The Game of Life TGOL - C.78 - 77: Tofu Box

The Game of Life TGOL

C.78 - 77: Tofu Box

Chapter 78: Chapter 77: Tofu Box

Translator: 549690339

“Jiang Huiqin? She’s your great-aunt, hasn’t your grandfather ever told you?” Jiang Weiming asked in return.

“No, I mean, he did, but not about it. What I wanted to say was, my great-aunt’s youngest son is one of the teachers at our school. Our two families only just recognized each other recently,” Jiang Feng almost got entangled in his own words.

Your great-aunt is still alive!” Jiang Weiming exclaimed, nearly rising from his seat in excitement, “How is she now? Where is she? Has she been well these years?”

“My great-aunt passed away thirty or forty years ago,” Jiang Feng doused Jiang Weiming with cold water, “And her husband, my great-uncle, also died of stomach cancer a few days ago. Only Professor Li, the great-aunt’s youngest son, and his wife are left in their family.”

“I see,” Jiang Weiming felt somewhat disheartened, and he thought he was being too fanciful. It was a blessing from heaven that he had been able to live to such an old age; how could he expect every relative to have the same longevity as he? The mere fact that his younger brother was still alive was already the greatest comfort to him.

At least he still had blood relatives other than his children alive in this world.

“Before he passed away, my great-uncle had Professor Li give me a deed to a property,” Jiang Feng spoke cautiously.

“If it’s from your great-uncle, then keep it with peace of mind,” said Jiang Weiming, not understanding the significance.

“It’s Taifeng Building,” Jiang Feng said, “My great-uncle gave me Taifeng Building.”

Jiang Weiming’s expression froze instantly as if time had stopped. After a long while, he moved his lips with difficulty and asked, “Taifeng Building in… Beiping?”

Jiang Feng nodded affirmatively, “Yes, the original Taifeng Building in Beiping.”

“It wasn’t destroyed or demolished?” Jiang Weiming trembled, his voice even choking up.

“Right, tn the 37th year of the Republic, my great-aunt bought back Taifeng Building. Over these years, my great-uncle has been keeping it and maintaining it. Although a bit rundown, it’s exactly like it used to be,” Jiang Feng said.

Jiang Weiming didn’t know how to face this news.

After all, that was Taifeng Building, lost from his grandfather’s hands, the place his father had longed for all his life. Even during their escape, his father had never stopped thinking about it. It was the greatest glory of the Jiang family, once famous throughout Beiping and renowned overseas, the culmination of his father’s lifelong efforts, and the place he and his brothers had thought they would strive for all their lives.

For many years, initially due to difficult transportation and later because of old age, he had never returned to Beiping after the city fell. He had never dared to hope that the Jiang family members could buy back Taifeng Building.

He had thought that Taifeng Building would be destroyed in the war or, like many old buildings, demolished.

He could never have imagined, nor dared to think, that Taifeng Building would have been preserved to this day, and moreover…

Taifeng Building had returned; it belonged to the Jiang family again.

Jiang Weiming cried, silently, tears streaming down his weathered, wrinkled face. 𝗳r𝐞𝐞w𝐞bn𝚘ve𝚕.co𝐦

“Granduncle Weiming…”

“It’s okay, Granduncle Weiming is just happy.” Jiang Weiming wiped away his tears and smiled at Jiang Feng, “Feng, you must study hard and manage Taifeng Building well, just like your great-grandfather did back in the day. Let everyone in Beiping, the whole country, and the entire world know Taifeng Building, know that it’s the Jiang family’s Taifeng Building.”

He looked at Jiang Feng, repeating words similar to those his father had said to them back then.

“Come, Granduncle Weiming will cook for you. No more Sichuan food today, I’ll make you Shandong dishes!” Jiang Weiming perked up, repacked the pickles into his bag, grabbed his cloth bag, and took Jiang Feng out of the small shop. Jiang Weiming, leading Jiang Feng, hurried off to his apprentice’s home.

In the culinary profession, the teacher-student relationship is held in high esteem. Masters do not take on apprentices lightly, and the craft is often passed down from parent to child, as with the Jiang and Wu families. Taking an apprentice is akin to taking a foster son, and becoming an apprentice is almost like acknowledging a second father. Nowadays, this might not be as exaggerated, but when Jiang Weiming took on an apprentice, that was the tradition.

