Those people eat and drink and take a nap. When they are on their way in the afternoon, they feel particularly energetic. The three strong men have originally planned to overtake the five carriages in front and return to the capital first, but there is an old saying that gifts blind the eyes. They have eaten a meal served by them, so there is no harm in protecting the fleet all the way. They will go their separate ways until the next fork. Thinking of this, they continue to follow the fleet.
Shopkeeper Lin seems to be still ill, and she occasionally coughs. This causes the handsome man to look at the carriage frequently, but because of a bamboo curtain, he can't see anything. After walking for more than two hours, a subordinate named Luo Tietou belches and leans over to the man, lowers his voice and says, "Leader, when shall we stop to be stationed? I am hungry. "
The man just glances at him lightly and does not answer. Another subordinate named Zhao Liu sneers, "It is not long after meal at noon. Why are you hungry again?"
"The hiccup I belch is too aromatic. Smelling the aroma, I start to feel hungry and want to eat." Luo Tietou belches as soon as his voice stops, and his mouth is suddenly filled with bacon smell. It is said that the food one eats in the stomach stinks in less than a quarter of an hour, so belching is also smelly, but the dish made by Shopkeeper Lin is completely different. Even after two hours, the rich aroma still stays in mouths and stomachs, even the hair and clothes are covered with the aroma of the dish, which makes one resist no more.
In fact, Zhao Liu is also hungry and can't help looking at the handsome man.
"Keep going, don't talk nonsense." The man says with an expressionless face.
The two look at each other, bemoaning the circumstances together. After another two hours, the sun is setting. They run to the front of the fleet and suggest loudly, "There is an open ground in the mountains for us to camp and rest. It is better to settle down there. Further on, it will always be a dense forest with many wild animals in it, which is quite dangerous."
"Then rest here for a night." The servant boy named Xiao Zhu is not a man who doesn't know what is right or wrong. He hurriedly asks the carriage driver to stop the carriage.
"What will you eat tonight?" Before the carriage stops, Luo Tietou asks anxiously.
"What do we eat? It’s none of your business." Xiao Zhu says with his mouth bulging with air.
"No," Zhao Liu laughs as he circles from behind and says, "we could have left on our horses first, but now we have protected you all the way. Is it too much to have an evening meal with you?"
As Xiao Zhu is preparing to taunt him back to avenge his earlier humiliation, but he hears a hoarse but gentle voice from the carriage, "Thank you for protecting us along the way. It's very appropriate to invite you to a meal. How can it be too much?" When the words are finished, Shopkeeper Lin jumps out of the carriage and wraps her turban carefully so as not to let her hair flutter freely.
"Thanks a lot, Shopkeeper Lin." Zhao Liu and Luo Tietou immediately laugh together. Shopkeeper Lin is very polite in the way she gets along with people, and it makes people feel comfortable.
The handsome man also cups one hand in the other before the chest and says earnestly, "Thank you very much, Shopkeeper Lin."
"You're welcome." Lin Dan smiles, "It’s better not to eat too much for an evening meal, and the flavor should not be too strong. Otherwise it will cause gastrointestinal discomfort. How about having some roll-up pancakes casually?"
"It is surely okay. I appreciate it, Shopkeeper Lin." The handsome man has no objection, but his two subordinates are somewhat disappointed. For many days in a row they eat steamed buns. They have been tired of eating steamed buns for a long time. Both roll-up pancakes and steamed buns are made of flour with similar tastes. It is better to continue eating bacon. They have strong stomachs, so they will not feel unwell. But their wishes are useless. Seeing their leader agree with her, they naturally dare not raise objections.
Lin Dan nods slightly to them and then takes two little servant girls to pick wild vegetables in the woods. A few days ago, there was a spring rain. The soil is still wet. All kinds of wild vegetables sprout from green fields and cover all over the mountains. Three servants stay to fetch water, cut firewood, build stoves and light a fire. The two strong men originally plan to lie down and rest for a while as bosses who do nothing, but they are glared at by their leader and have to get up to help with the work.
