They got up early and drove to the country.
The place was located southeast(dōngnánfāng) of Qihu, so it was also called Dongqi Village. There were lotus flowers in the summer and lotus roots in the winter. Fresh fish, shrimp, and crabs were also selling very well.
At that time, farm stays were not a particularly profitable business, but it was an unexpected income for the villagers.
People in the city were tired of eating hotel dishes cooked with chicken powder marinades on the gas stove, it was quite enjoyable trying the wood stove occasionally.
Peng Xingwang made a long call to his grandfather earlier and specifically asked if there was any fishing there. However, he couldn’t get up fully from bed this morning and fell asleep again as soon as he got into the car.
The small car twisted and turned along the forest path, and due to the messy construction of the road signs, they got lost several times on the way.
It was twelve noon when they finally arrived at the big camphor tree at the entrance of the village.
The old couple came out to greet them and diligently helped pull the luggage and move things.
“You’re too polite,” Ji Linqiu said with a smile: “We can do it ourselves.”
“You said it! But it’s not easy for you to take care of Xingxing, so don’t be too polite either!”
“Grandpa, Grandma, I missed you!”
“Ah, okay, okay, Grandma misses you too!”
Jiang Wang followed them and tentatively called out ‘Grandma’ as well.
The old man smiled lovingly, afraid that they might be hungry: “The meal has been prepared a long time ago. Today, I deliberately prepared a big rooster for you to eat. The stew is delicious!”
H Province was considered a gourmet province. The methods of preparing chicken alone were plenty. They had unique delicacies such as Rousongzi ChickenThe dish is made by simmering chicken with local herbs and spices until it becomes very tender and flavorful. The chicken is then shredded and mixed with finely chopped green onion, ginger, and other … Continue reading and Guochang ChickenIt’s made by braising chicken with ginger, garlic, green onion, Sichuan pepper, and other spices until it is very tender and fragrant. The dish is known for its spicy, savory flavor and tender … Continue reading which could not be tasted in other provinces. The local chickens also looked strange. As the saying goes, “Black one thousand, numbness ten thousand, powder-white chickens don’t lay eggs.”In this context, it may mean expressing skepticism or caution about unfamiliar or unusual-looking dishes or ingredients, or suggesting that something that appears strange or unusual may have hidden … Continue reading
For lunch, a full set of specialties were put on the table. The arm-length steamer was filled with sweet potatoes, tender lotus roots, white radishes, and pork belly. All steamed in rice flour until it’s piping hot. The fragrance of fruits and vegetables blended with the meat while the aroma of meat fat dripped into the dish. The scent alone could make people eat several bowls of rice.
Large pieces of chicken were boiled in an old Beijing shabu-shabu potThe traditional old-style hotpot., and the scent of green and red pepper and rice wine were all stewed in. A bite was filled with juice mixed with a charred fragrance.
Jiang Wang thought about a lot of things when he was driving, including how to take good care of the two old people in the future, so he appeared a little worried.
After three bowls of rice and juicy chicken, his brain capacity temporarily returned to zero.
Naturally, the child also ate violently. The Peng family’s grandpa and grandma were warm and hospitable, not only treating Jiang Wang like their own son but also taking care of Ji Linqiu.
“Why are you so thin?! Eat more, eat more, I’ll give you another bowl of soup!”
“You young people are not used to eating food in the city. You should come to us on weekends in the future. Have more fun and relax!”
Ji Linqiu hadn’t felt unconditional love for a long time, so his reaction was somewhat sluggish. While listening intently to the old man talking about the fun places in the countryside, he unknowingly ate a whole bowl of rice.
Jiang Wang saw this and secretly picked out a lot of dishes for him.
The crispy rice cooked over a wood fire had a special wheat aroma, and a few large bowls of rice tea made the greasiness disappear in an instant, leaving a refreshing taste in the mouth.
Jiang Wang brought a few boxes of health products and massage devices, but the old people repeatedly refused and were embarrassed to accept them.
“Take it, it’s a gift from your child.”
Jiang Wang said. Grandpa Peng thought it was a gift from Peng Jiahui, so he finally accepted.
In fact, there was not much difference.
Xingxing finished his meal quickly and rushed out to ride a cow. The elders in the family carefully helped him onto the cow’s back, and he shouted and went forward.
