BLL Chapter 28 Muddy Waters

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Lin Lixuan’s first attempt was to make snow skin mooncake, which didn’t need to be baked. Even under the conditions of the ancient times, they were easy to make.

The small and delicate mooncake should have looked like the mold in his hand. It was a circle with waves on top. The center had a blooming peach blossom. It looked delicate and beautiful. The mold carved by the old carpenter looked good, and the pattern on the mold looked good too. But when Lin Lixuan made the mooncake, the bean paste filling mixed with the glutinous rice skin on the outside. The snow skin mooncake that should have looked milky white looked dirty instead. The edge of the flower shape was also crooked, as if a mouse had taken a bite out of it.

He still needed to adjust the stickiness of the glutinous rice flour. It was too soft in his hands. Lin Lixuan took a bite of the mooncake he made. Unexpectedly, it didn’t taste too bad. The glutinous rice skin was sweet and moist, and the red bean paste was sweet but not greasy. Since it was a snow skin mooncake, it would be even more delicious if the skin was frozen.

It was ugly, but it tasted good, so it could be called a success.

Of course, the reason it tasted good could be thanks to Ger Yan. The glutinous rice skin and bean paste were all mixed by him. Lin Lixuan only provided the idea. If he made it himself, it would be overly sweet or unfavorable. Or he would have a mouthful of overly beany flavor.

Some people’s culinary talents were innate. They were born with a scale in their hearts and knew exactly how much of an ingredient to put in a dish. They didn’t need any tools to measure it. On the other hand, some people meticulously measured each ingredient to match the recipe, but the outcome still wasn’t satisfactory.

For a cold skin, it needed to be chilled. He would buy saltpeter in a few days. In ancient times, they could use saltpeter to make simple ice.

Just as Lin Lixuan was thinking about it, Ger Yan had already used the mold to make several delicate small mooncakes that were skillfully placed on the white oval porcelain plate by his skillful hands. The smooth and tender skin, the sweet aroma, it looked appetizing just by looking at it. Ger Yan had never seen such delicate and lovely foods since he was a child.

The snacks Ger Yan saw when he was a child were either sun-dried preserved fruits or dry and hard cookies. When he was six or seven years old, on his grandmother’s birthday, his mother hid half of a sugar cake and secretly gave him one. He still remembered that…

“Ger Yan, the ones you made look very good.” Lin Lixuan was a little jealous. It felt like even though he’d tried his best, he wasn’t able to show any results. But he found that  the people around him were doing a better job than him.

Ger Yan, who’d been praised, smiled shyly and crooked his eyebrows. The two familiar dimples came out to greet him shyly.  Ji Yan suddenly became bold and actually pinched a piece of mooncake and fed it to Lin Lixuan.

His eyes were shining with anticipation. His hand that held the mooncake was stained with a lot of glutinous rice flour, adding a layer of haze.

Lin Lixuan raised his eyebrows and looked directly into the other party’s eyes. He slowly turned his head and bit on the mooncake. He deliberately bit on the edge, close to Ger Yan’s fingers and licked the other party openly.

The fingers were swept by the other party’s soft lips, as if the cat’s paws scratched his heart. Ger Yan’s face involuntarily reddened. Somehow, he wanted to escape from the dilemma. He didn’t want to feed him mooncakes any longer. So he ate the remaining mooncakes by himself, in a panic, and licked the residual powder from the side of his mouth.

The unconscious flirting was very fatal. Lin Lixuan was willing to bow down.

“I…I’ll take some for Mother to taste…”

“Mnm, go ahead. Oh right, leave some for Ger Yu as well.”

“Okay…”

Ger Yan gave the finished mooncake to Zhao Liniang. Looking at these delicate little mooncakes that look so good, they really didn’t want to destroy it. “I better not eat it. They look so pretty, so how can I bear to eat it?”

Ger Yan smiled. “Mother, just try one.”

“Okay, then I’ll eat the ugliest one.” Zhao Liniang pointed at the porcelain plate.

Ger Yan held back a laugh. “Lin-dage made that one.” Ger Yan deliberately compared them. Ger Yan was no longer the simple Ger Yan from back then. His desire to “compete” had grown in his heart.

“No wonder.” Zhao Liniang laughed. She knew her son’s skills. “Then I’ll try the one Xuan’Er made.”

“It tastes pretty good.” Zhao Liniang was old and didn’t like to eat things that were too sweet, but she really liked this mooncake that was slightly sweet as well as soft. After having a taste, both her hands reached out to “steal” another one. At this time, she didn’t care about being polite.

After eating, Zhao Liniang clapped her hands. “Remember to wash your wash after you finish. Look at your face…”

In addition to mooncakes, Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan also tried making other foods such as Mandarin roll, tangbao, yong tau foo, tangyuan… They fed Zhao Liniang well. “What’s wrong with the two of you? Why are there so many food ideas? I haven’t seen any of this before in the county town.”

