Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 36
Chapter 36: Beggars’ Bird
Translator: Kats Editor: Perriemix
Helian Jing opened his mouth to call for him but then thought better of it. If brother Chunyu saw him in such an awkward look, he would surely rebuke him.
However, as he watched Chunyu’s horse gallop away, Helian Jing started to regret his decision. If he had just shouted, he could’ve escaped the dilemma he was in now and he wouldn’t need to follow the terrible kid anymore.
“What are you looking at? Take this.” Ye Jiayao put a terrine onto Helian Jing’s hands.
Helian Jing sulkily looked away from his chance at escape. It was probably for the best, anyway. He ran away by himself, and if brother Chunyu took him home, he would look even more terrible.
“Let’s go. I hope we can find a farmhouse to stay for the night. Otherwise, we have to sleep in a broken temple.” Ye Jiayao pushed him.
“Why don’t we take a boat? Or do we have to walk to Jin Ling?” Helian Jing said in a muffled voice.
Ye Jiayao asked, “Is there a grand canal?”
Helian Jing scowled. “What is the grand canal? I came here by boat, though.”
Ye Jiayao’s eyes turned bright. “Where did you take the boat to?”
Ye Jiayao chuckled to herself. Isn’t that the grand canal? How else can anyone get to Ji Ning from Jin Ling by boat? She wondered which emperor ordered for the grand canal to be built.
“You know how to get on a boat in Ji Ning, so what?” Ye Jiayao intentionally stared at him with an angry look.
After they left Xin Yi, they walked towards the south-west direction. They passed a village and saw some hens walking around in the wild field nearby. I am so hungry! She hasn’t eaten any fish or meat for so many days.
She saw little Jingjing staring at the old hens with wide eyes.
Should we steal them or not? Ye Jiayao felt conflicted.
I just want one to treat my stomach, but ever since I was young, I’ve been taught to have a high moral standard and not to steal.
It was not easy for these villagers to raise a few hens and they might be counting on them to lay eggs in exchange for some copper coins. They couldn’t take away their means of livelihood.
Ye Jiayao touched her tummy, trying to convey to it that no matter how hungry it felt, she would keep her principles. At this time, Ye Jiayao couldn’t help but think of the stupid donkey. That guy had extraordinary martial arts kill. Every time he went up the mountain, he would always get birds or animals. If he was with her, she would never go hungry or be afraid of anything.
“Little Jingjing, do you know how to hunt?” Ye Jiayao asked hopefully.
Helian Jing couldn’t keep his disgust off his face at what she called him. “Hunting? It is my strong suit.”
Ye Jiayao rolled her eyes. “You’re bluffing. Show me how you hunt.”
Helian Jing held out his two hands in despair. “If you help me find a bow and arrow, I am sure that I can do it easily.”
“Crap! Where can I find bow and arrow for you?” Ye Jiayao sarcastically searched for weapons.
Helian Jing looked around and saw two birds resting on the dates tree nearby. He picked up a small piece of stone and smiled. “You will see.”
Helian Jing aimed at the birds and threw the stone out.
The two birds flew away in fear.
Ye Jiayao sneered, “Are you hitting the birds or surprising them?”
Helian Jing touched his tummy awkwardly. “I just have no energy right now. I’m hungry, otherwise, I would have hit them accurately.”
“No skill is no skill. You don’t need to make up excuses.” Ye Jiayao glanced at him. To be honest, she was really hungry too. However, they needed to save what little bit of food they have left for later.
Ye Jiayao begged for a pot of water and they kept on going.
Helian Jing thought about the shame he just went through and channeled it as he tried to hit every bird he saw on the road. He missed every single time.
Ye Jiayao was exhausted just by looking at him. “Aren’t you hungry? Save some energy!”
Helian Jing groaned sulkily and aimed at a bird again.
“Ha! I got it!” Helian Jing saw the bird fall from the tree and ran happily to pick it up.
“Big Raorao, I hit it! We have meat to eat!”
What the hell? Since when I am called big Raorao?
“You called me what?” Ye Jiayao had no mustache to blow but she still stared challengingly at him.
Helian Jing saw her mad and felt even happier. “Didn’t you call me little Jingjing? Well, I am calling you big Raorao. That’s only fair.”
“Fair my ass. Don’t think that I would leave you even the bird’s ass.” Ye Jiayao wanted to tickle him to death.
Helian Jing was more familiar with her now and knew that she was just bluffing. She looked angry but he could tell it was all for show. He smiled. “You can leave me with one bird wing.”
Luckily this bird was fat and Ye Jiayao could make beggars’ bird with it. She would just adapt the beggars’ way of cooking chicken.
They both went to the pond near the road and Ye Jiayao asked little Jingjing to pick up a few lotus leaves. Meanwhile, she crouched near the water, got rid of the bird’s hair and gutted it.
Helian Jing returned with some lotus leaves and asked curiously. “Are we using lotus leaves as bowls?”
Ye Jiayao couldn’t be bothered to answer him and instead ordered him to dig a hole.
