The process of making Buddha jumps over the wall was very complicated and Yu Xiaocao didn’t have any experience in her previous life in making it. She only knew the concept. After preparing ten sets of raw ingredients for the dish, Yu Xiaocao continually experimented with her cooking methods to find the correct way. The first few times, either the ratio of the ingredients were off or the ratio of the seasonings were off. Thus, the taste of the final dish was not as good as she would have liked.
However, even the failed attempts at Buddha jumps over the wall were delicious as it used top-notch delicacies. Yu Xiaocao was talented in cooking and her food was addictive. Thus, to the Yu Family members, the products of her failed attempts were still incredibly tasty. Therefore, before the day of the celebration that Royal Prince Yang had prepared for Little Shitou had arrived, the Yu Family’s old residence constantly had tantalizing smells wafting out of its walls. The fragrance of her cooking caused their two neighbors, the Qians and the Zhous, to drool constantly. Qian Wu, the little youngster, couldn’t stop himself from going over to the Yu Family’s gate to take a look. He really wanted to see what sort of delicious dish Xiaocao was making.
With each attempt, Yu Xiaocao wrote down what she learned in a small notebook using charcoal. The notes described what had gone wrong with the cooking process and proposed solutions to fix it. If she also discovered the most optimal way to cook an ingredient, it was also recorded down into her notebook…
Many attempts had passed and she finally failed eight attempts. On her ninth attempt, she finally hit the perfect ratios and cooking methods for all of the ingredients. The scent of the food wafted around the residence in a diameter of five kilometers, causing everyone who inhaled the fragrance to be intoxicated by the ‘Buddha jumps over the wall’ dish.
Every time Yu Xiaocao attempted to make Buddha jumps over the wall, Zhu Junyang was always there to taste it and give his opinions. He actually proposed quite a few useful opinions and propositions. After all, a true foodie’s mouth could taste all of the details. However, he managed to eat quite a lot of the attempts that were even deemed failures. Even the failed attempts were incredibly delicious that other dishes couldn’t even hope to compare.
When this ceramic pot of Buddha jumps over the wall was just finished, the smell that came out was incredible and could not be compared to the previous attempts. Even Royal Prince Yang, who constantly boasted that there were no delicacies in the world that he hadn’t tried, was also spellbound by the food’s fragrance. In fact, he almost lost his senses in the euphoric sensation of the smell.
When the ceramic pot was opened, the whole courtyard was bathed in its aroma. Zhu Junyang praised the food unceasingly after taking a bite and couldn’t think of any criticisms. Sure enough, Xiaocao hadn’t been boasting when she said, “When the lid opens and the scent of food permeates the air, Buddha smells the food and jumps over the wall!” Basically, even Buddha himself couldn’t help but violate his religious precepts to take a few bites when faced with the sweet smell of this dish.
The Yu Family members could only smell the first successful batch that was made and didn’t even get to taste one bite. Royal Prince Yang, who had an icy exterior but an inner core that was very filial to his family, had taken that ceramic pot of Buddha jumps over the wall after wrapping it in some cloth and brought it to the mountain residence where his mother lived. There, he and his mother were able to enjoy the dish together.
When the construction on the residence finished, Princess Consort Jing had moved in. After her second day there, she invited Yu Xiaocao over to have some fun. With Royal Prince Yang as her escort, Xiaocao ‘looked around’ at every nook and cranny of the mountain residence. She pointed out the small well that was in the main courtyard’s little kitchen and said that it contained water from a top-notch mountain spring. She claimed that using the water from this well for all of the Princess Consort’s food and tea would help her body. In actuality, she had the little divine stone help her to transform the well water into mystic-stone water.
At first, Senior Servant Su, who had served Princess Consort Jing for a long time, only half-believed Xiaocao’s words. Under the persistence of Princess Consort Jing and the royal prince, Her Royal Highness only ate food and drank tea that was prepared with the water from that well. Only a few days passed, yet her royal highness’s health began to take a turn for the better and her appetite improved a lot. Her skin became more tender and she had a healthy flush on her cheeks. In fact, she even looked a lot more youthful compared to before. Senior Servant Su, who was a loyal servant, repeatedly said that Dongshan Village’s environment was good for healing people!
