that we still don’t have enough staff.” Zhao Zheng’an stated the difficult problem they were having now.
Zhong Ziqi had obviously thought of it too: “Then what should we do? The compound there, it’s not big enough either. If we add a few more staff, obviously we will be very busy.”
Zhao Zheng’an thought about it, “Let’s put this matter aside for a while. I’ll look for a house. If it’s not working, we can find a place to build one. When the time comes, you can write to uncle and ask him to send us two of his competent and capable subordinates.”
Zhong Ziqi also thought it was a good idea. They were not in a hurry right now. At this moment, the fields have not yet thawed, so they couldn’t even start building a house if they want to, so they have to wait.
Instead, they could drop some small amounts of marinated meat into ‘Quite Delicious’ and see what the response would be.
“Well, no more talk! Let’s eat first.”
Zhong Ziqi directed Zhao Zheng’an to bring all the food into the kitchen. He had been working in the kitchen for several hours and was a bit tired. He used to be able to hold it all day long but now, after a few hours, he looked exhausted.
At the dining table, it was clear that Zhao Zheng’an had a special fondness for the braised pork meat, as Zhong Ziqi made it with the right amount of saltines and it was tasty. As a result of eating it with an empty stomach, one plate was not enough for Zhao Zheng’an to eat. But luckily, there was still plenty left in the kitchen.
In the following days, Zhong Ziqi began to teach Zhao Zheng’an how to season and make the stewed meat. With Zhao Zheng’an’s previous cooking foundation, it was easier for him to get the hang of it. Within a couple of days, he was able to make it in a decent way.
The stewed meat they made in the past few days, they ate some of it themselves, sent and gave some to Zhao Amu and the others to try. After that, they took it all to ‘Quite Delicious’ to sell.
Naturally, it caused another wave (of trend). Many people, like Zhao Zheng’an, felt that the food tasted strange at first but slowly, the distinctive aroma began to spread in the mouth. The fatty but not greasy meat made them couldn’t help want to eat more after taking a bite.
But the price was naturally very high. Everyone could understand it, since it was meat after all. Moreover, it was such delicious meat.
But even so, there were still a lot of people (continuously) coming to their shop every day to buy the braised pork meat. However, because they hadn’t officially started selling it, the amount of meat that Zhao Zheng’an and Zhong Ziqi brought over each day was limited so anyone who didn’t get one could only admit their bad luck.
Zhao Amu, Huang Amu and the others had already suffered enough from the excitement so at this moment they had already calmed down.
Only Zhao Lan and Huang Jinlei. Huang Jinlei seemed fine since his face was expressionless, so even if he was surprised, he didn’t show it. However, Zhao Lan was simply stunned when he looked at the long queue of people. He admired Zhong Ziqi even more in his heart.
But while business was booming at ‘Quite Delicious’, what let them didn’t know whether to laugh or cry was the matter of some customers gradually bringing their own jug of wine to ‘Quite Delicious’. If they order a plate of stewed meat, they could drink it for a long time.
However, because of the small size of the shop, they always had the take-away policy whether it was ma hua or you tiou, the customers could take the food away in a packet of greaseproof paper. The same goes for the jellied tofu, they could also bring their own bowl. Most people were still very cooperative.
Soon, Xiao Qinzi from Jinhua Restaurant came to find Zhao Zheng’an. Because Xiao Qinzi was the right-hand man of Boss Jin so usually, if he was busy, he would send him to the restaurant. Zhao Zheng’an and Xiao Qinzi were in regular contact. As time went on, they started to call each other brothers.
“Brother Qin, what (noble errand) brings you here?” Zhao Zheng’an asked and cupped his hands in greeting.
At this moment, they were sitting in the room in the courtyard that was used for handling work, both of them were all smiles while they looked at each other.
“Isn’t it still the matter of your family’s stewed meat? The boss let me come to ask you if you could supply us on a large scale?” Xiao Qinzi said.
Zhao Zheng’an shook his head : “Brother Qin, the stewed meat is not available at the moment. Our family is short of manpower and space. We have to wait a little longer before we can make it in large quantities for sale.” Zhao Zheng’an said with an apologetic face.
“Fine, I will tell my Boss when I get back. You and your Fu Lang are good at business. The things you come up with, one is more popular than the previous one.” Xiao Qinzi praised from the bottom of his heart, not to mention the cold noodles that Zhong Ziqi had sold to the restaurant which had increased their business so much that even in the cold winter season, people still came to buy it. Not even to mention, ma hua and you tiou that also made them earn a lot of money.
Zhao Zheng’an smiled modestly at his words : “Brother Qin overpraised me. It’s just something the insider made up, ‘a blind cat bumped into a dead mouse’ (aka dumb luck) so he just happened to work it out.”
His wife already told him that he should keep a low profile since ‘people fear getting famous like pigs fear fattening up’. 1[人怕出名猪怕壮 (rén pà chū míng zhū pà zhuàng) : lit. people fear getting famous like pigs fear fattening up (for the slaughter) / fig. fame has its price]They have to be modest and low-profile in everything. He also didn’t want to make Zhong Ziqi sound too awesome since it was not good to draw too much attention.
“Isn’t that an exaggeration? An di (Little Brother An), you know very well in your heart that you and your family’s Fu Lang are both capable people.” Xiao Qin Zi stood up and said : “I have to go back, we’ll have a drink and chat merrily later when we have time.”
Zhao Zheng’an also got up to see him off, “I’ll be waiting for Brother Qin then.”
Soon, another month had passed. The temperature had really just started to stay warm. The snow and ice have melted, so not even a trace of snow could be seen in the fields anymore.This also meant that the construction of Zhao Zheng’an and Zhong Ziqi’s new house was about to begin.
Before that, Zhao Zheng’an and Zhong Ziqi received a letter from Shen Yu Bei. In the letter, it said that he had learned that they were going to start building their house and telling them that he and Father Shen had to postpone their trip. In about half a month’s time, they would officially depart and arrive at their place when their house would be almost finished. In the letter, he also wrote that the family was happy that Zhong Ziqi had a child and that they wanted Zhong Ziqi to take care of his health and not to work too hard. In the end, Shen Yu Bei wrote that he would select the people Zhao Zheng’an wanted and arrange for them to come over together with him.
Posting this while feeling so sleepy 😴
- 1[人怕出名猪怕壮 (rén pà chū míng zhū pà zhuàng) : lit. people fear getting famous like pigs fear fattening up (for the slaughter) / fig. fame has its price]