She took some salt and five-spice powder from her bag and rubbed it over the bird’s body and a little bit on its stomach. She sprinkled some pepper on it and then wrapped it in the lotus leaves, using the water in the pond mixed with some clay. It was supposed to be used with Shao Xin yellow rice wine so that the roasted bird’s meat would be more delicious. However, their conditions were barely livable so they couldn’t really complain. It was great enough that they have meat to eat, there was no need to be too exquisite.
“Big Raorao, the hole is dug.” Helian Jing was excited and dug a big hole neatly and quickly.
Ye Jiayao walked over to him and looked. “You sure the hole wasn’t dug for yourself?”
They were just roasting a small bird! That hole could be used to roast a pig.
Helian Jing mumbled, “You didn’t tell me what size you want.”
Ye Jiayao rolled her eyes at him. “Go pick some firewood.”
Helian Jing gladly went to pick up some firewood. He had never cooked anything in the wild before. Even when he went hunting with Chunyu, they still had chefs to cook for them. He found this new experience very interesting.
“Yo, don’t bring a whole tree back! Just pick some branches.” Ye Jiayao was afraid that the dumb kid would pull a tree out from the road.
Ye Jiayao buried the bird, which was sealed by clay, and started to make a fire. She was very familiar with using firestone as she used stove fire in Black Wind Ridge for almost a month. It wasn’t long before she had a decent fire going on.
Helian Jing looked dubious as he peered at what Ye Jiayao was doing. “You sure it will work? Sealed with clay and buried in the earth, isn’t that dirty?”
Ye Jiayao sat on the extra lotus leaves and held a Setaria Viridis in her mouth. She said, “We’ll see, just don’t drool later.”
Helian Jing sat next to her. He smiled and flattered, “You can do so many things. I thought we’d have to beg just to live.”
Ye Jiayao lifted her chin up and said proudly, “Of course! I’ve roamed all over the country for so many years, how can I survive without any skills?”
Helian Jing’s mouth twitched. “Bluffing again.”
“Aye! Little Jingjing, what does your family do? Government officials or just business owners?” Ye Jiayao asked.
Helian Jing thought that if he told the truth, she would be scared. He answered humbly, “Small officials and small business.”
Ye Jiayao didn’t believe him one bit. “Can small officials and small business people wear 100ish silvers ‘Cloud and Water Green’ clothes?”
Helian Jing decided to keep her guessing. “After we get to Jin Ling, you will know.”
“You don’t have to tell me.” She didn’t tell him the truth about her either, so they were even.
After almost an hour of roasting, Ye Jiayao took a stick to dig the clay package out of the dirt. The outer layer of clay was cracked from the heat and one knock by the stick shattered it. She opened up the lotus leaves, the delicious smell from inside wafting over to them.
“Wow! That smells great!” Helian Jing couldn’t stop drooling, reaching out to take the bird.
“Be careful, it’s hot.” Ye Jiayao slapped his hands away and carefully cut a bird leg for him. “Here, have a taste.”
Helian Jing took a bite and was immediately amazed by the soft texture and the fragrant smell of the meat and the lotus leaves. It was especially alluring. Even though the ingredients were limited, the original taste of the bird meat stood out and it was very delicious. It was more delicious than the roast lamb his chefs cook at home.
It was the first time that Ye Jiayao cooked beggars’ bird in such an original way. She was glad that she did it, though, because this way of cooking beggars’ bird had its special taste. The double package of lotus leaves and clay prevent water from steaming away and the smell from spreading around. The simple ingredients she used maximized the original taste of the bird meat.
“Tasty, tasty. Big Raorao, you are awesome,” Helian Jing praised her.
“Call me brother Jing or next time I won’t cook anything for you.” Ye Jiayao shook the beggars’ bird in her hand playfully.
Under the seduction of delicious food, Helian Jing chose to lower his pride, ignore his status, and become a well-behaved little Jingjing.
The two of them finished off the bird voraciously, still marveling over its deliciousness even after it was long gone.
“Don’t worry, I will get a few birds or something else every day in the future,” Helian Jing said confidently as he wiped his mouth.
“I think, you hitting one today was just a fluke. I’ll believe your hunting prowess when you manage to get a few every day,” Ye Jiayao teased once again as she packed up to continue on their journey.
“Aye! You doubt me now but wait until you see my skills with a bow and arrow. Using a piece of stone to hunt was a first for me and my hands were not familiar with it. After I got used to it, everything will be easy,” Helian Jing bragged, afraid that she would look down on him again.
“Okay, you’re great! I was just afraid that you were bluffing too much. I was just helping you think more realistically.” Ye Jiayao held her hands up in a surrendering fashion.
The sky turned darker and Ye Jiayao felt disappointed. They walked an average of ten kilometers today, and at this speed, it would take ages to get to Ji Ning.
“I can’t walk anymore, I’m so thirsty.” Helian Jing never had such a bitter experience before. The bottom of his feet aches from the blisters he got. He plopped down on the road and took off his shoes to rub his pained feet.
Ye Jiayao looked around. They were in the middle nowhere. There was no broken pavilion, no possible resting place. “And here you are denying that you’re weak. Get up, I don’t want to spend the night in the wilderness.”
Helian Jing stared ahead of them, getting so excited that he managed to ignore Ye Jiayao’s ridicule.
Ye Jiayao turned to look at what he was staring at – it was a watermelon plantation.
They looked at each and said, “You go…”