Chapter 107: Birthday Banquet Day
Translated by Gumihou
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“Just because I didn’t say anything doesn’t mean I haven’t been preparing. I’ve already asked for leave, I won’t be going to court from tomorrow onwards until grandmother’s birthday.” said Duan Tingxuan absently as he looked up the sky, his heart already flown all the way to Spring Breeze Court’s little kitchen.
“Hehe, surely you don’t have to be so serious about it? Though you’re a man of talent, there are plenty of people in the mansion to organize this banquet. Surely you don’t have to personally oversee matters? Moreover, this should be an inner court matter.” Jiang Changjing said cheerfully.
Duan Tingxuan said, “Who said I have anything to do with the inner court matters? Nuan Nuan wants to give grandmother a memorable birthday banquet. So, I’ve been tasked to source out some special ingredients; that’s why I’ll be busy these next two days. Also, I must help her make a large amount of Cream the day before the banquet.”
“Cream? What’s that?” Jiang Changning immediately sat up in attention. His sensitive nose for unusual and intriguing facts triggered, he immediately knew that this was a good candidate for his book of <<Weird & Wonderful Records>>.
“That Snow Cream you’re eating now is made from Cream. Why do you think the texture is so soft, smooth and fragrant?” Duan Tingxuan smiled, recalling how Su Nuan Nuan had specifically mentioned that she wanted to gift this to old madam on her birthday. His heart throbbed at a sudden prickle of emotion and he muttered, “Nuan Nuan said that she plans to make something extra special on old madam’s birthday. Birthday gifts aside, the menu was also unspeakably… I must say, the dishes are incredibly fragrant, exquisitely textured and exceptionally… no, no, let’s not talk about it anymore. I’m about to drool… Wu! Since there’s nothing else for me to do here, I shall take my leave. Your highnesses, do excuse me. I must go home and receive Nuan Nuan’s complaints. If I’m lucky, I might even score some midnight snacks.”
“Just look at you, all mature now.” the princes all laughed at him. Duan Tingxuan laughed too, “What maturity? This is called happiness, you people can only look on jealously, hahaha!”
At his unselfconscious laughter, the princes exchanged looks with each other for a long while. Finally, the fourth prince muttered, “He seems to have a point.”
“That’s right, ah!” the crown prince sighed, his nostrils flaring as he grumbled. “It makes me angry just thinking about it.”
“That’s right, we’re all princes here, and brother is the crown prince. How could all the luck in the family flow into this shameful person? The gods surely loved him too much.” second prince was unhappy too. As Duan Tingxuan had said, they were all jealous of him.
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26th June xx year. It was the day of An Ping Marquis’ Old Madam Fang’s 68th birthday.
That morning, before the first rays of sun came out, Su Nuan Nuan was already up. First, she visited the kitchen and saw Ms. Xue and a dozen other kitchen hands rushing about in the large kitchen. Though it looked rather exciting and lively, there was an order to their movements. One after another, all kinds of ingredients were being brought out from the back.
Catching sight of Su Nuan Nuan, Ms. Xue quickly came forward with a smile and said, “Madam, please be at ease. This one has everything under control. Aside from the four special dishes from your personal recipe, the rest of the dishes here will be taken care of by chefs hired from famous restaurants. Swallow House’s Chef Cao is especially capable with noble dishes using expensive ingredients. He should be able to execute those first four valuable dishes well. I shall personally handle madam’s special recipes”
Su Nuan Nuan said, “I’m not worried, you’re better than me when it comes to coordinating the workers. Since everything is being handled so well here, I shall go and look after my own kitchen. The lord actually asked after the birthday presents this morning, and nearly panicked when he heard that I haven’t started on them yet.”
Ms. Xue laughed, “Yes, yes, yes, first madam, please leave everything here to me. My only worry is that Madam Yun might come over to critique my work. Well, I shall strive to ease her heart and make sure everything is ready for her inspection.”
