Chapter 11: Pork Ribs in a Clay Pot (砂锅排骨煲)
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After the sofa incident, Shen Fu gradually realized Lin ShuYi’s way of life was simply terrifyingly old-fashioned. It was one thing if he didn’t have a computer or any recreational activities in his house. Even Lin ShuYi’s cellphone was like an ornament in his hand. Besides using it to make calls, he had never seen Lin ShuYi fish it out. What’s more, even if it was just making calls, the only number he had on his phone was Old Man Yang’s.
He was even on the verge of suspecting whether Lin ShuYi migrated back from some cave in a mountain.
That night, curled up on the sofa, Shen Fu reached out and asked for Lin ShuYi’s cellphone, “Where’s your phone?”
Lin ShuYi didn’t have any intention of not giving it to him. He casually fished it out and handed it over. In any case, he didn’t think there was anything really worth hiding on the phone.
When Shen Fu took it and turned it on – there was no password, no phone numbers, even the apps were the ones that came with the system. Such a good smartphone was basically the same as the old brick cell phones in Lin ShuYi’s possession. Shen Fu’s mouth twitched as he laughed quietly to himself, “Do you not play on your phone at all?”
Lin ShuYi finally took his eyes off the TV. He spared a bit of attention for Shen Fu. “What is there to do on a phone?”
Shen Fu was speechless.
Then what was there to see on a television! Especially some nightly eight o’clock news on a government channel, where the woman on the screen was crying so hard she was sobbing. How in the world was Lin ShuYi watching it, and so fascinatedly at that?
After sparing Shen Fu that bit of attention, Lin ShuYi looked away again. Right now, he felt that nobody was as important as his television, or at least that’s what Shen Fu thought.
As a result, he spoke again. “How much data does your phone have?”
“Data?” Lin ShuYi already didn’t really have much patience for Shen Fu, who was repeatedly disturbing him as he was watching television, and he frowned as he asked him.
“Yeah, it can’t be that you don’t even use data, right?” Shen Fu looked at him like he was a ghost. Never mind today’s smartphones, even the flip phones of several years prior had a few things that wasted data. Lin ShuYi could be considered amazing for using a smartphone like an old brick cellphone.
Lin ShuYi stopped paying attention to Shen Fu’s shock. He turned away and looked at the television, ignoring him.
Shen Fu leaned on the sofa by himself, pinching Lin ShuYi’s phone, making calls for a while before sending some text messages, taking quite a bit of joy in it. After a long while, he patted Lin ShuYi’s shoulder again.
“I helped you download a lot of apps. Your phone has 3G worth of data that you’ve never used before, which is also weird. Here, come closer, big brother will teach you how to play on your phone.”
Lin ShuYi resisted for a moment, but it was useless. He had already been pulled over by Shen Fu’s outreached hand.
“Didn’t you want to know how I made this sofa appear out of thin air? I’ll teach you.”
Only then did Lin ShuYi finally gain some interest.
Shen Fu opened and showed him the apps one by one. Besides the necessary apps like QQ, WeChat, and Taobao, he also taught him two games that were currently extremely hot. Lin ShuYi became entranced at once compared to his original indifference.
Finally, Shen Fu patted Lin ShuYi’s shoulders with a sigh, and he summarized, “I wonder, did you not do anything during your previous eighteen years except eat and sleep?”
“If not that, what else?” Lin ShuYi lifted his head to look at him.
Shen Fu choked for a while, and no matter what, he found that he couldn’t say the numerous things that flashed through his mind in that instant while looking at Lin ShuYi’s slightly innocent face. “Never mind, you can go and figure it out slowly by yourself. I’m going to take a shower.”
Recently, Shen Fu had been going to XiQin Restaurant to help out every day just like Lin ShuYi. He was very good at talking, and everybody who met him liked him, so he was also exceptionally charming at XiQin Restaurant.
Originally, Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi’s personalities were different, so Old Man Yang didn’t dare to really ask him to do anything. But afterwards, Shen Fu started to help out on his own without any sign of ulterior motives, and Old Man Yang also gradually relaxed. He endlessly praised Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi for both being good children.
