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TATSD Chapter 13

Chapter 13

There were not many people in the Ji family before. When Ji’s mother was still around, she was a frugal person. In addition, the original owner was a punk, he was always hanging around with friends and rarely went home for dinner. The demand for pots and pans was not high, whatever was available at home was enough to cope with the daily demand.

 

    After Liu Yimian arrived at Ji’s house, it was a problem to even get enough to eat, and he doesn’t have much food to cook with, so there was no need for extra tableware. Usually, a pair of chopsticks and a bowl would just solve the problem of food.

 

    Ever since Ji Wei returned home, everything is now back on track. Even the small matter of pots and pans is in urgent need of a solution. Otherwise, if there is more food at home, there will not be enough bowls and plates to hold them. Like the crispy pork belly that day, it was quite ridiculous that they have to use a wooden board to serve it.

 

    Ji Wei is the head of the family and is busy doing business to earn money. It’s normal that he doesn’t have time to take care of such trivial matters. Therefore all matters at home would be the responsibility of Liu Yimian. Although they are now as important as what Ji Wei is doing, they must be done well too. This is his principle of doing things.

 

    When the two arrived at the grocery store, they initially only planned to buy some pots and pans. But this ancient grocery store was like a modern small supermarket, and there was basically everything for daily use. When Ji Weiyi was inside the shop, the faulty habit of a cook followed suit, and he couldn’t help thinking about buying this and that. When the two came out of the grocery store later, including Liu Yimian, both hands were full of things.

 

    “It’s heavy right, why don’t you give me the oil?” Ji Wei transferred the steamer to another hand, regardless of whether Liu Yimian would agree or not, he directly took the oil can from his hand.

 

     Fortunately, this body is strong and vigorous, the original owner must have been exercising regularly. Although he has a lot of things in his arms, he could still persevere.

 

    The two of them didn’t dare to delay too much on the road, so they walked very quickly towards the house with their things in their arms. Even Ji Wei breathed a sigh of relief after unloading all the things from his body.

 

    “Brother Ji, did we buy too many things?” We agreed to go out to buy cloth and pots and pans, but we ended up buying steamers, oil cans, rice noodles, sauce, and vinegar. The clerk at the grocery store would also deliver the eggs that were just ordered. It cost half a tael of silver just at the grocery store, which made Liu Yimian feel distressed.

 

    Ji Wei counted the things he bought, “Things that are needed at home are never too many. I’m tired of eating noodles all the time, so let’s change to something else. Go and make some dough for me later, will you?”

 

    Liu Yimian nodded vigorously. Although his cooking skills are not as good as Ji Wei, he could still do simple tasks like making dough.

 

    “Knead two catties of white dough later, we shall make dumplings tonight. I will send some to a few nearby neighbors. I didn’t take care of my family previously, I need to thank them for the help all this while.”

 

    After sending Liu Yimian to knead the dough, Ji Wei chopped the last two pieces of pork belly left at home into very small pieces, mixed them with leeks, soy sauce, salt, and finally an egg that was beaten till fluffy. He then covered the leek and pork stuffing with a lid, and waited for it to season.

 

    Ji Wei took a handful of dried hay to start the fire. After the stove was hot enough, he boiled hot water in a pot and pour the new cream into the hot water.

 

    Not even a quarter of an hour later, the slightly solidified fresh cream began to melt. Soon two layers of yellow and white appeared in the small pot, and then the liquid began to evaporate gradually.

 

    After the light yellow oil was separated from the fresh cream, Ji Wei used a spoon to scoop out the yellow paste separately, and what was left are white cheese. The two different items were packed in small jars, and they were still kept in the well. One, he fears that the cream will go rancid in the hot weather, and the other was that there was no refrigerator in this era. So he uses the low-temperature well water to freeze the two items.

