Chapter 51 – “Art of Food”
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After staying in Xi Baichen’s villa for two days, Mi Li had not yet crossed back. Her consciousness would still possess different objects when she was asleep, but she now had a certain degree of autonomy and could attempt to choose a target for possession.
She also discovered a rule: the closer her possession target was to Xi Baichen, the higher the success rate. No matter where he was, she could find him. No wonder she always appeared near him every time she crossed over.
Mi Li was very curious about this. There seemed to be some kind of magnetic attraction between her and Xi Baichen. It was just that Xi Baichen was stationary, but she was mobile.
“What are you doing?” Xi Baichen walked over with a plate of fruit and saw Mi Li sitting on the sofa, holding a laptop in a daze.
“I’m looking at your webpage.” Mi Li’s computer screen displayed the promotion page of Xi Baichen’s new book “Art of Food”.
Thanks to the popularity of the movie “Blessed Cat”, Xi Baichen’s novels also became very popular. Of the readers who originally just followed the trend, most became his loyal fans after reading a few works.
The latest release of “Art of Food” had also received good reputation and recommendations, but the real cause of its popularity was because of Food_Blogger’s video.
The recipes used in “Art of Food” were basically Mi Li’s collection of original creations. Many minor techniques were ingenious and the taste was also unique.
Ordinary readers generally didn’t think about the authenticity of these recipes, but this blogger was very curious. On a whim one day, she made a dish according to the recipe in the book and was surprised to find that its taste was very good!
She posted her findings on the internet and said she would verify all the recipes in the book, one by one, in a live broadcast.
The blogger was very popular, with more than one million fans. When the news was released, it immediately attracted many netizens.
There were at least 50 dishes mentioned in “Art of Food”, half of which had recipes that could basically be determined. The other half were relatively complex and many key steps required elaboration, which left people mystified.
However, the twenty-odd dishes selected so far had been restored by Food_Blogger. Their tastes were very good and highly praised. Many netizens rushed to follow suit and shared their experiences and thoughts with everyone.
Foodies were most interested in the difficult to replicate delicacies in the book, especially the Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus that was written brilliantly. It was described as masterful and intricate, so much so that even some chefs were eager to try it.
Unfortunately, none of these delicacies could be restored. Many people began to suspect that these dishes had been imagined by the author out of thin air, half true and half false, and some could not be made at all.
“Old Bai, are your fans all foodies?” Mi Li read the netizens’ comments with relish.
Xi Baichen sat next to her and gave her a piece of fruit. When he saw that she enjoyed it, he couldn’t help but smile. “Aren’t you one too?”
“En.” Mi Li couldn’t refute it. She pointed at the top comment and said, “Your fans want to see you cook a dish yourself. Do you want to show your skills?”
Xi Baichen glanced at her. “Don’t you know how many hands I have?”
Mi Li: “…” Isn’t this a pun?
“I haven’t eaten most of the dishes in your cookbook. When will you cook them for me?” Xi Baichen’s calm tone carried some hints of distress.
“What do you want to eat?” Her man had to be pampered, and Mi Li was very happy to meet his demands.
“Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus.” Xi Baichen unrestrainedly ordered this long-awaited delicacy.
“No problem. This dish is relatively complex. I need to make some preparations first.” Mi Li retrieved paper and pen, writing down the ingredients, condiments and utensils needed.
Mi Li once learned a few dishes from a master, but did not formally apprentice under him; it was just a hobby. She later added her own innovations to these dishes. Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus was one of the more successful ones.
It took a whole day to prepare. Before Mi Li started, she suddenly asked Xi Baichen, “Should we record a video?”
Xi Baichen: “Why?”
“Aren’t some people questioning the authenticity of this dish on the internet?” Mi Li laughed, “We’ll let them see how it’s done.”
Xi Baichen was famous, and there were many people who liked him. Naturally, there were also many anti-fans. The dishes that appeared in “Art of Food” were particularly controversial.
Food_Blogger was also framed by anti-fans as having been paid off by Xi Baichen, causing her to be innocently sprayed with saliva. Although these sorts of comments only accounted for a small portion, it meant some believed it as long as the reactions weren’t uniform.
In particular, the multiple complex recipes in the book which couldn’t be restored especially bolstered the anti-fans. Everyday, these idle and incensed people visited Xi Da’s web page to make their existence known.
Xi Baichen didn’t care, but Mi Li was very angry.
How can my man be bullied by others?!
“There’s no need.” Xi Baichen soothed, “This is your craft. Wouldn’t it be a loss for others to learn it?”
“Don’t worry, Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus can’t be learned by just watching.” Mi Li laid out all the ingredients one by one, then turned on the camera and started cooking.
Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus was a healthy delicacy, and its cooking process was complicated. After completion, people could greatly enjoy its beautiful shape, color, fragrance and taste.
Mi Li focused, her actions skilled, she completely immersed herself in the joy of creation.
Xi Baichen stood by, silently watching her every move.
Cutting, shaving, grinding, pinching, carving… Her fingers moved nimbly to handle each ingredient in an orderly manner.
The usual Little Mi was like a carefree tease, but at this time, she was like a calm conductor, exuding a charming demeanor.
Xi Baichen couldn’t help but be stunned; his clear eyes only saw a single person’s figure.
It was unknown how long it took before a strong fragrance reached his nose, and Xi Baichen finally recovered from his mesmerized state.
“Okay, mission accomplished!” Mi Li carried the finished Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus to the front of the camera. Faint steam blurred the lens, and it gradually cleared up after tens of seconds.