A few minutes later, Lin Dan and the two little servant girls come back with a basket full of wild vegetables, including bamboo shoots, mustard, mushrooms, and Chinese toon and so on.
The three servants build two stoves which are with two large pots respectively on them. The water in the pots is boiled and is bubbling noisily. Lin Dan asks the little servant girl to wash the wild vegetables while she takes out a bag of brown squares from the carriage.
"What is this?" Luo Tietou leans over and looks with his face full of curiosity.
"This is smoked bean curd, a specialty of Bashu (an old name of Sichuan). It is smoked by the method of smoking bacon. It tastes salty and smells aromatic." Lin Dan slowly explains.
Luo Tietou picks up a small square and smells it. It smells of bacon and beans aroma. The smell is very unique.
"Have you ever been to Bashu?" The handsome man, who has always been quiet, takes the initiative to say, "It is very difficult to walk there."
"It is easier to climb Heaven than take the Bashu Road." Lin Dan chuckles, "But after taking the difficult road, one will find that Bashu is a perfect place with beautiful mountains, water, people and food." For her, the place where there is delicious food is a veritable land of abundance and Bashu is a place like this.
The handsome man nods with a warm change in his cold eyes and says, "Bashu food is really delicious."
"It seems that you are also a food lover." Lin Dan rolls up his sleeves to process food materials. She cuts the cooked and squeezed bamboo shoots, blanched mustard, mushrooms and smoked bean curd into cubed pieces and she sets them aside for later use. The two little servant girls are responsible for kneading dough and they ask Lin Dan whether if she has enough water from time to time.
"Add some more water, the dough is so thick that pancakes will not thin enough and fine enough, this will affect the taste." Lin Dan directs the two little servant girls to knead dough, then takes out the lard that has been sealed for a winter and uses it to stir-fry cubed vegetables. The lard melts in the pan, giving off the crisping voice, while a strong aroma comes to the nostrils, causing the crowd to swallow saliva repeatedly.
"Fuck, why is the lard so aromatic?" Luo Tietou asks, inhaling deeply with his nose.
Lin Dan stirs up the slowly melting lard with a slice and says warmly, "If it is refined properly, the lard will naturally smell good. When I refine lard, I add clear water, which can prevent fat from burning and suffering, and also make the refined fat whiter, brighter and thicker. When it is stored in jars, 500 grams of fat plus one spoonful of sugar and several pieces of Chinese prickly ash can effectively prevent rancidity, and eating for four or five months is not a problem. "
In the middle of the conversation, the lard is already hot. Lin Dan adds cubed pieces of bamboo shoots, smoked bean curd, mushrooms, mustard and other food materials successively. And then she stirs them evenly with a slice, sprinkles them with sesame seeds and salt.
"Let's have a mild meal at night after eating a meal with strong flavor at noon." She says slowly, "The three fresh delicacies are divided into three delicacies on floor, three delicacies in water and three delicacies on trees. Our dish is called three fresh delicacies of spring. Bamboo shoots, mustard and mushrooms are all first-class fresh delicacies. They just need to be stir-fried with lard and sprinkled with salt to make them palatable. Do you know what to eat in spring?" She turns to look at the two little servant girls named Peony and Cuckoo.
Peony and Cuckoo scratch their heads and giggle. They even have no time to drool, let alone think about anything else.
Lin Dan stirs the cubed vegetables, softly says, "What we eat in spring can only be described as one word--fresh. This is the season for all things to recover. Everything is new and fresh. Do you smell the fragrance of flowers in the air, isn’t it new and fresh too?"
"Fresh!" The two little servant girls nod with smiles and then ask, "What do we eat in summer?"