After spending half a year in the mountain residence, Princess Consort Jing’s body recovered to the point where she was able to wear a hiking costume and go outside. With a few maidservants and senior servants accompanying her, she hiked the mountain, went hunting, or even went to gather some wild fruits herself. She had Yu Xiaocao use those wild fruits to ferment some wine. Her days were full of rich activities to do. Even Imperial Prince Jing, who came over on his breaks, was disregarded by her as she was too busy. It made him quite sulky.
When Yu Xiaocao had free time, she would, from time to time, cook some light dishes for the princess consort and send them to the mountain residence. Princess Consort Jing once laughingly said that the homestyle food that she made was even better than the food that the best chefs in the prince’s residence made.
At first, the self-important chefs in the residence were quite offended by this and thought that the princess consort had merely gotten tired of eating sumptuous food, so she believed that homestyle food tasted better. However, after they tried the food Yu Xiaocao made, they realized how wrong they were. These simple ingredients could be crafted into incredibly delicious dishes. Was this the legendary ‘returning to one’s true self’ cooking method? They had never thought that the cuisine that they pursued for over half their life could be produced by a ten to eleven year old girl!
The head chef at the residence along with the imperial chefs that were bestowed onto the estate all put away their arrogance and self-importance to ask Yu Xiaocao for her advice. Xiaocao didn't have anything to hide and also didn’t have any lectures to pontificate. Instead, when she cooked, she allowed two of the famous chefs to observe her.
The famous chefs at the residence both felt grateful. All head chefs had their secrets that they wouldn’t disseminate to others. By being so magnanimous, the two of them esteemed and respected Yu Xiaocao even more. From their observations, the two of them both had their own takeaways. After being inspired by what they saw, both of them managed to make breakthroughs in their own cooking.
When Royal Prince Yang brought back the Buddha jumps over the wall, it was already time to eat dinner. The two chefs had both made their specialties and were waiting for the two masters to try them. Royal Prince Yang was picky and was always able to find some aspect of the food that was lacking. Thus, whenever the masters were eating, the two chefs stayed at the side to hear the royal prince’s opinions or the princess consort’s requests.
“Yang’er, what sort of treasure are you holding onto today?” Princess Consort Jing looked at the table full of light dishes and couldn’t bring up her appetite. What had that lass Xiaocao been up to lately? It had been a long time since the little girl came over to spend time with her. Princess Consort Jing felt that her body was pretty much as healthy as a normal person’s and wanted to relax her dietary restrictions. She really wanted to eat roasted chicken, roasted duck, and smoked sausages...
Suddenly, Princess Consort Jing sat up straight in her chair as her nostrils gently flared. Her eyes lit up, and she stared fixedly at the ceramic pot that her son had just unwrapped. The ceramic pot looked like nothing special but there was a tantalizing fragrance coming out of it.
Unconsciously, a brilliant smile blossomed onto Princess Consort Jing’s face as she quietly said, “Yang’er, what did that lass, Xiaocao, come up with now? It smells like meat. Can I try some? I just want to try one bite!”
When Zhu Junyang saw how his lady mother was acting like a child, he almost wanted to laugh while simultaneously feeling sorry for her. Her face was full of anticipation as she kept her eyes on the pot containing Buddha jumps over the wall.
His lord father had previously told him that when his lady mother’s health was better, she was also a true foodie. She could be arguing passionately with Prince Jing and vow that she wasn’t going to speak to him for the rest of her life. Then, seconds later, when Prince Jing took out some pastries from the Imperial Palace, she would change her tune and run over like a little dog who had smelled the scent of meat. Her metaphorical tail would be wagging too!
Unfortunately, later on, his lady mother was injured while birthing him. Furthermore, during her recovery, there was someone who interfered with her healing. It was only after she encountered Yu Xiaocao that her body slowly recovered. For the longest time, his lady mother ate more medicine than she did food. She was also someone who loved eating meat yet she was restricted to eating light and non-greasy foods due to her health.