On the jade-colored porcelain plate, a white lotus flower was seen blooming in clear liquid. The stamen was made of chicken, mushrooms, vermicelli, scallops and other ingredients. Under the light, greens and reds were intertwined, glowing and floating on the water. It was a work of art.
Xi Baichen was dumbfounded again. He kept feeling that his words could not fully reflect the essence of this delicacy.
“Try it.” Mi Li brought a spoonful of soup to his mouth.
He took a sip from her hand, and suddenly felt that all his taste buds were stimulated. It was thick but not greasy and had a delicious aftertaste. The soup looked very light, but the taste was very strong.
He, who had never paid attention to taste, felt the charm of food for the first time. Although Xi Baichen was born in a rich family, his mother suffered from postpartum depression, and his nominal father had only fulfilled the most basic responsibilities of a guardian. His three meals a day were all taken care of by the nanny. His only requirement for food was to fill his stomach, and he never cared about its taste. Whether it was takeout or instant noodles, it made no difference.
But today, he suddenly felt that he had missed out on many things in the past.
Mi Li fed him a piece of chicken. She couldn’t help but be happy when she watched him enjoying it in satisfaction.
“Is it tasty?”
Xi Baichen nodded honestly, speeding up his eating.
Mi Li uploaded the video she just recorded into the computer, edited it a bit, and then posted it under the name of Xi Da.
“A Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus: Really Fragrant Video” — She had cut corners with the title, but it attracted a lot of netizens.
[ I’ll watch it, is Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus a real thing? ]
[ Aaahhh! Although I can’t see the face, the hands are beautiful. I’m in love, I’m in love. ]
[ This knife work is amazing! ]
[ Watching the video, it doesn’t seem that hard. As long as the chef has a little experience, it can be done. ]
[ Previous commenter, do it if you can! ]
[ It’s truly a really fragrant video, it’s making me hungry. ]
[ It’s just one dish, does it need to be so beautiful??? ]
[ D*mn, Baby is so envious! Facing such delicacies, how can I still eat my own steamed buns? ]
[ @Food_Blogger, Thousand-Handed Buddha Real Fragrant Edition, does the blogger want to take up the challenge? ]
[ Didn’t some people say that most of the recipes in Xi Da’s novel are made up? Does your face hurt now? ]
[ It looks good, but who knows if it’s delicious? ]
[ Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus has appeared. I want to know whether the protagonist’s One Leaf Crossing the River, Eight Treasures Miracle, and Palace Embroidered Brocade are also real? ]
[ Same, I want to know. Begging for Real Fragrant video please! ]
[ Real Fragrant video please! +1 ]
[ +2 ]
Following that was an unbroken combo…
With the release of this video, the popularity of “Art of Food” went up again, and the number of people studying the recipes in the book went up as well.
But most of those who tried to copy this Thousand-Handed Buddha Lotus failed. Even if they managed to barely copy it, the dish only had the form without the taste. The difficulty was evident, so the status of this dish rose to a certain height in everyone’s hearts, and several other dishes that were difficult to replicate were also covered in a veil of mystery.
Neither Xi Baichen nor Mi Li paid much attention to the turmoil outside.
The two stayed at home, one responsible for cooking and the other responsible for eating. Whether it was the kitchen or the bedroom, they cooperated closely and lived a life of “luxury” isolated from the world.
It wasn’t until the fourth night that Mi Li crossed back while taking a nap in the bath.
Xi Baichen excitedly waited for her in bed, but not even a ghost appeared…
After Mi Li came back, she wondered how to deal with the problem of Duan Zhengrong. Unexpectedly, before she could act, she got a shocking piece of news from Duan Xiaoyu.
“What? Your brother was arrested?”
Duan Xiaoyu said despondently, “Yes, just yesterday, he was detained on charges of disorderly conduct and drug possession. My parents asked me to find someone to help, but I have no connections and don’t know what to do. “
“Drug possession – it’s not a minor offense.” Mi Li had a strange hunch in her heart, and kept feeling that this matter had something to do with Xi Baichen. She remembered that Xi Baichen had said before that he would help her deal with “Duan Zhenrong”. However, he and Duan Zhengrong were not people of the same world, could they still influence each other?
“My parents only have this one son. What will they do if something happens to him?”
“If you do something wrong, you will be punished.” Mi Li didn’t like Duan Xiaoyu’s mindset where she always held her parents and younger brother first. “Don’t interfere in this matter. Help your brother find a lawyer and let the court decide what happens. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to keep him in prison for a few years. Protecting him all the time is actually harming him.”
Duan Xiaoyu saw that Mi Li couldn’t help, so she could only return in despair.
Mi Li began to consider whether she should be more reserved in her attitude towards Duan Xiaoyu. A person could be poor, kind, and simple, but she couldn’t be without her own opinions. If she couldn’t control her own life, what right do others have to intervene?
“Forget it, I won’t interfere. After all, it’s Xiaoyu’s family affair. I can give advice, but what to do with it depends on her.” Mi Li was even more curious about the situation of “Duan Zhenrong” in the other world. If the people in the two worlds could influence each other, where was the person who influenced her?
- 我有几手，你不知道吗？— This can either mean “What skills I have, don’t you already know?” or “How many hands I have, don’t you already know?” The second interpretation is more literal, and I didn’t notice it at all until it was pointed out to me.
- Really Fragrant (真香) — A meme in China. Apparently, some guy said he would never eat some food, but finally ate it and said it’s “really fragrant.” It’s used to refer to someone adamantly refusing to do something, but then taking initiative to do it anyway.