Chapter 86 (Part 2): The Culinary Tycoon

Chang Sheng hesitated for a moment, lowered his gaze, then raised his head with a silly smile and said, “I… I won’t go. You go back and eat quickly. It’s cold outside, and the food will get cold soon.”

Chang Le looked at his second uncle for a long time, and then gestured a long message.

Chang Hao said, “My brother says that what happened back then was an accident, and it’s not your fault. Father and mother have never blamed you either. My brother also said that our family is doing well now, and he is doing well too. Brother Yu treats him well, and he will get married next year. It’s time for you to let go of the past and live a good life.”

Upon hearing this, Chang Sheng’s nose tingled, and he quickly turned his head, wiping his eyes with his hand, and whispered, “If only I had taken better care of you, all of this wouldn’t have happened… Sigh, let’s not talk about this. You should go back and eat, don’t worry about me, go back quickly.”

Chang Le frowned, stepped forward, took the bowl and chopsticks from his second uncle’s hand, and placed them in the kitchen. Then he grabbed his second uncle’s wrist and started walking.

“Hey, Xiao Le, wait, wait…” Chang Sheng was a bit flustered, but he couldn’t resist the strength of Brother Le, who was dragging him along.

At the door, they ran into Wen Li, and Chang Sheng asked Wen Li to help stop Brother Le.

Wen Li sneered at him and said, “If you have the ability, stop him yourself. Every year it’s the same, we invite you but you never come. You’re already old, yet you insist on having Brother Le and the others come and invite you!” With that, he turned his head and walked away. It wasn’t until they had walked quite a distance that Chang Sheng finally sniffed hard, blinked his eyes, and held back the sour feeling.

So, Chang Sheng was forcibly dragged to the Chang’s courtyard by Brother Le.

“Oh, Chang Sheng is here! Come, come, sit here. Aze has cooked some delicious dishes. We must have a good drink.” When the men at the table saw Chang Sheng, they called out to him.

Brother Le pulled Chang Sheng directly to that table and gave him a bowl and chopsticks. With these men around, his second uncle couldn’t leave.

Grandpa Chang and Yu Qingze were also sitting at that table. When Chang Sheng sat down, Yu Qingze poured him a drink and raised his glass first, saying, “Second Uncle, we’ve been looking forward to your arrival. It’s almost New Year, so let’s have a good drink. Cheers, and Happy New Year!”

Chang Sheng was still a bit reserved, but seeing Yu Qingze toasting as soon as they sat down, he instinctively picked up his glass and replied, “Happy New Year! Happy New Year!”

They had a lively meal of the pig-killing feast, and everyone praised Yu Qingze’s cooking skills. Finally, they understood why his shop was so popular.

His skills were extraordinary!

After breakfast, the men who helped with the pig slaughter stayed behind to cut the remaining pork, while others went back home.

They kept the meat they would need during the New Year and turned the surplus into cured meat. Some of it was stuffed into jars to be cured. It took them a whole morning to process the entire pig.

The next day was New Year’s Eve.

They woke up early that day. The whole family was wearing new clothes made by Brother Le and looked especially spirited.

After breakfast, Grandpa Chang and Brother Le were busy killing chickens and ducks, while Yu Qingze and two young boys posted couplets, hung lanterns, and put up New Year paintings.

After finishing the decorations, everyone started preparing for the New Year’s Eve dinner together. It was a bustling scene.

The New Year’s Eve dinner here usually starts in the afternoon and continues until evening. They would then have another meal of dumplings a little later in the evening.

The New Year’s Eve dinner was prepared extravagantly, with chicken, duck, and fish on the menu. Yu Qingze also bought some lamb and made braised lamb. He also stewed pig’s trotters with sweet potato vermicelli, which was delicious.

Chinese New Year Feast

“Come, come, the final dish, ‘Year after Year with ‘Yu’!’ Xiao Hao, you can set off the firecrackers!” Yu Qingze placed the last dish of braised fish on the table and called out to Chang Hao, who was in the yard.

“Oh, great!” Chang Hao had been waiting to set off firecrackers. When he heard Yu Qingze’s voice, he lit the fuse of the firecrackers with the incense in his hand.

Crackling sounds filled the air—crackling sounds filled the air—

It’s New Year!

After paying respects to their ancestors, the five of them sat around a table and could finally start their meal.

This was Yu Qingze’s first New Year’s Eve dinner since he came here, and it was the happiest New Year’s Eve dinner he had in the twelve years since his grandfather passed away.

Because he could finally celebrate the New Year with his family again.

He was filled with joy and excitement, but unfortunately, Grandpa Chang was drinking Chinese medicine and couldn’t have alcohol. Brother Le accompanied him and had a few drinks instead.

The two young boys couldn’t drink, so Yu Qingze bought fresh apples and oranges and made juice for them. The two boys were delighted with the drinks.

They spent a whole hour enjoying the meal. After finishing, Brother Le just collapsed and fell asleep.

Yu Qingze helped him to his room and let him rest. He himself took a short nap and then woke up to make dumplings.

In the evening, the family had another meal of dumplings. They sat around the charcoal brazier, eating melon seeds, peanuts, and red dates, chatting and staying up late together. The atmosphere was joyful.

Brother Le listened to their conversation while making shoes. These were cotton shoes he was making for Jiabao. There was one shoe left without the upper part, and he wanted to finish it tonight so that Jiabao could wear the new shoes tomorrow.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

They chatted for a while, and Yu Qingze remembered the pig bristles he deliberately kept from yesterday’s pig slaughtering. He went to find a piece of wood and picked up the small knife he borrowed from the village chief’s house to start shaving.

“Big brother, what are you doing?” Jiabao asked.

“I’m trying to make a toothbrush,” Yu Qingze said as he shaved. He remembered reading online that ancient people used pig bristles to make toothbrushes. They would make small holes in the wood and insert the pig bristles into them.

Upon hearing this, Chang Hao curiously asked, “Toothbrush? For brushing teeth?”

Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Using willow branches is not very convenient for us, especially in winter when the willow branches are dried up. If I can make it, it will be more convenient for us to brush our teeth.”

“Oh, what does it look like?”

“It’s probably like this. I’ll thin down this piece of wood a bit, then carve a row of small holes inside and secure the pig bristles in them…”

“But how do you secure them?”

“Well, I have to think about that. Maybe you can think about it too?”

“Oh, then let’s think. Can we tie it with a rope?”

“If the rope gets wet, it might break, right? How about using wire?”

“Like a shuttlecock, if we fill it up with bristles, they won’t fall out, right?”


The two young boys started discussing back and forth.

They stayed up until late at night, but Grandpa Chang couldn’t stay awake any longer and went to sleep. The two boys were also dozing off.

Yu Qingze told the two boys to go to sleep and stayed up for the New Year’s Eve with Brother Le.

“Brother Le, if you’re sleepy, you can go to sleep. I can stay awake.”

Brother Le shook his head and gestured with the shoes in his hand, indicating that he wouldn’t feel sleepy as long as he had work to do.

So, one was making shoes while the other was making a toothbrush. They would steal glances at each other from time to time, and before they knew it, the sky was already getting bright.

When they saw the first light of dawn on the horizon, they smiled at each other.

The new year had arrived.


1 Comment

  1. Aprillen says:

    Thank you for the chapter!

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