“Yang’er! My body has completely recovered. Even the imperial physicians say that eating a few pieces of meat is okay!” This wasn’t the first time that Princess Consort Jing claimed that the doctors said something they didn’t in order to eat delicious food.
After seeing the obvious desire on his mother’s face, Zhu Junyang placed the ceramic pot on the table and thought for a bit before he said, “This dish uses mostly seafood ingredients, so it should be quite nutritious. Lady Mother, you can eat some. However, you’re not allowed to eat too much tonight in order to avoid indigestion!”
When she heard that she was allowed to eat it, Princess Consort Jing was so happy that she acted like a child. She impatiently opened the ceramic pot and an intoxicating, rich fragrance wafted into the air. The two chefs nearby immediately opened their eyes wide and craned their necks forward, wishing that they could crowd around the pot to see just what exactly was causing such a tantalizing smell. They had cooked for most of their lives yet they had never come across a dish that was able to emit such a dense and rich aroma before.
When the lid was completely off, the entire residence was filled with the addictive smell of Buddha jumps over the wall. All of the maidservants, senior servants, and stewards who were busy working immediately stopped what they were doing and lifted their heads to sniff the air. They then had to silently swallow down the saliva that pooled in their mouths.
The two servants who were the most tortured right now were Princess Consort Jing’s personal maidservants, Meixiang and Lanxiang, who often served her during the meals. They had undergone stringent training as palace maids and had also served Princess Consort Jing for a long time. Thus, they were very proud of their self control. However, after encountering the tempting Buddha jumps over the wall, both them kept their mouths shut tightly. They didn’t dare to say a word as they were afraid that their saliva would dribble out and down their faces.
Luckily, Royal Prince Yang took over Meixiang’s duties and scooted next to his mother. He picked up her porcelain bowl, which was made in government kilns, and scooped up a ladle full of shark fin, abalone, and sea cucumber from the ceramic pot and put into her bowl before placing it before her.
Princess Consort Jing impatiently snatched her utensil and delivered a small taste into her mouth. The fragrant taste of seafood and the rich taste of meat erupted inside her mouth. For a moment, she was so happy that she felt like she was soaring gleefully in the sky and drifting among the fluffy white clouds. Her entire bowl was cleaned of food in two to three bites. She didn’t wait for her son to serve her and instead went to get another helping herself. After trying every single ingredient in the pot, she felt her stomach starting to bulge with fullness yet she didn’t want to stop eating.
Meixiang surreptitiously swallowed down another mouthful of saliva and quietly reminded her mistress, “Your Highness, you’ve already eaten more tonight than you have for most meals. If you continue to eat, you won’t feel well when you go to sleep…”
Zhu Junyang, who was in the midst of enjoying delicious food, only now realized that his mother had an expression full of want and desire as she rubbed her belly. He quickly moved the ceramic pot away from her and said, “Lady Mother, Xiaocao also said that it’s best to eat until you’re seventy percent full at night. That’s the best way to treat your body.”
“But, the food in this pot is truly too good! I really can’t bear to stop!” Princess Consort Jing felt that it was a shame as she pursed her lips. She pathetically watched as her son continued to eat and silently cursed her stomach for being an abject failure. If she could be like her son, who was able to eat three large bowls at each meal, that would be the best ah!
Zhu Junyang increased his speed of eating. After finishing over half of the food in the ceramic pot, he finally felt like his stomach was too stuffed to eat more. Only then did the two chefs waiting at the side impatiently ask, “Your Highness, Royal Prince, may we try some?”
Other than the Buddha jumps over the wall, the rest of the dishes on the table hadn’t been touched at all. All of the food on the table was usually stuff that was very hard for servants and maids to have the opportunity to eat, yet none of it had any attraction over the remaining pot of Buddha jumps over the wall. The food leftover after the masters ate was often rewarded to the servants and maids beneath them. Meixiang and Lanxiang had already been wondering if this pot would be given to them to eat. However, there were now the two chefs eyeing the leftover food. Lanxiang couldn’t help but give the two chefs a scorching glare!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: I’ve never had this dish before but it does exist. I wonder if it’s as good in real life as the story claims.