Out of curiosity, do you guys call it congee or rice porridge? I’ve always grown up with it being called congee on my side of the world. Just a random question that popped into my mind, and I thought I’d poll all of you. 😉
Oh, Jue Mei, you crack me up! Jue Mei DaRen continues to show his humorous side… but we also see a thoughtful side of him he’s never shown before. And a *nuzzle*… ❤
Chapter 37 – Floured Beef Steamed in a Cup (7)
Gu Sheng abruptly leapt up from the bed onto her feet, nearly bursting into tears. Why was Jue Mei here, ah?!!!!
More than a dozen strands of hair all snapped. All that hard work just now was basically… wasted. Mo Qingcheng wanted to laugh but coughed several times instead. In a weary and somewhat resigned voice, he answered, “If you want to help us close the door, go ahead, but first turn on the lights for us.”
A hand reached into the room, felt along the wall, and found the light switch.
With a click, the entire room was illuminated.
Jue Mei finally stuck his head into the room and nosily gave a couple of glances around. The male and female stars of the show, one was still coughing lightly and the other was standing there with her head down looking like she had stolen a hundred chickens, but there otherwise didn’t seem to be anything… unusual going on with them? He grinned apologetically, “Please forgive the imagination of someone who does voice acting… For example, ‘That hurt? Mm… Don’t move if it hurts…’ and other dialogue like that.” He cleared his throat. “You get what I mean, Toupai DaRen.”
“You’re done playing your video games?”
“Almost. Hungry… Wanted to come out and dig up something to eat. Otherwise, I wouldn’t dare disturb you guys.”
He had been here the whole time?
Jue Mei had been home the whole time?!
Gu Sheng stared incredulously at Toupai. Toupai seemed to know what she wanted to ask, and in a hoarse voice, he explained, “When you first got here, I sent him a message telling him to hang out in his own room and not come out to wander around so you wouldn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable.”
Now I feel even more awkward, you know? …
Gu Sheng felt she could not stand like this beside him any longer, letting that tall, strapping man at the doorway watch them like a spectator. Rolling up her sleeves, she started heading towards the kitchen, murmuring as if to herself, “We’ll have rice porridge tonight, okay? You should have uncooked rice in your home, right? And I’ll make some lighter dishes…”
She did not get to finish what she was saying.
The person leaning back in bed gently spoke up his objection. “I want to eat floured beef steamed in a cup tonight.”
Gu Sheng turned back to look blankly at him. Weren’t sick people supposed to eat lighter?
“Okay?” He… he intentionally changed his voice again. He used one that was instantly able to completely do her in to softly ask her if it was okay… Gu Sheng took a quick breather to overcome the side of her that had completely surrendered to him. Hardening her heart, she refused him. “Another day, okay? You have a fever today…”
“The ingredients are all ready and in the fridge,” he said, already lifting off the covers and getting off the bed. He slipped his bare feet into a pair of slippers. “The fever seems to have gone down a bit right now. I’ll go make it for you guys.”
Staring at him there in his short-sleeve shirt, she had an urge to bury him inside his blankets. How could she bear to let him go to the kitchen to cook?
Gu Sheng’s gaze flitted all around. Feeling especially helpless, she tried one more time to convince this man who, when he stood up, was a full head taller than her. “You need to eat lighter foods when you have a fever… You’re a doctor yourself…”
Hey, the tall, strapping guy off to the side there, can you not say something to persuade him?!
With an innocent expression that seemed to say, “I honestly don’t know how to cook,” Jue Mei Sha Yi returned the look Gu Sheng gave him.
So, in this way, she watched as Mo Qingcheng slipped on his watch again. With an unperturbed expression on his face, he walked over to the wardrobe to grab a sweatshirt to wear. He truly intended on going like that to make dinner for them while still fevering…
He was completely taking up this task wholeheartedly and without any complaint. Completely … being wholeheartedly willing and uncomplaining, so much so that it caused your heart to ache …
“I’ll make it… But, you can only eat a little bit.”
She surrendered, utterly and completely.
Since she agreed to make the steamed beef for him, she had no choice but to follow his instructions, finding all the ingredients in the refrigerator. Even the individual tart moulds could be found. Oh my gosh, if Toupai was not a doctor, he would unquestionably be an internationally recognized chef…
She started to recall…
In those previous five minutes, how had Toupai sat face-to-face with her and explained the recipe for making this dish? He had only managed to say a couple of sentences before his body was racked with a low cough, and he had had to pick up a glass and take several drinks of water. In the end, she could not bear to see him like that and had told him that she would look up the recipe on Baidu herself and figure out how to make it.
Hopefully… what she cooked would not be too disappointing.
Toupai had already pre-sliced the beef.