Even though Shen Fu taught Lin ShuYi how to play on the phone, he discovered that Lin ShuYi still never played on it while he was at work, or in other words, while he was at XiQin Restaurant. No matter how unwilling he was to part with his phone at home, after he got to XiQin Restaurant, he would put the phone responsibly inside his bag, never taking it out.
Shen Fu always felt that Lin ShuYi’s old-fashioned-ness wasn’t without logic. It was as if he had a very strict standard for himself, and he obeyed it rigidly, never attempting to break it. For example, he went to bed every day at eight and woke up the next day at five. After he woke up, he had to take a walk outside before he went to XiQin Restaurant. His daily routine was perfect just like everything else, and he was structured to the point that he didn’t seem like a young person at all.
However, there was only one exception: delicious food. Only delicious food could make him like that time before when he came back at ten PM.
Every time Shen Fu teased him, he would always bring some small snacks back from outside after Lin ShuYi went to sleep. He would then crouch at his bedside and wake up him, beaming.
“Hey, Lin ShuYi, I have some small desserts, do you want to try?”
Lin ShuYi would open his eyes. At first, he would stare at him, bewildered, before his eyes would light up when he saw the food. “What?”
“Chocolate mousse, do you want some?”
Shen Fu had finally slowly discovered what Lin ShuYi’s taste in food was. He was the least resistant to small, extremely sweet desserts. Sure enough, Lin ShuYi’s eyes glittered even brighter.
“Yes.” Only after he crawled up to eat it and brushed his teeth again did Lin ShuYi realize that Shen Fu was teasing him. He glared at him viciously, but he fell for the same trick again next time.
“If you like to eat dessert so much, why don’t you make it yourself?”
“Make it myself?”
“Yeah.” Shen Fu reclined against the sofa as he looked at Lin ShuYi hold a small box and stuff his cheeks like a hamster. He couldn’t help but want to laugh. “Buy an oven to bake it yourself. But if it’s mousse cake, you would probably need a fridge.”
Lin ShuYi didn’t understand, and he tilted his head as he looked at him.
“Never mind, just eat, pretend like I didn’t say anything.” Lin ShuYi was already busy enough, where would he find the time to make this? It would be better if Shen Fu just bought it for him.
In reality, besides XiQin Restaurant’s noodles, Shen Fu had never really experienced Lin ShuYi’s cooking skill. It was because Lin ShuYi didn’t really know how to make simple dishes; all the ones that Song Yan taught him were some difficult dishes that tasted absolutely divine. Since dishes often seen at home were too simple and he rarely tried to make it, they were often made by Old Man Yang. Lin ShuYi helped by chopping vegetables and acting as an assistant.
Today, the two of them had just reached XiQin Restaurant when Old Man Yang walked over joyfully.
“Xiao Yi ah, grandpa is going to be gone for two days. If you want to open the restaurant, then open it. If you don’t, it’s fine if you close it for two days. It’s up to you?”
Lin ShuYi was stunned, and he kneaded his hands together. “Where… is grandpa going?”
Old Man Yang didn’t detect Lin ShuYi’s stiffness, but Shen Fu went up and placed an arm on Lin ShuYi’s shoulders. Old Man Yang said, “Yesterday night, Xiao Xiao gave me a call and asked me to go over to stay with him for two days.” His face was all smiles, and he seemed extremely happy.
Only then did Shen Fu feel the shoulders underneath his hand relax. Lin ShuYi chuckled. “It’s fine. In any case, I have nothing else to do.”
Old Man Yang patted Lin ShuYi’s head. This young lad was truly warm-hearted; if only he were really his grandson.
“That’s fine. The vegetable and meat shops already recognize you, so you can also go over and get vegetables at your leisure. If anything happens, you can call grandpa…” He only remembered that he didn’t have a cellphone after he finished speaking, nor could Lin ShuYi call him. He smiled and modified, “I’m only staying for a few days, so nothing should happen. If you really don’t want to open it, then just close the restaurant. Two days won’t make much of a difference.”
After that, Old Man Yang left, leaving Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu staring at each other in the shop.
“Are you fine by yourself?”
