The head of the household, Yu Hai, looked down and thought for a moment before saying, “How about this? After spring plowing, let’s knock down the old residence and build a new five-room house. We can also widen the yard a little bit… No, it’s a newly built fence, so that would waste too much time and energy. It’s better to renovate the old residence and build a three-room house next to it, and then enclose it with stones. This way, Xiaosha wouldn’t have to worry about the house when he gets married in the future. We can make a door in the middle so that it’s more convenient for us to come and go between the two buildings!”
Yu Xiaocao really didn’t want to be too close to the two outrageously annoying people, Madam Zhang and Madam Li. She made a different suggestion, “Father, I think we might as well save more money and ask Third Young Master to help us find a residence in town, and then buy some fields around town. Let’s just settle down in town! In the future, Little Shitou will be studying for a long time in town, so it would also be more convenient for him to come home!”
Madam Liu was somewhat interested upon hearing her words. Little Shitou had only turned six after the New Year, yet he already had to stay in town to study by himself. As his mother, it was inevitable that she would miss and be concerned about her son at all times.
Yu Hai lowered his head and pondered for a moment, and then slowly shook his head, “Our roots are in Dongshan Village after all. You guys are still young, so you don’t quite understand the principle of ‘being sentimentally attached to your homeland’. Besides, your grandfather is still living here. No son would enjoy a happy life in town, while leaving his elders to suffer in the countryside.”
Little Shitou frowned and muttered, “But Younger Uncle lives in town. He eats good rice and flour every day, and he also often eats meat! Little Doudou’s attires are no different than the noble young masters in town. They even have a maidservant attending to him. He can live in town, so why can’t we?”
Little Shitou had been studying at Rongxuan Academy for less than a month, but his younger uncle, Yu Bo, had already went to the academy to visit him three times. Although Rongxuan Academy didn’t prohibit visits by relatives and friends, if it happened too frequently, it may leave a bad impression on the teachers. Little Shitou has also tried to obscurely remind his younger uncle, but his younger uncle didn’t seem to have heard it at all and completely disregarded his feelings.
On one occasion, he happened to meet the headmaster at the entrance of the academy. The headmaster stopped to talk to him cordially and was praising his second sister’s culinary skills when his younger uncle came over. After he introduced him to the headmaster, as if he was ‘burning the bridge after crossing it’, his younger uncle didn’t even look at him again and only cared about talking to the headmaster. The headmaster obviously didn’t want to talk to Younger Uncle, but he just tactlessly continued to flatter him. It was so freaking embarrassing!
After the headmaster left, Younger Uncle invited him to his house for a meal that day for the first time. There wasn’t any coarse grain in their kitchen at all, and was full of polished rice and wheat flour instead. There was a large piece of meat being cured inside a jar and chicken soup cooked in the pot. They were eating better food than the rich families in the neighboring villages!
Before they had split from the main family, their family didn’t have enough food to eat and warm clothes to wear, yet they still had to save up money to support Younger Uncle’s noblemen-like lifestyle in town. Little Shitou felt very sad when he thought about that. Even the chicken soup and stir-fried meat that he ate at noon seemed tasteless!
“Our family put all hopes on your younger uncle. Your grandmother is anticipating your younger uncle to pass the examination to become an official, and then get her a title of a ranked noble madam. Thus, she naturally wouldn’t treat your younger uncle too badly!” Yu Hai gave a somewhat weak explanation.
Xiaolian pursed her lips and muttered in a low voice, “Younger Uncle relies completely on the family’s support, yet he can still live in town. So why can’t we buy a house in town when we make our own money?”
“…Actually, our Dongshan Village is close to the mountains and sea, and the villagers are simple and warmhearted. Everyone will help each other out when needed. Isn’t that better than living in town and being unfamiliar with the people and surroundings?” Yu Hai was still a little reluctant to leave the village that he was born and raised in.
