Chapter 32 Unfairness
“Mammy, where is the small jar I asked you to wash the day before yesterday?” Su Li’s voice interrupted Mammy Li’s thinking. Coming to her sense immediately, the mammy bent down and took the jar under the stove out on the table.
“Mammy is so considerate. The jar is perfect in size.”
After the praise, Su Li put the whole hen into the jar, added the soy sauce, yellow rice wine and salt sealed the jar. Then she found a piece of while cloth and covered the jar with it.
“Mammy, attend to the chicken. It has to be marinated for half an hour. I’ll come back after doing some reading.”
Su Li ordered and left. Mammy Li immediately replied and looked back how long had passed by counting her fingers.
She brought an hourglass and waited while counting the time. This was a big deal of the Su Family’s restaurant. She didn’t expect the Second Miss to trustfully ask her to attend to it.
“I won’t let the miss down. Half an hour. Remember!”
Li Yan stared at the hourglass and spent half an hour almost counting the seconds…
After an exact hour, Mammy Li became motivated. She immediately got up and shouted, “Miss, time is over.”
After a long while, Su Li came over with a yawn and said with a smile, “Don’t worry. The time is not exact. It will be okay to marinate it longer.”
“I’m afraid that you’re delayed. It’s not easy for the master to value you. You cannot make mistakes.” Mammy Li felt aggrieved.
Looking gentle, Su Li smiled and said, “Mammy, you are the best.”
Mammy Li’s ageing face turned reddish. She took a sip and said, “You’re such a naughty girl…Hurry up and cook.”
Su Li opened the wooden cover of the jar and looked more serious. She carefully took out the whole chicken and bit by bit stuffed the fillings of chopped green onion, ginger, lean pork and diced shii-take she had fried with lard a few days before into the whole chicken belly. Then she opened the small porcelain bottle and evenly spread the grinded clove and anise powder on the chicken.
The series of dazzling operations made Mammy Li nearby dazed. There were so many complex crafts of a common chicken as with royal court dishes. How on earth did the miss come up with it?
“Mammy, come here and help me tie the rope!”
Mammy Li came to her sense but saw that the whole chicken was tightly wrapped in lotus leaves. She immediately tied a solid knot for the rope. Then Su Li wrapped up the chicken with two more layers of lotus leaves and brought the bucket of yellow mud dug up before.
“Mammy, apply the yellow mud to the wet white cloth with me. The mud must be even.”
Su Li applied the yellow mud first and Mammy Li immediately followed. With their joint efforts, it didn’t take much time to have the white cloth applied.
Finally, Su Li placed the lotus-wrapped chicken in the middle of the white cloth and tightened the chicken with four corners of the white cloth picked so that the yellow mud stick to the chicken. Then she removed the wet cloth, fixed the chicken with an iron frame and roasted it on the charcoal fire.
“It turned out that the miss had asked me to make a charcoal fire for the purpose.” Mammy Li was enlightened suddenly and couldn’t help wondering at such an unknown roasting way.
Su Li was absorbed in the cooking. She turned the iron frame every half an hour. The interval was so exact that she didn’t need a tool to count time.
Although she was a wicked female devil in her previous life, she showed so great attainments in delicacies that even the cooks of dining room in the imperial palace couldn’t compete with her. Her husband once said to her, “Only you and delicacies couldn’t be discarded in this world.”
Therefore, even if she lost everything, with revenge and destruction ingrained on her mind, she couldn’t forget to help her husband collect the s specialties of any place. The recipes engraved in her soul reminded her every moment that she didn’t have nothing at all and that there were her husband’s expectations after all.
After four exact hours, Su Li put down the iron frame with no expression, removed the charcoal brazier and picked up Beggar’s Chicken baked hard into a ball.
“Mammy!” Hearing the voice, Mammy Li, who was dozing off, suddenly woke up. “Miss, I am here.”
When Mammy Li looked at the big soil ball on the table, she felt strange that their long-term hard work turned out to be such an ugly thing.
“Mammy.” Su Li’s cold tone turned gentle, “Call Daddy in.”
Su Huanli, who had been asleep for three hours, was hungry at the moment. Hearing Mammy Li’s voice, he immediately rushed in without stopping. Seeing the big soil ball on the table in Su Li’s room, his eyes almost came out.
“Is this your new dish? It’s totally a mess! The old hen soup tastes more delicious than your dish cooked with mud!”
Su Huanli scolded so fiercely that his saliva spurted from his mouth, his eyesight blackened, and he felt the sky was collapsing. It seemed that he had seen the Zhu and Yang Families were laughing at him.
“Daddy, takes it easy.” Su Li smiled and gently knocked the surface of the yellow mud with a small hammer.
When the soil ball cracked, a strong and unrestrained taste spread. Instantly the room was full of fragrance, and even the guards outside couldn’t help but swallow, crazily staring at the inside of the room.
Su Huanli had forgotten the previous abuses and stared at the small soil ball cracked in half in front of him as if he was staring at his lover.