The white porcelain bowl next to her hand had already been filled with a rice-millet flour mixture consisting of ground uncooked long grain rice, glutinous rice, and foxtail millet…
These had been prepared when he came home today at noon… At the time, he should have had a fever already. Sure enough, nothing could stop him from advancing his desire to have steamed floured beef…
She poured the beef into the porcelain bowl, added baking soda and some cooking wine, and then stirred hard … The recipe did not say how long to mix it, so she decided to simply put in a good effort and stir for a while before then adding scallions, ginger, water, soy sauce, and olive oil.
It needed to be marinated for ten minutes?
She looked down at the bowl, then glanced at her watch.
“It’s a good thing you came.” Jue Mei stood at the door of the kitchen, watching her and also sighing. “The more I think about it, the more I feel that the person who benefits most from him having a girlfriend is definitely me. You know, if you hadn’t come, I’m sure I would have had to make this meal…”
Jue Mei did not know how to cook at all and was accustomed normally to getting served by Toupai, so even more so, he felt that cooking was the topmost scariest task.
Gu Sheng laughed, “I’m not that good at cooking either… But I can learn relatively quickly, I’m guessing, probably because I’m a girl. I just need to look at the recipe once and I can basically make something pretty close to what it should be.”
“Him too.” Jue Mei held this in deep admiration. “Most of his time is spent shopping in the grocery store. He’ll buy whatever veggie or meat he wants to eat, then he’ll go research recipes and think about how to use the ingredients…”
Buy the ingredients first before deciding how to use them?
A very… advanced foodie.
The online identity, Qiang Qing Ci, who did not seem like he partook of things of this world, in reality, was more the Mo Qingcheng who loved good food.
An angel who had fallen into a kitchen. He was becoming more and more real.
Gu Sheng and Jue Mei casually chatted while she made rice porridge and washed and cut the vegetables she had pulled out from the refrigerator. She did not really cook at home either T.T… Hopefully she did not embarrass herself too much in front of these two men.
“He’s faded out of the online entertainment circle for two or three years now.” Jue Mei unexpectedly changed the topic. “He doesn’t have too much spare time, so he doesn’t really pay attention to any of the gossip going on in the circle.” Gu Sheng switched on the rice cooker and then, not really understanding what Jue Mei was trying to say, looked over at him with a puzzled expression.
“You know about that message forwarding incident he once had?”
That could be considered the only black mark in Qiang Qing Ci’s history? In fact, he had only been trying to be kind. He had been @ by someone in a post that was looking for a lost pet, and he merely had tried to help by retweeting the post. In the end, though, it was found out that the post was just a scam to try to gain retweets, and the supposed phone number of the pet owner was actually a pay-per-call number.
When the scam was confirmed, he immediately deleted the Weibo post and posted an apology.
However, that was unable to prevent the large number of badmouthing posts that had condemned him from top to bottom, to the point that finally, they had speculated with certainty that he was the mastermind behind the whole scheme and was even splitting the profits of the pay-per-call number…
For three whole months, his fans and the people badmouthing him were in vicious quarreling, and there were also malicious spectators who would throw in little untruths and details to play up the situation. Even to this day, threads on various forums discussing the gossip of the 2-D world would always have someone mentioning this incident and claiming in definite words that it was true…
Where there were people, there would be conflict and grudges.
The more famous one became, the more jealous people became…
She fell for his voice relatively late in his career, and it was only last year when she had heard about this incident.
However, she still felt he had been unfairly wronged.
Pouring some oil into the wok, she began to stir-fry some shiitake mushrooms and choy sum.
“That’s why, eh, there’s a type of hate that we call ‘jealousy-envy-hate.’” Jue Mei grinned and looked at her. “With this sort of hate, you can’t debate with them and agree on right or wrong. You can only let time tell everything.”
And with that, Jue Mei sauntered away…
Gu Sheng stared uncomprehendingly for a moment before suddenly realizing what he wanted to say.
All those negative criticisms of her works floating out on the web … Her lips turned up in a smile. Even just at noon today, she had been upset about this, but after Mo Qingcheng’s fever disrupted everything, she seemed to feel that none of this really mattered anymore …
People can hide behind their computer screen, and they do not need to take responsibility for what they say.
So, when you shut off your computer, everything will go away.
She finished stir-frying the shiitake and choy sum, served it onto a plate, and took it out to the dining room table.
It should be about ten minutes now…
What needed to be done next?…
Oh, darn. She needed to look it up online again. Dejectedly, she headed back into Toupai’s bedroom, picked up his laptop, and looked through that webpage that was still open. As she sat on the couch, she saw Toupai getting off his bed again. Oh my, what was she going to do with him? “Don’t keep getting out of bed… It’ll make your cold worse.” Though, he had already been forced by her to put on a long-sleeved shirt a little while ago.