His apprentice was named Jiang Weisheng, whose talent was nothing impressive. He had taken him on because of his name which he had already changed to Jiang Yuanchao by then. Jiang Weisheng was a good thirty years younger than Jiang Weiming, younger than Jiang Weiming’s own son, and had retired just a few years ago.

Jiang Weiming had brought Jiang Feng to visit Jiang Weisheng’s home.

Jiang Weisheng was plump, fitting the stereotype of a stocky, big-headed chef. Even though Jiang Weiming had made an impromptu visit without prior notice, Jiang Weisheng still respectfully welcomed him in, saying cheerfully, “Master, why did you suddenly think of coming to the provincial city? And who might this be?”

“He’s my grandnephew, and it’s our first day meeting. I’ve come to borrow your kitchen to cook a meal for my grandnephew,” Jiang Weiming got straight to the point.

“Grandnephew? Congratulations, Master. The kitchen isn’t clean yet, I haven’t tidied it up. Please have a seat and drink some tea while you wait,” Jiang Weisheng hollered into a room, “Honey, honey, hurry up, the master’s come to use the kitchen, let’s go clean up!”

Jiang Weisheng’s spouse was as chubby as he was, and they quickly and efficiently cleaned up the kitchen. Jiang Weisheng then solicitously asked, “Master, what dish do you want to make, fish head with chopped chili peppers? Do you want me to go buy a fish head now?”

“My grandnephew can’t handle spicy. I’ll make him a couple of Shandong dishes,” replied Jiang Weiming.

Jiang Weisheng became even more excited, “Great, I’ll help you with that.”

111 help too, Jiang Feng promptly said, also taking the opportunity to introduce himself to Jiang Weisheng, “Mr. Jiang, hello, my name is Jiang Feng.” “Why call me Mr. Jiang, that’s a generation off, just call me Jiang Uncle! Feng, do you cook as well?” Jiang Weisheng asked, beaming.

“My family runs a small restaurant, and I often help out in the kitchen,” Jiang Feng said.

On the way there, Jiang Weiming had introduced Jiang Weisheng to Jiang Feng. Although his talent was ordinary, he was passionate about cooking, willing to endure hardships, and eager to learn about all aspects of cuisine. However lacking the crucial talent for a chef, he had remained only a fairly good cook throughout his life.

With Jiang Weiming’s guidance in those years, he could make some progress. But ever since he stopped being under Jiang Weiming’s tutelage, he had been marking time.

Now Jiang Weiming was about to cook himself, and he was as excited as a new apprentice in the kitchen.

Jiang Weisheng’s kitchen was basically as large as two bedrooms, specially renovated by a decorator, with seasonings and ingredients all very complete, comparable to the back kitchen of a restaurant, and not at all like a typical household kitchen.

Jiang Weiming picked out some green peas, black fungus, and a few pieces of tofu that he could see and asked Jiang Weisheng to fetch pork, chicken, ham, dried shrimp, and dried scallops.

Looking at these ingredients, Jiang Feng began to guess what Jiang Weiming wanted to make.

He was going to make Tofu Box!

This dish had a complicated process, where the ingredients could be very flexible, with each having its own method and distinct flavor, with Boshan Tofu Box being the most famous. Jiang Feng remembered that Sir had made it a long time ago, but only once, and his father Jiang Jiankang wouldn’t make it for two reasons: the shop would definitely not sell it, and his father didn’t like tofu.

As Jiang Weiming was of an older age, he left the task of washing vegetables and chopping fillings to Jiang Feng and Jiang Weisheng, taking charge of the main steps himself.

The tofu was trimmed on three sides, coated with dry starch, and deep-fried in oil that was seventy percent heated; one had to constantly roll the tofu in the fryer until it was golden brown on all sides. Jiang Weiming was frying tofu while Jiang Feng and Jiang Weisheng chopped the meat filling next to him. Chopping the meat was easy, but dealing with the sinews in the meat was not, and Jiang Weisheng was afraid Jiang Feng wouldn’t pick them clean, potentially affecting the texture, so he intended to help. However, he discovered that Jiang Feng’s knife skills were even better than his, so he complimented him instead.

“Feng, your knifework isn’t bad at all. How old were you when you started learning to cook?”

“Over four years old,” Jiang Feng replied.