Lin Lixuan silently pushed the credit to Ger Yan. “It’s all because of Ger Yan’s good craftsmanship.” It was true that Ger Yan had good skills. He’d only taught Ger Yan the basic method of making Mandarin rolls, but who knew that he would draw inferences from his simple introduction. It was probably because he’d watched Lin Lixuan make the mooncake molds, and the fact that he’d law to draw a bit, so he understood a bit of art. It was like Ji Yan had learned a new skill. The food he made was exquisite and beautiful.

Ger Yan praised him as well. “It’s because Lin-dage has a lot of ideas…”

“I wonder if the people in the county town will like these or not…” Zhao Liniang was a bit worried.

On the sixth of November, Lin Lixuan planned to open his shop on the seventh.

The entire shop looked different. After Lin Lixuan rented the shop, Zhao Liniang felt sorry for her son and gave him a few taels of silver to decorate the store. Lin Lixuan found someone to make the signboard. As of now, there was a huge plaque that said “Lin’s Restaurant” hanging on the top of the store. Since they haven’t opened yet, a red cloth covered the plaque.

A carpenter also modified the shop. He also ordered a unique counter set. The counter was in the shape of an inverted 7. The middle of the counter near the outsider had two hollow spaces where they could put a stove and steamer. On top of the counter there were a row of small square grids, which would be used to store food in the future. On the other side of the counter was a wooden circular stand. Plates with snacks could be placed on it, looking like luscious trees. It was both appealing and beautiful.

On the other side of the wall, Lin Lixuan asked the carpenter to make a rectangular wooden board and nail it against the wall. He put a bench under the board, which could be used as a table and chairs.

Some of the food that could be stored for a few days had already been prepared and stored in the back. They were just waiting for the opening day tomorrow. Lin Lixuan checked the entire shop again, confirming that everything was ready. He turned around and saw Ger Yan, who looked sullen. “Ger Yan, what’s wrong?”

The store opened tomorrow, but he looked like he had something on his mind. How strange.

“I…” Ger Yan hesitated a bit, then finally said. “About seeing my cousin-in-law the other day…I told my mother.”

“…and then what happened?” Lin Lixuan didn’t need to ask. He could guess just from seeing Ger Yan’s appearance.

“…”

The ending was naturally bad. He was lectured by his mother, Li Yue’e.

“You saw Qingqing having an affair with a man in the middle of the night? How is that possible? I know that he’s a good child…You can’t speak random nonsense to ruin other people’s reputation. He’s pregnant. Why would he meet up with someone in the middle of the night? Who would believe such a thing?”

“Child, Mother doesn’t know what to say to you… How do you even know it was your cousin-in-law? What if you saw the wrong person because of the bad weather. Besides, it was so dark, why were you wandering around in the forest anyway? You might think your cousin-in-law was behaving strangely, but what if I think you and my son-in-law are the ones behaving strangely? What were you two doing there instead of going home?”

“Is that all?” Lin Lixuan asked.

“…” The more Ger Yan spoke, the more pitiful he became. “No. Mother also guessed that…”

“Do you and Xiucai Lin know that it was your second aunt who asked me to ask you for the tofu pudding recipe? Mother was confused and was momentarily persuaded by your second aunt. Afterwards, when I went home and told your father, he scolded me. He said it wasn’t easy for you to make money and told me not to blindly interfere. Didn’t I not ask you guys in the end?”

Don’t hold a grudge against your second aunt’s family because of this and wrong Qingqing. He’s a good child. He’s very well-behaved and has been diligent after marrying into the family. Your grandmother is also very satisfied with him…”

Lin Lixuan was speechless. “You said your mom thinks we hate your second aunt’s family, so we made up lies to frame your cousin-in-law?”

His “mother-in-law” really thought too highly of Ger Yan. As for his baby, he didn’t even know how to lie.

Ger Yan nodded aggrievedly.

“Did we perhaps see the wrong person…”

“…”

His little Shuang’er really had been brainwashed by his mother. He was even starting to doubt himself. “It doesn’t matter if we saw it correctly or not. You already told your mother what you saw. It’s up to her if she believes you or not. Even if something happens later—it’s not your fault.”

This kind of thing wasn’t easy to say. Although they saw it, they didn’t know what the situation was., and there was no evidence. He and Ger Yan were outsiders, after all. To say something about the other party’s affairs, it was no wonder they didn’t believe them. However, the Ji family really were shameless. Even if they did hold a grudge against the second aunt’s family, they wouldn’t use this kind of method to retaliate.

In his opinion, the Ji family was a mess. It was better if he and Ger Yan didn’t mess in the muddy waters.


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