Lin ShuYi shot him a look before he put on the apron with the cartoon décor. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Shen Fu couldn’t help but burst out in laughter. After that, he rolled up his sleeves. “Here, let me help.”
Shen Fu chopped vegetables, while Lin ShuYi cooked. The two of them actually worked together quite well, even a bit better than Lin ShuYi and Old Man Yang. It took less time than usual.
By the time people showed up, Lin ShuYi cooked, while Shen Fu was in charge of bringing out noodles and collecting money, before finally washing the dishes.
Washing dishes had always been Old Man Yang’s job. Neither Shen Fu nor Lin ShuYi had washed them before. Now that Old Man Yang was gone, this was also their task.
Lin ShuYi didn’t really care, but after he broke two bowls after coating them with slippery dishwashing detergent, Shen Fu went up and stopped him, both of his eyebrows jumping. “Grandpa just left, and you’re gonna smash his shop? Once he comes back, he’ll be so distressed. Let me do it.”
How long had it been since he had washed dishes, ah?
Lin ShuYi flushed a rare red, and he was a little at a loss of what to do as he stood there. He had never used this thing before, so he didn’t know that it was actually so slippery. In Da Yan, they usually used luffa pulp to wash dishes; what’s more, his teacher said that ‘a nobleman who has seen a living animal cannot bear to see it die, henceforth he should stay away from the kitchen.’ As a result, he secretly learned how to cook from Song Yan, so never mind washing dishes, he had never done such a thing.
Actually, ever since Lin ShuYi took over for Old Man Yang, he very rarely ate noodles anymore. It made some sense that he wouldn’t eat what he sold. Even though noodles were still as delicious as ever, he still always wanted to eat something else. Furthermore, he had that picky eater Shen Fu at his side.
At noon, Shen Fu went out to get the vegetables. Once he came back, not only did he bring the vegetables for the restaurant, he also brought a few bags of first-rate small ribs. Lin ShuYi didn’t know how he swayed the shopkeepers into giving it to him for free.
After he brought it back, he stared longingly at the small ribs greedily. He didn’t know that Lin ShuYi could also make other dishes, and he only kept muttering to himself that it would be a waste if such good ribs weren’t made into something delicious. Originally, he wanted to make it himself, but he knew very clearly that he himself could only cut vegetables, not cook them.
Just when he was holding a knife, considering where it would be best to slice the meat, a slender and fair finger reached over.
“Cut it here. This length should be fine.”
Shen Fu looked back. Lin ShuYi stood next to him, still wearing that ridiculous apron. The one who had pointed at the ribs with his finger was him.
“So you know how to cook?”
Lin ShuYi rolled his eyes and nodded. Shen Fu instantly immediately obeyed and cut up the meat before washing it and handing it to Lin ShuYi.
Lin ShuYi pointed at the clay pot that he brought back from his house last time. “Rinse this out.”
Shen Fu followed his command, and as he washed, he asked him, “What are you going to make?”
“Pork ribs in a clay pot.”
It sounded delicious just by the name. Shen Fu beamed and scooted closer. “You should add some potatoes in it. I want to eat it.”
Lin ShuYi didn’t eat spicy food, so Shen Fu didn’t request that he put in hot peppers. He poured a little plate of the garlic chili that Old Man Yang had made for himself and rolled the food in it a bit, giving it another sort of distinctive flavor.
Lin ShuYi ate his own food while looking at Shen Fu, as if he kept feeling like Shen Fu’s was a little more delicious.
After that, he also picked up a piece and rolled it a bit in the chili sauce. Before Shen Fu could say anything, he put it in his mouth, and his throat exploded at once with spiciness.
Shen Fu looked all around for water, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. “I saw grandpa make this chili sauce a few days ago with chili peppers. It’s that spicy, yet you still dare to eat it?”
It was so spicy that Lin ShuYi’s eyes were watering. He drank an entire cup of water before he stuck out his tongue and said, “I didn’t see your expression change while you ate the noodles.”
Shen Fu was startled, and then he laughed. “Can you compare with me? My mom really likes to eat spicy, so I inherited it.”