 

    When he was done with the work at hand, Liu Yimian almost finished kneading the dough. Although Liu Yimian knew how to roll the dough, he didn’t dare to go overboard without Ji Wei’s instructions. He prepared the rolling pin and stood by the stove, waiting for Ji Wei to come.

 

     Ji Wei made a hole in the dough, felt the hardness of the dough, and was very satisfied, “I was afraid that you might knead it too softly, this is just right.”

 

    “I’ll roll the dough in a while, and you’ll wrap the dumplings.”

 

    As Ji Wei spoke, he pulled out a small portion from the dough and started rolling out the skin on the wooden cutting board.

 

    Although rolling the skin is simple, there are skills involved in how to roll it quickly and well.

 

    Ji Wei flattened the small dough with his left hand, and rolled the rolling pin with his right hand quickly around the dough, after a few rolls, a round dough that was slightly thicker in the middle and thinner around it was thrown aside.

 

    Liu Yimian didn’t dare to delay and followed suit to wrap the dumplings.

 

    It’s just that ordinary people don’t eat dumplings made of white flour and mixed meat stuffing unless they are celebrating the New Year. Although Liu Yimian knows how to do it, he was still very slow. After he had wrapped a dumpling, Ji Wei had already rolled out another two skins.

 

    After Ji Wei rolled two catties of flour into three piles of dumpling skins stacked high, he took a pair of chopsticks and started wrapping the dumpling too.

 

    With his addition, the speed was suddenly much faster, and hundreds of dumplings were neatly placed in the newly bought steamer.

 

    Seeing that there was only a little leek and pork stuffing left, Ji Wei stopped Liu Yimian and said that he would do the rest.

 

    “Speaking of which, I haven’t eaten fried dumplings for a long time.” Ji Wei is usually busy and has no time to make them. The last time he ate them was a year ago. Since there is dough and stuffing available now, why not do it. “Mianmian, drain the water in the pot and pour some oil into it. We shall have fried dumplings later.”

 

    “Fried dumplings? What are they?”

 

    Wood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, and tea, out of which the most expensive is oil.

 

    Rapeseed oil costs fifteen cents a tael, and just three or four taels of oil will cost fifty or sixty cents, and you have to use it sparsely even during cooking to save money. To eat dumplings during the Chinese New Year, they are either boiled or steamed. Frying the dumplings that require the use of oil, is a way of eating that they have never heard of before.

 

    Liu Yimian’s face changed after hearing Ji Weiyi’s explanation, “Brother Ji, how much oil do we need for this?”

 

    Ji Wei pondered for a moment, and finally said helplessly: “As long as it’s delicious, it’s okay to indulge once in a while, and it’s impossible to eat dumplings often at home, it takes too much effort.”

 

    It makes sense, Liu Yimian stopped asking.

 

    The dumplings for frying were fish-shaped looking, which were more complicated than ordinary dumplings. One was to look good, and the other was to be able to cook quickly.

 

    After Liu Yimian heated the oil pan, Ji Wei put the wrapped thirty or so fish-shaped dumplings into the pan one by one. The frying pan crackled, and the thick aroma of chives and the enticing pork aroma spread throughout the kitchen when the hot oil was frying through the skin.

 

    The slender fish-shaped dumplings were cooked very quickly. When the skin on the side was colored, Ji Wei took the fried dumplings out of the pot and placed them sideways on the square porcelain plate just bought from the street today, revealing the bottom of the fried golden dumplings. Against the pale blue porcelain color, there was a different kind of beauty.

 

     In addition to the beauty of the food itself, the selection of tableware also requires a lot of attention. Great care should be used to enhance the harmonious combination of appearance and color.

 

    As a pastry chef, Ji Wei regards it as a code.

 

    The remaining hot oil in the pan was not wasted in the end, Ji Wei cooked a pot of sweet and sour tomato and egg soup with it. Then he put the steamer on the rack and steam the dumplings in the pot.

 

    While waiting for the steamed dumplings, the two sat in the courtyard and ate the fried dumplings.