Yu Xiaocao had already arrived in this world for over half a year. She knew that people in ancient times had an extraordinary attachment to their homeland, so she didn’t continue to insist. She thought about it and said, “Then let’s built the house first. After we sell the vegetables in the backyard, let’s buy a house and farmland in town!”
“Almighty Second Sister! Second Sister is like a nouveau riche!” Being influenced by Yu Xiaocao, Little Shitou would throw out a couple of strange terms from time to time. This was something that everyone was already used to.
As usual, all the money was kept and managed by Xiaocao. Yu Hai pretended to be dispirited and heavily sighed, “Ay… It seems like I might lose my position as the head of the household very soon. Someone is trying to seize power!”
Xiaolian giggled and said, “We can all rest assured since the money is being kept by Younger Sister! She is just an accountant at most. Father and Mother still makes the decisions in our family!”
“Really? Why do I feel like Cao’er makes the final decision more often?” Yu Hai feigned an aggrieved expression, making the entire family laugh. Yu Hai laughed so much that his ribs started to hurt, but he still couldn’t stop.
Little Shitou joined in the fun and exclaimed, “We’ll listen to whoever is right! Second Sister is our family’s cash cow right now, so in terms of making money, we can’t go wrong as long as we listen to Second Sister!!”
Everyone burst out in laughter again and teased Little Shitou for being a little money-grubber…
Yu Xiaocao really liked the atmosphere at home. Her father didn’t have the autocratic and dictatorial characteristics of a feudal parent at all. He would just be somewhat pedantic occasionally. Her mother was completely devoted to her children. Her gentle motherly love and tolerant feelings provided the children with enough freedom to mature. The genuine concern and friendly affections among the siblings let her gradually forget her previous life, and truly regard herself as a member of the family.
The following days were busy and fulfilling. Every night, they had to work overtime to make braised food and pickled fish to be sold the next day, which Xiaolian and Xiaocao took turns to sell at the docks. On the days that she didn’t need to go to the docks, Xiaocao would plow the fields that had been harvested and plant new vegetables seeds.
The current temperature was more suitable for growing vegetables. With the addition of the little divine stone’s strengthened powers, the mystic-stone water’s ability to accelerate growth had enhanced. Hence, they could almost harvest a batch of vegetables every ten days. In other words, when other people’s vegetables were still small seedlings, the Yu Family was already selling their second crop of vegetables.
Along with the new batch of crops, the vegetables with slightly longer growth periods, which were planted in the four mu of land in the backyard, were also ready to be sold at the market. String beans, cucumbers, eggplants, and hyacinth beans… The Yao Residence would almost come over daily to buy vegetables. Sure enough, the person responsible for purchasing the vegetables was Xiaosi, who was familiar with the Yu Family!
Last time, the Yao Family had gotten the limelight during Old Master Yao’s birthday banquet. Most of the guests were rich landlords in and around town. Which household had the financial resources to grow vegetables in a greenhouse? In Tanggu Town, those who could eat green leafy vegetables could be counted with one hand.
At the Yao Family’s birthday banquet, not only did they have a variety of vegetables, they also provided a sufficient quantity of the greens to ensure that the guest ate to their heart’s content. Furthermore, the vegetables that had been watered by the mystic-stone water not only tasted better but also contained a light amount of spiritual energy, which made people want to eat more and more. After that, the Yao Family never stopped purchasing vegetables from them. Although there was spiritual energy in the vegetables, it might be apparent when eaten only once or twice. However, if people continued to eat them for a long period of time, they would gradually realize the benefits of eating these vegetables.
Old Master Yao was getting old now. He also went through a lot of hard work when he was young, and thus ended up with a lot of pain and illnesses. Ever since he began eating the vegetables bought from the Yu Family, not only did he become more energetic, his health was also getting better and better. In the past, there was a chilly sensation in his bones and joints during rainy and cloudy days. It had been raining continuously this spring, but his rheumatic pains didn’t act up. Recently, many of his old pals said that he appeared much younger after seeing him!