"What we eat in summer can only be described as one word--cool. The hotter the weather is, the cooler the food should be, so that the stomach will be comforted. In the morning, a bowl of sweet mung bean porridge can be eaten with a few mint cold cakes. At noon, a bowl of cold noodles can be mixed with bright red chili pepper oil, green cucumber shreds and green onion shreds. At dusk, one can drink a pot of liquor and eat some cold dishes. In the evening, a bowl of sour plum soup is good too. How comfortable is it to pass the day so easily?"
The two little servant girls lick their lips and keep asking, "What do we eat in autumn?"
Lin Dan puts the stir-fried three fresh delicacies into a pottery basin, and continues, "In autumn, just one word--nourishment. In the morning, one can eat a bowl of peanut and barley porridge to nourish the blood and spirit. At noon, one can enjoy a pot of cooked old hen stewed with sun-dried chestnuts. The sweet flavor of chestnuts penetrates into the salty freshness of the hen, leaving a lingering aroma in mouths. In the evening, one can cut an old pumpkin into segments and steam it with lobster sauce. The sweet taste can spread to dreams. If one eats sweet and nourishing food in autumn, one can have a good winter by recovering all the energy lost from summer work."
"Is this what ‘gain on weight in autumn’ means?" The two little servant girls suddenly understand, and immediately ask, "What do you eat in winter?"
"What you eat in winter can also be described as one word--warm." Lin Dan puts a pan with a size of five palms on the fire, wipes the bottom of the pan with chopped fat pork, slowly pours down the dough, gently turns her wrist, spreads out a piece of pancake in a short time, and turns the pan upside down on the clean pottery basin, the pancake falls down on its own. White and tender pancakes are stacked one by one.
Lin Dan's wrists flit up and down, five pans are oiled one after another and pancakes are spread out one after another. In a few moments, dozens of pancakes are made, almost identical in size and thickness. At the same time, she also slowly says, "It is very cold in winter, and the food one eats must be warm so that one can be comfortable. During the Chinese New Year, family members huddle together to make dumplings. They talk and laugh with a good deal of cheerful bustle. They fish out the cooked dumplings from boiling water and eat them while they are hot. Their stomachs are warmed, and so are their hearts. Fried balls, braised trotters, steamed reeves shad, they are all steaming, how aromatic... "
Lin Dan can't help laughing at the thought of the scene.
The two little servant girls cover their mouths and run away, fearing that their saliva will flow into the pans.
The three strong men do not know when they have gathered round, listening to Lin Dan while watching her cook. Shopkeeper Lin is not only good at cooking, but also very pleasant to speak. She talks about cooking delicious food whenever she speaks. She makes people feel extremely satisfied after listening to her as if they had enjoyed a feast. However, the listeners are even hungrier.
The handsome man stares at Lin Dan for a long time with his eyes flashing with the light of complex thoughts. When Lin Dan looks at him, he bows his head as if nothing had happened.
After a while, pancakes are ready. Lin Dan washes wild onions and cut them into segments. She takes out his pickled sweet spicy sauce, garlic sauce, and spicy sauce and so on. She puts them one by one on small plates and says, "All right, let's eat."
The crowd cheers and gathers around the pottery basin to grab food. Palm-sized pancakes are vividly white, they are put into mouths with cubed vegetables, and the taste buds are satisfied with rich flavors. Bamboo shoots are crisp and tasty, cubed smoked bean curd is salty and tender. Juices of mustard and mushrooms are mixed in a sweet crust to form a thick freshness. If one feels the taste is tasteless, one can wrap some wild onions segments and sauces, it can be salty, fresh, sweet or spicy... all melt away on the tip of one’s tongue as if one were holding the whole spring day in one’s mouth.
The three strong men stand in amazement after taking only one bite, and then quickly put the rest of the roll-up pancakes into their mouths, and roll one after another, and roll one after another... The spoon that scoops the cubed vegetables never stops, those people gobble up pancakes like wind puffs clouds away.