The heartbeat at the tip of the tongue (舌尖上的心跳) Chapter 22

Hawthorn ice cream

In the past, her understanding towards the western cuisine was steak, borsch or some cream soup, and some kind of salad and cream cakes, but she realised now, everything wasn’t as simple as she had thought.

A few minutes later, the quail was taken out, it was still emitting steam.

The two fragrant smells blended together, and Jiang Qian Fan was again adding some other ingredients.

With the final transfer to the plate, it totally looked like a piece of art in the museum. In the past, Lin Ke Song did not understand why in pictures of western food, there needed to be such a large plate for such a tiny portion of food, but as she saw everything before her eyes, she suddenly came to an understanding.

The expanse of the whiteness directed your attention, and there was even a margin of beauty. The imagination knew no bounds on the blank parts of the plate, and went deep into the depths of the brain.

At the final and last step, Jiang Qian Fan lifted his wrist, and drizzled a spoonful of an unknown pale yellow liquid over the quail.

His wrist moved gently, like he was sketching the most beautiful picture.

“This is today’s main course, quail foie gras.” Mayer explained to Lin Ke Song, “this dish, is common in many fine dining restaurants, but Representative Thomas has a special liking for this particular dish of Mr Jiang.”

Lin Ke Song doesn’t know how other restaurants will prepare the particular dish, but she was at the side and had witnessed the whole cooking process, rigorous and sophisticated, whether it was the final transfer or the overflowing aroma, all made her cheeks sore with sourness, with the impulse to take a bite.

“Next, is the last dish, the dessert. It is the ending, and if it winds up everything properly, it would be a memorable memory to look back on. But if the dessert is not prepared perfectly, the delicious flavours of the previous dishes will be drowned by a moment’s failure.”

Lin Ke Song gazed upon Jiang Qian Fan’s back, constantly thinking and using her imagination, just what would the dessert be?

Will it be a savoury mousse cake? Or soufflé? Or a refreshing ice cream?

But what Lin Ke Song couldn’t have imagined was, that Jiang Qian Fan would actually start cooking sugar, the white sugar that had been boiled in the pot turned a reddish brown, then he raised his hand, and added a little something, and it was like the sweet fragrance suddenly exploded.

Brody retrieved a sealed container from the fridge, and when it lifted the lid, she realised that there were balls and balls of hawthorn.

Does Jiang Qian Fan want to make candied haw?

It can’t be ah…… didn’t he think that candied haw was sour and astringent and not suited to his aesthetic?

Just as Lin Ke Song was doubting, Jiang Qian Fan had already scooped up some hawthorn and swiftly swept it thorough the simmering sugar syrup, plated them, took up a spoon, tasted them and gave a nod.

Brody brought a dining plate over, used a brush to pick up some sugar syrup, and constantly drizzled the syrup in circles around the hawthorns that were piled like a hill, the syrup quickly cooled and hardened, and formed a nest like shape in the end. It was crystal clear and it made people feel reluctant to break it.

Lin Ke Song inhaled, she had a feeling, that the dish looked like candied haw, but Jiang Qian Fan must’ve made some improvements, to make the level of sourness and sweetness match.

The dish was sent out, Brody and Jiang Qian Fan started cleaning up the kitchen.

Jiang Qian Fan’s hands were very agile, within three minutes, the countertop was clean and bright. He then stroked the surface with his finger, to make sure that the table top was clean without and stains, and he began to wash his hands.

A few minutes later, the telephone of the back kitchen rang, the lobby manager telling Jiang Qian Fan that Representative Thomas wanted to meet him, because of the dessert at the end.

Lin Ke Song started getting nervous. What’s wrong with the last dessert? Is it because it’s too sour? Or that it was too bitter?

Didn’t Jiang Qian Fan taste the hawthorn? He didn’t like the taste, but why did he still use the hawthorn to make a dessert for Representative Thomas?

“Brody, let’s go.”

“Very well.”

Jiang Qian Fan walked out of the kitchen, the cane in his hand unopened. Brody walked in front of Jiang Qian Fan, and Jiang Qian Fan put his palm on Brody’s shoulder, letting Brody guide his path.

This was only a simple action, but Lin Ke Song could feel the trust Jiang Qian Fan had towards Brody.

Mayer looked towards Lin Ke Song and nodded, indicating that she should follow Jiang Qian Fan.

When they arrived at the table of Representative Thomas and his friend, the both of them gave a standing ovation.

“Every time I come to this place, apart from the high quality that never changes, there is always an unexpected surprise.” Representative Thomas’s eyes held unhidden praise for Jiang Qian Fan.

His friend was in agreement: “especially the dessert at the end, I’d never expect you to use this sour fruit to make such a unique dessert, to stuff the hawthorn with vanilla ice cream, is so ingenious.”

Lin Ke Song was stunned, even though they are saying everything in English, but she believes that she has heard that there was ice cream within the hawthorn!

How did Jiang Qian Fan manage to fit it into such a small hawthorn?

After the representative and Jiang Qian Fan shared a hug, he left with his friend very satisfied.

Even with this kind of elite praise, Jiang Qian Fan faced it with a calm attitude, neither sad nor happy.

He indifferently turned around, and said to Lin Ke Song: “Come with me.”

Lin Ke Song’s nerves jumped, and she inexplicably started feeling nervous.

Mayer nodded towards her, like he was comforting her: it’s no big deal, go ahead.