Ji Linqiu came here to sketch and collect inspiration, and the child would inevitably have to go meet nearby relatives in the afternoon.
Jiang Wang stretched out and fell asleep listening to the sound of the water wheel outside the building.
He rarely relaxed like this, to the point that he didn’t even dream.
In the evening, Peng Xingwang went to watch TV with his grandparents, and the two adults sat on the mat in the yard to watch the stars.
The air here was perfect, and there really were fireflies.
Like a wandering and floating spot of light, it flashed and extinguished. Glowing with a fluorescent green light like breathing.
Even if there were only five or six wandering around the yard, it made the summer night gentler, with a faint herbal fragrance.
A few handfuls of mugwort were placed around the yard, even with the lights on, no mosquitoes would appear.
“So many stars.” Ji Linqiu laughed, “This is a really good place.”
Jiang Wang was rocking back and forth on the recliner and said, “I kind of want to eat some sugar.”
“What a coincidence.” Ji Linqiu reached into his pocket and pulled out two pieces of milk candy, just enough for one each per person.
Jiang Wang reached out to take it as the other party glanced at his knuckles.
“Have you been smoking a lot recently?”
The man smiled awkwardly as if he had been caught by the teacher.
He suddenly wanted to quit this bad habit.
The summer night had turned into the flavor of milk candy.
The country sky in 2006 was still clear and deep blue, so deep that you could see the end of the universe at a glance, as well as countless stars shining trails of light.
People suddenly became especially small.
So small that it seemed that all the love, hate, unwillingness, obsession, and desire seemed like fleeting moments.
Jiang Wang had been running around for too long these past days, and unconsciously fell asleep again as he watched the night sky.
Ji Linqiu looked at him sideways, laughed for a while, and put his coat on Jiang Wang.
The man slept heavily and was not awakened.
The next day’s itinerary was to go fishing.
Fishing in a small pond for breeding was boring. The crucian carp and catfish inside were two sillyA colloquial expression used to describe small and not particularly valuable items.. They would rush over and eagerly bite the worm hung from the rod, with an average of one fish every twenty minutes.
The three challenged the novice difficulty for a while but felt unsatisfied with the difficulty. Grandpa Peng spiritedly drove them to the edge of Caihu Lake in a small tricycle.
There were a lot of his old buddies over there. They managed all the small speed boats and fishing boats there so they could drive anything.
Peng Xingwang carefully adjusted Ji Linqiu’s hat: “Teacher, be careful not to get sunburned!”
Ji Linqiu smiled and nodded.
They first drove a speedboat for a lap and then returned to find a shady place to fish.
“Xingxing, look what Grandpa brought you!”
Jiang Wang and Peng Xingwang immediately turned around at the same time.
The old man shook the small bowl, which contained four or five fresh chicken wing tips in it.
“It’s the tip of a chicken wing!!” The child became energetic: “I can use it to catch crabs!”
Jiang Wang was hesitant to speak, but Ji Linqiu got up and walked over: “Grandpa, can you give me two to fish with?”
“Of course, of course. Let me tell you, these crabs love the smell of chicken. Once they grab hold of the chicken wing tips, they won’t let go. If you know how to fish, you can catch a whole bunch!”
The old man didn’t expect that the English teacher also enjoyed crab fishing, so he especially taught him how to tie the line and when to pull up the crabs.
Ji Linqiu thanked him, took the chicken wing tips, and sat back in place, deliberately placing the extra one in a prominent position.
Jiang Wang pretended not to see it.
After ten minutes, Ji Linqiu was fishing for crabs with a grin on his face. There were already two green crabs the size of chess pieces in his fish basket.
Jiang Wang pretended to pull his fish basket absentmindedly first and then glanced at the extra chicken wing tip, the implication was obvious.
Then another fifteen minutes passed.
Jiang Wang cleared his throat.
Ji Linqiu pretended to be oblivious and turned his head to say, “Brother Jiang, did you catch a cold yesterday?”
“You’re really mean.” Jiang Wang pulled his face, he couldn’t bear asking for something that only kids play with. He gritted his teeth as he said, “Teacher Ji— give me one?”
“Really?” Ji Linqiu picked up the other chicken wing tip tied to the fishing line, and said with a smile: “Boss Jiang wants to play with this too?”
“Play,” the man raised his hands and surrendered: “Teacher Ji—”
Just as they were teasing, the float on Ji Linqiu’s line suddenly sank.