“That’s quite early,” Jiang Weisheng exclaimed, “I started late after graduating high school and didn’t have much talent. After all these years, this is all I’ve managed. It doesn’t bother me much, but I feel like I’ve let my master down.” “You haven’t let anyone down,” Jiang Weiming said, “you’re willing to learn and endure hardship, which is better than those who have talent but are lazy. Both of my sons aren’t willing to learn, but you are, and that makes you more filial than them. You haven’t brought me shame.”

Jiang Feng was surprised to find that Jiang Weisheng was actually blushing a

It was an unexpected show of shyness.

After the tofu was fried, they cut it open while it was still hot, leaving just a thread of skin attached, and scooped out the inside, making it look like a box. Scooping out the tofu was not difficult, but it was a delicate task. Jiang Weiming’s movements were slow, taking more than ten minutes to scoop out three tofu boxes. Then he began to stir-fry the filling, combining the scooped out tofu with the ingredients processed by Jiang Feng and Jiang Weisheng, stir-frying them quickly on high heat and finally stuffing the cooked filling back into the tofu boxes.

“Do we have any broth?” Jiang Weiming asked.

Yes, in the fridge, I’ll get it,” Jiang Weisheng went to fetch the broth, a large bowl of it, and brought it over to Jiang Weiming, “Master, will this do?” The broth was cold, and Jiang Weiming stirred it with a spoon, nodded, and asked him to heat it up.

Jiang Weiming then steamed the filled tofu boxes on high heat in the steamer. He didn’t make a sauce to pour over, so it seemed he planned to use the broth directly.

Indeed, once the tofu boxes were steamed, Jiang Weiming took out the now tender tofu, poured a ladle of the broth over it, and the dish was complete. Although Jiang Weisheng’s knifework was average, the broth he prepared was quite good.

“Come on, Feng, Weisheng, try it while it’s hot. Weisheng, call Zhang Li to come out and eat with us,” Jiang Weiming said.

“Ah, Master, aren’t you eating?” Jiang Weisheng was a little surprised; he had just been about to share his own portion with his wife.

Jiang Weiming had only made three.

“At my age, I can’t eat such rich food,” Jiang Weiming said, “I’ll make some caramel sweet potatoes. Feng, would you like me to cook another bowl of noodles for you?”

“No need, no need,” Jiang Feng hurriedly refused. In just a few hours, he had consumed a large bowl of intestine noodles, a bowl of Dragon Dumplings, and two skewers of sugar deep-fried dough, and if he were to eat a bowl of noodles now, he feared he’d end up like Liu Qian, bloated enough to go to the hospital for a stomach pump.

Jiang Weiming returned to the kitchen to continue cooking.

Zhang Li, Jiang Weisheng’s wife, was a clever woman. She would come out to help when needed, and at other times, she’d stay in her room without talking much. When Jiang Weisheng called her to eat, she would come out happily to dine.

Jiang Weiming’s Tofu Box was even more delicious than what Jiang Feng remembered from Sir’s preparation. Having lived in Shu for so many years, Jiang Weiming had always cooked Sichuan cuisine, so much so that even Jiang Weisheng didn’t know that he was originally a bona fide Shandong Chef. Although he hadn’t made Shandong cuisine for many years, Jiang Weiming was still Jiang Weiming, the same person who had been personally trained by Jiang Chengde for over a decade.

“I didn’t expect Master to be so good at making tofu. Do you know what this dish is called, Feng?” asked Jiang Weisheng, after biting into the Tofu Box, his face brimming with satisfaction.

“Tofu Box, a famous Shandong dish,” Jiang Feng said.

“I had no idea the master was also so skilled in Shandong cuisine; I never saw him make it before.” Jiang Weisheng looked regretful, feeling that he had missed out on a lot over the years.

Jiang Feng:…

Truth be told, ever since he arrived in Shu, he had seldom seen restaurants of other cuisines. Even Lanzhou Ramen and Shaxian Snacks, he had only come across twice.

Now that he thought about it, Jiang family dishes leaned towards Shandong cuisine, and Jiang Weiming, having lived in Shu for so many years, had forced himself to become a Sichuan chef. It truly must have been hard for him.

*1 am someone who is terrible at chopping, can burn fish while cooking, and whose strongest dish is scrambled eggs with tomatoes. All the dishes I write about are from Baidu, and I basically imagine them since I’ve never eaten them.. So if any readers have eaten or can prepare the dishes but find my descriptions don’t match reality, please ignore themz(<J z)_[Just treat them as parallel dishes from a parallel universe