Brody went back to the kitchen, and Jiang Qian Fan went upstairs.

As his feet stepped on the wooden floor, they creaked softly, and Lin Ke Song’s heart beat starter beating along.

When he turned around on the stairs, Lin Ke Song hurried to catch up. Her left foot stepped on the round bend at the corner of the narrow stairs, and her body shook, almost losing her balance, but Jiang Qian Fan was standing at the end of the stairs and he turned around: “What are you doing?”

The cold voice moved from the top of her head down, Lin Ke Song’s body that had just barely regained the balanced lost its centre of gravity again, and fell forwards.

Her forehead almost hit the steps, one hand quickly grabbing on to the staircase’s handrail, and survived.

“You don’t have to bow to me so formally.”

Jiang Qian Fan finished saying and turned around to continue walking.

Lin Ke Song got herself up, and could not figure out whether he was serious or not, or maybe he was mocking her? Does this count as her creeping at the bottom of the chef’s suit?

If Song Yi Ran knew about it, the fellow would definitely gloat and say: to die at the suit pants of a male god, it’d feel so good even if you lost everything ah!

When she caught up to Jiang Qian Fan, she realised that they were at the attic of the restaurant.

The attic had a dining table, decorated with white tablecloths, a conical bowl of water that had a single little water lily floating at the surface, triangular floor to ceiling windows at her side, with the view of the hustling and bustling Manhattan.

There were no other excessive decorations, but Lin Ke Song explicably felt that she was in another world.

“Sit.” Jiang Qian Fan folded his cane, and put it at the side.

Lin Ke Song then remembered, it’s already two in the afternoon, she and Jiang Qian Fan haven’t had lunch yet.

A waiter carrying a tray came up carrying a tray, and very politely placed two sets of soup in front of Jiang Qian Fan and Lin Ke Song.

Lin Ke Song was stunned, does this mean that she is going to be able to enjoy the same treatment as the representative?

“Lin Ke Song, what does food mean to you?”

Jiang Qian Fan asked before Lin Ke Song could pick up her spoon.

“Food……”

How should she answer this question?

“You only need to say the most honest thought you have in mind.”

Even though that is what you say, but as your student how can I casually answer it?

Lin Ke Song took a full minute to think, her mind constantly searching sieving through the different introductions of different food shows and magazines, but it’s too bad that she watched too little of this type of shows, there was nothing of use in her mind.

But the Jiang Qian Fan in front of her seemed to have lots of patience, no matter how long Lin Ke Song took to think, he was willing to wait. But Lin Ke Song couldn’t make him wait forever.

“If it’s food, then the first thing is, to fill a stomach ba.” Lin Ke Song thought this answer was a bit tacky.

“En, that’s a fact. And?”

“And…… a kind of enjoyment? Tasting good food will make people feel happy, eating with family, friends and even a person you like is a form of communication…… and ……”

Lin Ke Song leaned back against the back of the seat, her heart lamenting about Song Yi Ran that articulate guy, would have already have answered about food being like diamonds and gold, touching hearts with a face full of sincerity.

While Lin Ke Song has never been good at composition writing ah!

Jiang Qian Fan continued making things difficult for her, and asked: “do you know what food is to a foodie or a chef?”

“Work of art?”

“That’s right, they are works of art. An artist’s materials are the canvas and paint, a musician’s material is the note, and our material is all the flavours and edible things of this world. It is not simply a mixture of different ingredients, but more of the balance and integration of flavours, it is the exploration and exhibitions of the laws of the world.”

Jiang Qian Fan’s voice was peaceful, like the cool spring water flowing through gravel, meandering between the mountains and finally silently entering the ocean.

If someone else had said those words, Lin Ke Song would have scoffed and replied: Faker.

But when Jiang Qian Fan had said those words, there was some kind of persuasion.

“So, no matter how the people in the place you grew up perceived chefs, right here, every chef is an artist.”

Lin Ke Song pursed her lips, in that moment, she felt shame.

Because in her heart, no matter how delicious a food was, it was only a superficial experience, which in the end it would be offered to the toilet.

She had only treated food as food, apart from the subtleties of every dish and every taste, she had never felt in detail. Including every dish that Uncle Lin Feng had personally cooked for her, including Grandma Wang’s fired liver, and the smelly tofu in front of her school. To make all these delicious foods, the ones who prepare them have put in much efforts and hard work.

“Today, you will try the four dishes that Representative Thomas had here. The first dish is mint soup. I hope that apart from filling your stomach, you’d be able to distinguish the levels of flavours. What ingredients are in each level of taste. How the ingredients in each level was prepared and used to make this dish become ‘good’.”

“Ah……” Lin Ke Song lowered her head and looked at the soup in front of her, and suddenly felt a mountain of pressure.

“Come on.” Jiang Qian Fan had already lowered his head, scooped up a spoonful of soup and spooned it into his mouth.

Distinguishing the ingredients may be a trivial and easy task to him, but to Lin Ke Song…… she feel it’s like the highest level of martial arts in a wuxia novel.

11 thoughts on “The heartbeat at the tip of the tongue (舌尖上的心跳) Chapter 22

  1. Thanks for the chapter. I see so clearly the picture of the novice trailing behind the master. Bewildered and ignorant and innocent, too. It is a good thing he didn’t hear her thought about all food ultimately ending in the toilet. Somehow I don’t think he would have appreciated it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oops…I will definitely fail JQF’s expectation, can only momentarily enjoy my food superficial experience.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s