Su Nuan Nuan looked at her with some astonishment, before laughing out loud, “I’m not sure whether you’re being sincere or sarcastic now.”
Ms. Xue, “Naturally, this one is perfectly sincere. To be honest, this one is a little resentful after Madam Yun banished this one to the laundry house for no reason. It’s clear that she was just searching for bones inside an egg. If this one really had been in the wrong, how could this one just kept quiet all this while? There’s no benefit for this one to stay silent.”
Beside them, Hong Lian laughed and said, “To be fair, I doubted sister’s ability to handle the birthday banquet. However, now that I’ve seen your abilities, I now realize why Missy favours you. Missy, you certainly have an eye for good people.”
Ms. Xue was happy too, “That’s right, when this one was at the laundry house, it was the memory of madam’s forbearance and strong nature that kept this one going.”
“Alright, alright, that’s enough flattery from you. What’s the time now? Still have time for all this nonsense? Whatever, you do your thing, Ms. Xue. I need to go back and work on my part too.” Su Nuan Nuan laughed as she good naturedly slapped Ms. Xue on the shoulder before leaving with Hong Lian.
On the way, Hong Lian sighed, “Ms. Xue used to be such a snobby character, for her to become like this is surely thanks to Missy’s great influence.”
Su Nuan Nuan smirked, “Rivers and mountains can be moved, but a man’s character is difficult to change. Ms. Xue’s character is not at all bad, which is why she could tell right from wrong. In the past, she had to adapt to the current environment in order to survive and climb the ranks, her snobbish behaviour was probably just a front. People who could adapt to situations are the smartest.”
As they chatted together, Spring Breeze Court soon appeared in front of them. They stepped past the threshold and saw Duan Xinqi sitting in the courtyard with Zhao Cai in her lap. She was absently stroking the luxurious fur when she caught sight of them and jumped up, “Sister-in-law is back? Concubine mother had gone over to old madam and elder madam’s place. Since I have nothing to do, I thought I’d come over see if sister-in-law needs any help.”
Su Nuan Nuan smiled back, “That’s good, I am in need of helping hands today. Have you had breakfast?”
Duan Xinqi grinned cheekily, “Knowing that I will be coming here, wouldn’t it be silly to have breakfast first? I had nothing at all. Also, I’ve had Xue’er bring my clothes over. When it’s time, I shall change into my clothes here and go to the banquet with you.”
Su Nuan Nuan nodded, “I see, well, let’s go to the kitchen first. Your brother got here earlier than you, he specifically said to wait for him before I start breakfast.” They entered the house, and Su Nuan Nuan spotted Duan Xinqi’s new clothes and asked her to put it on. The dress was a gentle goose yellow colour, made of thin satin and decorated with embroidered birds and flowers. Su Nuan Nuan nodded approvingly, “Not bad, only young girls like you can wear such bright colours. Hmm, but your silver hair pins don’t match the dress. Hold on, a few days ago your brother gave me this hairpin decorated with rubies. Let’s see how it would look.”
“A ruby hairpin?” Duan Xinqu shook her head frantically, “that’s too precious for the likes of me, especially since it’s a gift from brother to sister-in-law.”
“What’s the fuss?” Su Nuan Nuan laughed. “Where’s that thick face when you beg food from me? Where has that face gone now?” In fact, she knew that Duan Xinqi had always acted appropriately, though she playfully pestered Su Nuan Nuan now and then for good things to eat, the girl never asked for cloth, accessories or money from her. Those was all freely given to her by Su Nuan Nuan.
Moreover, Concubine Lin would often send some small gifts her way every two or three days. Though it was all things of little value, such as embroidered money pouches, embroidered handkerchiefs and handmade shoes, they were all beautifully made and sincerely given. This caused Su Nuan Nuan to look favourably upon this branch of mother and children.
[Gumihou: Well, it’s the day of the banquet~ Also, Duan Xinqi is so cute~]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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