But it really was not good for someone with a fever to walk around like this, ah.
How come when she was around him, she became so nagging?…
He pulled out a throat lozenge and sucked on it as he sat down next to her. Pointing at his throat, he said, “No more fever, just a sore throat, so it’s no big deal.”
“When I had fevers in the past, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed for the whole day.”
Mo Qingcheng smiled unconcernedly. “One time, I had a fever in the morning but was called into work for the afternoon, and I worked all the way until the following morning.”
…… That was what you called, working yourself to death?
Gu Sheng’s brow furrowed. “Don’t your mom and dad worry? … To let you work like that…”
“They’re okay. One of them works in the liver transplant center and the other is a cardiac surgeon. It’s already pretty good if the two of them can sit down to have a couple dinners together during the week. That’s why they encouraged me to choose the relatively lighter and more relaxed workload of cardiology. They probably… don’t think my work is too exhausting.”
He wasn’t a pediatrician?
The information of the old lady across the hall was really not reliable, ah…
But could stuff involving the heart really be “lighter and more relaxed”? … Her understanding of the hospital was no different from any other ordinary person. Occasionally, she would complain about it being too busy or how a doctor was bad or something. Even though, since she learned that he was a doctor, these angels in white coats had suddenly become a lot more loveable to her… But, she still did not understand their work.
She could only give a vague “mm” in reply and continue to bury her head down to look over the recipe.
The next steps were easy. Take the rice-millet flour and beef he had prepared and mix them together. Spoon the mixture into the tart moulds and steam them for twelve minutes. Pour hot sesame oil over each one, and then they were ready. A very easy dish to make. Of course, he had actually done all the prep work already.
Mo Qingcheng was sucking on his throat lozenge, and occasionally, there would be the sound of the lozenge bumping against teeth.
She committed the steps to memory and was about to set down the laptop off to the side when she felt a weight on her shoulder. Just like that, his chin was resting on her shoulder… His voice was right by her ear as it said softly, “Thank you my girlfriend DaRen for all your trouble, making dinner for me.”
The warmness of his breath plus his voice…
The voice she had the most difficulty resisting…
His voice was somewhat muffled and unclear but was very warm and gentle as it continued, “Thank you for coming to keep me company.”
She answered very quietly, “I was worried you were home alone… In case there was no one to take care of you…”
Then, there were a few seconds of silence.
She seemed to sense that he wanted to……
All the blood in her body once again rushed upwards, and even her neck turned red. Immediately, she put down the computer and dashed out. “I’m going to cook dinner now.”
She slipped into the kitchen and did not come out again until dinner was complete. She glanced at the two men, who had sat down already and were eating tofu with scallions and rice porridge, and wordlessly seated herself next to Mo Qingcheng. The two of them were in the middle of a casual conversation, and as Jue Mei chatted away, he ended up bringing up the topic of Wanmei’s upcoming anniversary celebration. Jue Mei said with a show of seriousness, “You have to make sure your throat and voice are better by that day.”
Mo Qingcheng used his chopsticks to pick up bite after bite of tofu. “Don’t talk about work when eating.”
Jue Mei gave an “oh” in reply. Beaming, he looked at Gu Sheng for three full seconds, until Gu Sheng felt her hairs rise, before continuing to ask Mo Qingcheng, “Did I interrupt something good a while ago?”
Gu Sheng had been sipping rice porridge right then and nearly choked…
“Don’t cross the line.” Toupai’s eyes squinted as he carried on with munching on the tofu in a manner that could be called “returning gratitude and vengeance accordingly” …
Jue Mei guffawed at this. The topic quickly changed over to his annual physical check-up, and as he talked about it, he went off to grab the medical report to hand over to Mo Qingcheng. Mo Qingcheng flipped through it. “No real big problems. Just that you’ve been eating too well normally, and if you don’t pay more attention, you’re going to get fatty liver.”
Sighing, Jue Mei looked over at Gu Sheng. “You say, anyone who sticks with him will eventually eat so well they get sick.”
Gu Sheng felt his words did make sense. She nodded. “You need to eat both meat and vegetables. Occasionally adding some sort of whole grain or something would be best.”
Jue Mei answered, “I’ll try. When he’s not home, I just eat cornmeal porridge.”
With a light laugh, Gu Sheng lowered her head to continue eating her rice porridge.
However, she had just taken a swallow when Jue Mei added in a heartfelt tone, “So when you marry him, you have to be cautious about this, too.”
Her mouthful of rice porridge got stuck in her throat.
It scalded her so badly that tears sprung out from her eyes…