 

    The dumplings were charred and crisp on the outside, hot gravy burst in the mouth when you bite into it and gave out the rich aroma of leeks. The two large plates of fried dumplings were quickly finished by the two of them. Coupled with the hot and sour soup, it instantly relieved the greasy taste brought by the fried dumplings.

 

    Liu Yimian rubbed his bloated stomach while sitting on his small stool. His eyes were squinted, his two small legs were straight, and his small appearance looked very satisfied and comfortable.

 

    When Ji Wei saw this, he laughed, “I remember someone said that he has a small appetite, why didn’t I see it?”

 

    When Liu Yimian heard this, his face immediately blushed. He quickly retracted his feet, put his hands on his knees, sat down, and said, “Brother Ji’s cooking skill is so good, I, I couldn’t help but eat a lot more”

 

    “It’s alright, you’re at a growing up stage, it’s better to eat more. Clean up the table, and we’ll go to Aunt Zhou’s house to deliver the dumplings.” Ji Wei got up and stretched out, the dumplings that had been steaming on the stove for a quarter of an hour were cooked by now.  Compare to the crispy and delicious fried dumplings, steamed dumplings are fresh and fragrant, and the taste are also very different.

 

    The two of them held a bamboo cage each, they went to the surrounding houses and divided most of the steamed dumplings before going to Aunt Zhou’s house.

 

    At this time, it was around 6 pm, Zhao Dalong, who had been working outside for a day, was back from Zhang’s house, sitting at the dining table and waiting for the food to be served.

 

    Zhao Hu pointed to the red and beautiful plate of hawthorn and said, “Dad, try this. Brother Li gave it to me at the market today.”

 

    Brother Li was a hunter and often goes deep into the mountains. Unlike Zhao Hu, he ran deeper into the mountains than most people, so sometimes he encounters a lot of good things.

 

    Zhao Dalong picked one at random, his teeth were soured by the hawthorn, and his square face was wrinkled into a ball, “You bastard, the hawthorn should be prepared by your mother first before they are served. How can we eat it raw directly?”

 

    Zhao Hu smiled happily, but did not refute.

 

    Zhao Dalong leaned against the wall and sighed, “The carpenters have come to install the doors and windows these few days, it’s about to be completed soon and the house will be ready to live in in a few days. You should come and take a look, the house is really stylish, our small broken house can’t compare.”

 

    “Uncle Zhao’s house can’t be compared with Zhang’s house, but it’s still better than my house.” Ji Wei came in from outside the house with a smile.

 

    Zhao Hu immediately called for his mother “My mother is in the kitchen.”

 

    Ji Wei shook his head, “It’s okay that Aunt Zhou is not here. These are the dumplings that have just been made. I’ve brought some for you to try.”

 

    After distributing to the neighbors, there was still half a cage left, about thirty or forty dumplings.

 

    It’s still hot.

 

    “Come and taste it while it’s hot.”

 

    Ji Wei put the steamer on the table, instructed Zhao Hu to get the plate, and urged Zhao Dalong to eat.

 

    Zhao Dalong couldn’t resist it, so he ate a piece. He didn’t expect that there was meat in it. It was very fresh and juicy. You could still feel the aftertaste after swallowing it.

 

    As soon as Zhao Hu took out the plate, Ji Wei put all the rest of the dumplings on it.

 

    Zhao Dalong frowned and said that it was too much, Ji Wei smiled and said, “Uncle Zhao, thanks to you, I saved the money for buying bricks. These dumplings are not just for you, but I also want to thank Aunt Zhou for taking care of my family Mianmian on weekdays. Even if you reject it, you can’t reject it for Aunt Zhou.”

 

    Zhao Dalong was choked by what Ji Wei had said and stopped eating.

 

    “Yo, Mianmian, Ji Wei, why are you here?”

 

    Aunt Zhou, who was holding a plate in one hand, saw the two of them, and immediately walked over with a smile on her face.

 


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