Chapter 40 – Rice
Zhao Hai was in a state of ‘WTF’. It was the first time he had ever seen someone eating rice in such a way. Although this rice wasn’t the kind that had been the one from paddy fields, it was similar. When Zhao Hai thought about those white, fragrant and large grains of rice being treated like this, he felt like he was about to break down.
He now knew why Maylin wouldn’t make him rice. He feared that these people didn’t even know how to make rice from the start. Rice prepared this way would never be delicious for sure, so it would only be fed to the slaves on the continent.
Zhao Hai then happened to see a stove that had just been lit, with a pot that hadn’t had oil poured in it. He couldn’t bear it as he walked towards it in a hurry and called out to a female slave who was about to pour oil into it, “Wait, don’t pour the oil first.”
The female slave thought she had done something wrong, and she knelt down immediately, “Please grant punishment, master.”
Zhao Hai was stunned from this, but he soon regained his composure and shook his head, “I’m not blaming you. Just listen to me now. Don’t pour oil into the pot first. Use a basin to wash the rice first. From the look of this pot, it should be able to take in about this basin’s amount of rice. Wash it clean, dump the water, and then put the rice into the pot.” Zhao Hai took out a bronze basin as he talked.
The female slave didn’t know what Zhao Hai was going to do, but she immediately took the bronze basin from Zhao Hai and filled it with rice before washing it at the spring. She then poured the washed rice into the pot.
Zhao Hai added, “Half of the pot has just been filled with rice. You go ahead and put a matching amount of water into the pot.” The female slave obeyed his words, filled the basin with water and poured it into the pot. Zhao Hai let the slave pour another basin of water into the pot, and the pot was about to get full. He then let the slave pour in a bowl of water, and then bring out a larger basin from the storage to cover the pot. After that, he let the slave light a fire under the pot.
What Zhao Hai wanted to do was make them cooked rice, which was actually very simple to make. Back when he had lived on Earth, he had lived alone, so he was very skilled in making rice. The ratio of rice and water was around 1:2. A single kilo of rice would need about 2 kilos of water. However, for this type of pot, more water was needed, because it was heated by firewood. This kind of fire would burn indirectly, so Zhao Hai intentionally added an extra bowl of water and didn’t let the slave raise a large fire. The pot was just heated at a consistent burning pace.
Meg and the others were seemingly looking at Zhao Hai. They had used water to cook rice before, but they had treated rice as a type of vegetable, and an ingredient for soups instead of a main course, so they had never seen what cooked rice was like.
It didn’t take too long for the rice to be cooked, as the aroma of rice soon came out of the pot. Rice in this world had never been grown with farm agents and chemical fertilizers, so the smell of it was exceptionally great.
Slaves had bowls when they ate their meals, but the bowls they had were wooden ones. Other than that, everyone only had a wooden spoon, but it was enough for them.
10 people per stove, a wooden bowl, a wooden spoon and a wooden cup per person, these were all of the slaves’ possessions. Even so, they felt very happy, for these were things they had never had before.
Just when Zhao Hai was paying attention to that pot of rice, Maylin came out of the hut and asked him, “Young master, come with me. How can we start a fire with the things in the kitchen?”
Zhao Hai did a double take before following Maylin into the hut. He hadn’t paid attention to the kitchen, so when he did so right now, he went ‘Great Scott!’ in his mind. The things in the kitchen were actually electrical appliances. Rice cooker, pancake maker, electric stove, all of the things here were electricity-powered. What made Zhao Hai speechless to the greatest extent was that it was impossible to tell where their wires were connected to. Every wire was plugged in within the grass hut’s walls. Other than the power switches, there were nothing else.
However, Zhao Hai knew how to use all of these things. He was speechless for another moment when he saw what Maylin was trying to make. He thought ‘darn it’ as he had assumed that Maylin wanted to make scrambled dough, but no. Maylin actually wanted to make something more open: a pizza.
But obviously, this pizza was not the same as the pizzas he had seen before on Earth. It was far from as beautiful, as the dough had simply been rolled into a flat shape, and the vegetables and ham had been placed on top of it.
Zhao Hai felt hopeless about this. He had hailed from China, whose cuisines were famed throughout the world. He had never eaten a ‘normal’ meal ever since he had come to this world. Today, it was going to be something that was neither pizza nor dough.