Su Li continued to knock, and after all the yellow mud shell was knocked off, the hot smell came over, mixed with a strong fascinating fragrance. The fragrance was more attractive compared with that of Zongzi.
Su Huanli even thought that the yellow mud could be delicious.
As if she didn’t see her father’s reaction, Su Li slowly untied the cotton rope and opened the wrapping lotus leaves. The real dish finally appeared in front of Su Huanli.
The chicken was so golden and glistening as if it was cooked with gold. What a feast for eyes! The temperature inside the lotus leaves was very high. After Su Li untied them, the hot steam mixed with white smoke slowly escaped from Jinyuan Court, and immediately the fragrance could be smelled from the whole Su House.
“What is the smell?” Zhu Yan tried hard to sniff and saliva surged wildly. Instantly the current dinner in front of her was as bad as chaff.
“Mother, it’s fragrant! I want to eat. Who is cooking?” Su Zipei sniffed the fragrance so hard that she almost closed her eyes and drifted away with it.
In the Jinyuan Court, Su Huanli was too busy eating to say a word, with oil all over his mouth.
When the chicken entered his mouth, the taste buds were instantly satisfied. The original crisp and tender taste almost took Su Huanli to the heaven.
“I can’t believe there are such delicacies in the world. How delicious!”
Su Huanli’s eyes became wet and fuzzy. He cried but didn’t stop, keeping stuffing chicken into his mouth.
In less than half a quarter, there were only the lotus leaves and the mud left on the plate. Su Huanli satisfactorily belched and ate up the whole chicken alone.
“Daddy, you ate too much. It’s time to go to the courtyard for digestion.” Su Li smiled and reminded her father.
At this time, Su Huanli woke up and remembered his purpose of coming over. But he ate up the whole chicken. What would he serve for the Yang and Zhu Families?
Su Huanli’s ageing face turned red and patted his head, thinking that it seemed that he had to continue to find the three-yellow chicken, which would be indispensable for the supply of restaurant. What a happy worry!
“Erya, you did a good job. The dish will definitely serve as the signature dish of the Baiwei Building.”
Su Huanli was restrained to praise her. In spirit, however, he had madly shouted in excitement. The dish was far more satisfactory. The taste was almost ten thousand times better than that of the previous signature dish of the Baiwei Building!
The Baiwei Building could become the best of its kind in the world relying on Erya’s cooking skills. He may become the richest man in the world and even entered the imperial palace to pay a formal visit to the emperor, and to receive the golden plaque!
Thinking about his good wishes, Su Huanli almost laughed.
After a long while, he woke up from daydreaming, coughing twice, and the voice was gentler, “Erya, I will send another three-yellow chicken in a few days, which will be given to the Zhu and Yang Families for evaluation. If the evaluation goes well, you are the greatest contributor of our Su Family!”
Su Li slightly held her father and humbly said, “I don’t dare to claim the credit, and I’ll totally obey your arrangement.”
“Good! You are really my good daughter. Haha…”
Su Huanli laughed and walked away, with his head held high. After offering the dish, who dared to say that I was dim-sighted from old age and impulsive?
After Su Huanli left, Mammy Li, who was waiting outside the door, immediately came in for clean-up and asked, “Miss, how does the new dish taste?”
Su Li shook her head and said helplessly, “Daddy ate it all by himself. I also want to know its taste.”
Mammy Li widened her eyes and felt surprised. It seemed that the master wasn’t worried that he was stuffed. He ate such big a chicken. But… She wanted to taste it too! Only the smell made people want to taste it.
“Well, mammy, prepare the dinner immediately. I haven’t eaten anything for a long time.”
Su Li reminded Mammy Li. The mammy suddenly realized it and said, clapping her hands, “Ah! Miss, you must be very hungry. The master didn’t leave some for you. I will cook right now.”
Su Li nodded lightly and looked into the distance. The selfish old guy Su Huanli didn’t change at all.
With the last experience of looking for the three-yellow chicken, the second three-yellow chicken was given to Su Li in less than two days. After the baking in half a day, Su Huanli took it away on time and left the Su House in a carriage.
“Miss, I saw the Third Miss in the carriage.”
After Su Huanli left, Mammy Li came over and said mysteriously.
Su Li smiled and said, “Mammy, are you doubting Daddy? The third sister was nearly killed by the scoundrel. Daddy took her with him to protect me. It’s a pity that the Third Sister is at risk.”
“So, miss, you knew there was a lot of gossip going on outside.” Mammy Li felt surprised and said, “Why didn’t I think of it? I thought the master would give all the benefits to the Third Miss.”
“Servants were talking about it, and I was not a deaf.” Su Li smiled lightly and turned back to the room.
On the government-financed road, the carriage squeaked along the way. Holding the slightly warm Beggar’s Chicken, Su Zipei lowered her head, her jealousy in her eyes almost burning out her reason.
She couldn’t wait to throw what was held out of her hands now!
Why did she have to be a substitute for the Second Sister? It was totally unfair for her to take risks and for the Second Sister to get the benefits was!