“Teacher Ji!” Peng Xingwang called him in a low voice, for fear of scaring away their catch. “Hurry up, hurry up, it’s a fish, fish!!”
Ji Linqiu threw the chicken wing tip onto Jiang Wang’s hand and listened to the child’s command to slowly reel in the line and raise the pole.
Grandpa Peng originally thought he had caught a small crucian carp, but he didn’t expect the rod to sink unexpectedly. After watching it for a few seconds, he came over to help, and pulling up the other end was very difficult.
“It’s a big one!” The old man was surprised and delighted: “We didn’t even put bait on the hook nor set up fish traps. I didn’t expect this!”
“Slow down, slow down, be careful not to let it break the line!”
When Grandpa Peng said this, they still hadn’t felt whether it was true or not. The fishing line was slowly rising inch by inch amidst the splashes of water, and a dark shadow of more than half an arm’s length was spinning and maneuvering beneath the water, seemingly about to be caught.
A few fishermen listening to the radio next to them gathered around them, some were even holding a large net and watching intently.
Ji Linqiu’s head was densely covered in sweat. He didn’t make a sound as he carefully exerted all his strength. The big fish flapped its tail in the water, revealing the scales of half of its body.
A sharp-eyed man let out a long cry.
“It’s a bighead carp, the good guy should weigh dozens of catties, right?!”
“Be careful, be careful! No, give the pole to Old Man Peng!! Don’t ruin it!!”
Jiang Wang sat next to him and couldn’t help but feel a little impatient. He glanced at the group of people shouting like cheerleaders at the side, and then at his fishing rod that hasn’t even let out a fart of a fish.
Where were the other fish? Did Professor Ji scare them all away with his carp?
The line became tighter and tighter, and finally, it was pulled to a very thin strip, so transparent that it was almost invisible.
The old fisherman next to them bent over and quickly slammed down the net, just in time to stop the big fish from escaping.
“We got it!! We got it!!”
“It’s so big??”
The bighead carp weighed at least 30 or 40 catties, and it couldn’t be pulled up by one arm even when caught in a net. As it flapped about, it seemed to want to capsize both the person and the boat.
Grandpa Peng took Ji Linqiu’s fishing rod and skillfully loosened it and raised it again, making the big fish leap out of the water!
Ji Linqiu caught the fish suddenly, and before he could hold his hand firmly, he was slapped in the face by the tail of the fish.
“Hiss–” Peng Xingwang was angry: “I will stew you tonight!”
The guys next to them picked up the fish with seven hands and eight feet to help weigh the hook. Jiang Wang took a wet tissue and squatted next to Ji Linqiu helping him wipe the mud on his face.
“You’re lucky,” he looked at the half-drenched Ji Linqiu and couldn’t help but laugh, “You even wore new shoes. The shoelaces are all muddy.”
Ji Linqiu had obviously won the grand prize, yet he looked like the most embarrassed person in the audience, his hair dripping wet.
“It was too strong.” He stretched out his hand and took a tissue to wipe his face, but he didn’t know where the mud was, so he looked a little annoyed.
“You, you should also let someone take care of you,” Jiang Wang said with unintentional tenderness in his eyes: “I heard the threat of Xingxing, so we’ll stew it tonight and add more tofu.”
Ji Linqiu spat out some river mud and let him wipe his ear.
“Okay, the teacher’s image is completely ruined.”
Jiang Wang laughed foolishly.
“Well, it’s an unexpected gain. It’s worth it.”
Thank you for reading! Ko-fi? ~旦_(^O^ )
Translator: asoc1a7 ꒰˶• ༝ •˶꒱
|↑1||The dish is made by simmering chicken with local herbs and spices until it becomes very tender and flavorful. The chicken is then shredded and mixed with finely chopped green onion, ginger, and other seasonings before being served.|
|↑2||It’s made by braising chicken with ginger, garlic, green onion, Sichuan pepper, and other spices until it is very tender and fragrant. The dish is known for its spicy, savory flavor and tender texture.|
|↑3||In this context, it may mean expressing skepticism or caution about unfamiliar or unusual-looking dishes or ingredients, or suggesting that something that appears strange or unusual may have hidden risks.|
|↑4||The traditional old-style hotpot.|
|↑5||A colloquial expression used to describe small and not particularly valuable items.|