As the temperature got warmer, there was an increase in vegetables being sold in the food market. The steward who was currently in charge of purchasing goods and necessities felt that it was unnecessary to travel so far to buy vegetables every day, so he instructed his subordinates to go buy the vegetables at the food market. But the members of Yao Family immediately noticed the difference of the vegetables after their first bite. They summoned the servant responsible for buying the vegetables and found out that it wasn’t vegetables from the Yu Family.
The old master flew into a furious rage. Even though he didn’t fire the purchasing steward for this incident, he assigned an assistant for him. The assistant turned out to be Xiaosi, who often traveled between Dongshan Village and town. The head of the Yao Family immediately ordered, “In the future, only buy vegetables from the Yu Family! It doesn’t matter if it’s more expensive because the Yao Family doesn’t lack that kind of money. It’s fine as long as the old master is happy!”
As a result, the Yao Family became Xiaocao’s family’s first regular client!
Their second regular client was none other than Zhenxiu Restaurant. In the absence of new crops, Zhenxiu Restaurant was still able to provide fresh greens. As a result, they had another increase in patrons. Right now, Zhenxiu Restaurant could be described as ‘filled with guests every day, full house every day’! A lot of times, when people wanted to go eat at Zhenxiu Restaurant, they still needed to make an appointment or wait in line!
Of course, this wasn’t all due to the Yu Family’s vegetables, but also partly because Zhenxiu Restaurant introduced a new dish—roasted chicken!
Zhenxiu Restaurant’s roasted chicken was absolutely delicious! Rongxuan Academy’s Headmaster Yuan was a renowned gourmet. After tasting it, he commented, “The meat is tender and chewy, and comes right off the bone. With a brilliant color, the whole chicken is round and full. It has a perfectly savory and delicious taste. A unique taste with a lingering fragrance!” Not only did he finish an entire roasted chicken alone, he also packaged several back! His action caused his grandson, Yuan Yunxi, to feel extremely speechless.
Speaking of this roasted chicken, Head Chef Wang had wasted around twenty chickens as he tried to perfect the recipe. However, he was still unsuccessful after many attempts. With no other choice, Third Young Master Zhou personally took him to Dongshan Village to ‘learn from the teacher’.
There were more than ten procedures when preparing a small roasted chicken. It needed to be slaughtered, scalded, massaged, washed, plucked, simmered, blanched, dried, fried, braised, and more. Each step needed to be carried out in strict accordance with the cooking instructions. The ingredients for the roasted chicken also needed to be meticulously prepared. In addition, it was also very important to have an accurate grasp of the duration and degree of heat when cooking the roasted chicken. Therefore, Yu Xiaocao had to personally demonstrate three times before Head Chef Wang finally mastered the skill.
As soon as the roasted chicken was introduced, it quickly created a new trend. ‘If you haven’t eaten Zhenxiu Restaurant’s roasted chicken, then you’re too behind on the trend!’ Anyone, who had a bit of money and status, would be too embarrassed to go outside if they hadn’t tried this delicacy from Zhenxiu Restaurant because they were afraid of being asked! The greetings from friends and neighbors become, “Have you tried Zhenxiu Restaurant’s roasted chicken? It tasted…”
Oftentimes, except for the ones reserved for the private rooms, Zhenxiu Restaurant’s roasted chickens would be immediately sold out right after they were taken out of the pot. It had actually reached the point when the demand exceeded the supply. The reservations for the roasted chickens had already reached next month! For a period of time, it created a situation in which it was difficult to even get a chicken!
As a result, Zhenxiu Restaurant’s private room had also become very popular. This was because only the customers dining in the private rooms wouldn’t have to line up to eat the authentic roasted chicken. With that said, was it even possible for Zhenxiu Restaurant’s business not to be flourishing?Previous Chapter Next Chapter