However, Zhao Hai still told Maylin about the usage of the appliances. As they were all powered by electricity, they were much more handy. Maylin knew about them after a single explanation.
Zhao Hai didn’t stay in the kitchen after seeing that Maylin knew how to use the kitchen appliances. He walked out of the kitchen, and smelled that the rice which he had instructed to cook had become so fragrant, it was irresistible.
Meg immediately walked towards Zhao Hai and spoke, “Young master, this is such a nice smell. How did you do it?”
Zhao Hai laughed, “Didn’t you see it? It’s rice with water added. Actually, rice has a flavor of its own. Just add a suitable amount of water, and it becomes possible to make it soft and delicious. Much better than frying it directly. Then use the oil and vegetables to make a soup, and we can have a nice meal. It’s much better than what they’re doing right now.”
Maylin looked at Zhao Hai with a face full of admiration, “Young master knows so much. How incredible~”
Zhao Hai couldn’t help but blush. He didn’t know so much. This was something every Chinese person would know, yet in here, it had become his merit.
Zhao Hai listened for the sound from the pot, and thought that it was almost ready. He picked up a corn stalk to push off the basin on top of the pot. When the basin fell down with a sound, a wave of heated vapor surged from the pot, which made Zhao Hai move backwards. What came after the heated vapor was a thicker aroma of rice. It was too fragrant when compared to the rice he had eaten back on Earth. He couldn’t help himself from salivating.
After the heated vapor dispersed, the rice inside the pot was revealed. It wasn’t white as he had imagined it would be, but slightly yellow. It looked like it was glazed, and the smell was greater up close.
Zhao Hai couldn’t help himself as he used a spoon to scoop up some of the rice and put it into his mouth. Meg was going to stop him, but Zhao Hai was too quick. By the time she tried, Zhao Hai had already put the rice into his mouth. Everyone just stared at him.
Zhao Hai felt a wave of the rice’s fragrance which filled his mouth instantly. He chewed it and discovered that it was very chewy, soft and delicious. He closed his eyes and slowly gulped it down. When he opened his eyes and saw that everyone was looking at him, he spoke out in embarrassment, “Don’t just look at me. Eat up. If everyone doesn’t find the fried rice delectable, then don’t eat it. Just make another pot like this one.”
The slaves didn’t act immediately. He knew from their hesitant looks that the slaves wouldn’t make any funny moves because of his presence. He smiled and spoke to Meg, “Let’s go into the hut, Meg. There’s still some rice. If they don’t like it fried, they just have to make it again.”
Meg was clever, so she knew what Zhao Hai meant in an instant. She nodded, “Alright, young master. Let’s see how granny Maylin is doing.”
Zhao Hai couldn’t help himself from smiling. Now he liked this lady who was understanding, gentle and kind, more and more. The 2 of them dragged Blockhead and Rockhead into the grass hut.
Ju and An didn’t follow them, as they too wanted to stay outside and see how delicious the rice really was. After Zhao Hai and Meg entered the hut, the slaves immediately circled the pot and had a mouthful of rice, one after another. It didn’t take long for the pot of rice to be emptied, and everyone praised its taste as they ate.
After the pot of rice was eaten up, the slaves looked at each other and then dumped all of the rice in the other pots. They then put new rice into them and started cooking it the same way which Zhao Hai had instructed.
In the pot which the rice was first cooked, a thick layer of rice crust remained inside it. It was something they had never seen before. A slave picked up a scab of it out of curiosity. The smell of it was much more tempting. He couldn’t resist taking a bite of it.
With that bite, his eyes sparkled, and then took another bite. These pots weren’t small, so the there was a lot of crust left. It was like a small shield that couldn’t be finished off by a single person. That slave shared the rice crust with others, and they had their fill before another pot of rice was cooked.
Zhao Hai and the others were actually peeking at the slaves from the hut. When he saw that the slaves were beginning to cook rice on their own, Zhao Hai walked out and spoke to the slaves, “7 pots of rice is about enough for everyone. Use the other 3 pots to make soup. When the rice is ready, the soup will be too. Everyone can eat rice and vegetables that way.”
The slaves knew that he had been watching them, and they felt somewhat embarrassed. However, they quickly did as Zhao Hai said. They were utterly impressed by and grateful to their master.
A lot of them had cried when eating the rice, as they had never eaten something so delicious before. Even their family members had never eaten such a thing. They had become very worked up over this.