Chapter 6 Back to the Time of Graduation

Stone pot chicken.

The famous Tibetan dish—the soul of Motuo—had to be eaten at every meal.

Stone pot chicken was made using a mica stone pot. The older the pot, the better. Not only would stone pot chicken be a very distinctive dish, but the key raw ingredient was palm ginseng, which was very healthy. I figured many people would like it.

When Fatty came back, he felt that it was a good idea and said, “Not bad, not bad.” He immediately called Motuo and asked the boss he knew to buy some of those stone pots. In fact, we could use the same method to cook fish and shrimp and create a series of stone pot dishes.

So, in that way, stone pot chicken had been decided as our restaurant’s signature dish. Now we needed to decide on a name for our farmhouse, but it had to fit our famous dish. Maybe something like, “Stone Pot Forest?”

Fatty looked at me and made a face that seemed to say, “What?” Then he said, “It sounds like a shop opened by Guo Donglin (1). Don’t you want it to sound a little more serious?”

“Then what’s your idea?”

“It’s better to call it Stone Pot King,” Fatty said. “It sounds very domineering.”

“Then you might as well call it Stone Pot Tyrant,” I retorted. “Let other people think that you’re the boss.”

“Or maybe it’s better to call it Stone Pot Tyrannosaurus Rex,” Fatty said. “That way it can also attract children.”

I washed my face and said to myself, don’t be ridiculous. You might as well call it Stone Pot Tyrannosaurus Rex Dragon Back Back Brace Bollywood Crow Cries in the Snow. (2)

Now we were going to take on the name of a random collection company that handled the industrial and commercial side of things. It was called Xilaimian Catering Company, Ltd. The main reason for this was because I slept well here, didn’t dream too much, and it was convenient (3). I figured this was what it would be in the future. Most things like names seemed to follow this kind of arrangement.

Xilai Stone Pot Farmhouse…yeah, that would probably be it.

I felt a lot more comfortable soaking in the bath now that I had a direction in my heart. I wouldn’t be tired even if I worked hard, and I could really enjoy my rest.

“The land’s so big, what are we going to do with the rest of it?” Fatty asked me.

I actually had a few ideas in mind, so I got up and showed him a stack of papers I had set off to the side earlier.

“What’s this?”

“My graduation project,” I said. “I want to build a house on that piece of land.”

“You can build a house?”

“Mm-hmm,” I said while secretly thinking, what nonsense is this? Do you really think all I can do is destroy stuff? Do you not know what I majored in?

Fatty flipped through my graduation project and said, “It’s very beautiful. So you’re planning to build an old-style house and courtyard using a bunch of elements from the Tang Dynasty?”

“It’s just a reference. This one may not necessarily be used. I just pieced together everything that looked good at the time. Now I need to focus on the functional aspects and make some adjustments. Not everything needs to be made of wood. Cement can also be used.”

“You graduated so long ago, and all you’ve done is be a shop owner and a thief. Are you sure you even remember what you learned back then? This thing will collapse if it’s not built well.”

“I remember.” I looked out of the window and said to myself, I reinforced all of the village houses here. In fact, don’t these window sills and grilles look so beautiful because I brought back the construction waste from the old ancestral temple’s demolition and used them for decoration? These corbels, these carved beams, and this house all look good because of me. And what about this bathtub that you’re soaking in? Do you think it’s easy to make such a big bath out of wood and yellow mud? This is ancient bath technology.

Of course, it took a lot of energy to build a house from the ground up. I still needed to review everything and consult with many of my old classmates.

“This fat master will also help you.” Fatty looked extremely pleased. “Living in such a house would be just like living in a tomb every day. It’ll be familiar.”

“It will be quieter when it rains and snows.”

“Outside is the farmhouse and inside is the clubhouse. It’s perfect.”

“Maybe you should build one yourself. Why does it seem like we aren’t able to hear the sound of the rain and snow after you moved in? All we can hear is your snoring.”

“Then the three of us will each build one ourselves.” Fatty hooked his arm around Poker-Face’s shoulder. “Once the houses are built, we’ll even invite Black Glasses over and let him huff and puff with that mouth of his to see which one he can blow down.”

I laughed. This was the best joke today. Were we the three little pigs? Then who was Little Red Riding Hood? But I didn’t want to build a small house. Since I had so many friends, I needed a large living room, a courtyard where I could watch the rain, and a high loft where Poker-Face could watch the scenery and enjoy the sun. Of course, there should also be a big kitchen so that Fatty could have a few more stoves.

I especially wanted a charcoal pit in the house so that we could place chestnuts and corn beside it while we sat around drinking hot wine.

When I was studying in those days, I had felt that I would build a small house in the future when I became rich. Then I entered society and was tortured and confused by everything that was going on. Now, I actually understood that it wasn’t necessary to rely on money to make something really enjoyable for myself.

If you really wanted it, you just had to do it.

“Do you think you could’ve been an architect if you hadn’t entered this business?” Fatty asked as he continued flipping through my graduation project.

“Ah, it’s not too late to be an architect. But if I did it at that time, then I wouldn’t have met you guys.” I reached out and caught a few snowflakes. “Since I’m doing it now, let’s do it together. We’ll start with laying the bricks down. You guys can’t get away with it.”

I looked at Poker-Face. He was in the same position, but he was also looking at my graduation project in Fatty’s hands. I was a little curious about his evaluation, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he just looked at the cornice outside the window, which was crooked (I never knew how to do those well). I had hung a wind chime on it that was now shaking slightly.

The road ahead was a long one.

<Chapter 5><Table of Contents><Chapter 7>


TN Notes:

(1) Chinese actor and xiangsheng (crosstalk/comic dialogue) performer who is notable for his sketch comedy routines. Info here.

(2) Yeah, it’s basically gibberish lol. Tiffany said Wu Xie felt that Fatty was trying to put compound words together because he took the “Tyran” from Tyrant and said Tyrannosaurus. So, Wu Xie just started listing random compound words in Chinese: 霸王龙 (T-Rex) 龙脊背 (Dragon Back) 脊背背 (Back Braces) 宝莱坞 (Bollywood) 乌啼霜满天 (Crow Cries in the Snow). That crow one is from a poem (baidu link here), but Wu Xie only said that because the words 坞 and 乌 pronounce similar.

(3) Xilaimian can mean something like peaceful/enjoyable sleep



5 thoughts on “Chapter 6 Back to the Time of Graduation

  1. I laughed so much!!! “Then the three of us will each build one ourselves.” Fatty hooked his arm around Poker-Face’s shoulder. “It’s decided. We’ll even invite Black Glasses over and let him huff and puff with that mouth of his to see which one he can blow down.” I agree for Su Wan as Little Red Riding Hood 🙂


  2. I vote for Xiao Hua as the little red riding hood. Su wan… He’s also a good choice. Anyway, I have a restaurant name suggestion. Inspired none other than, the ultimate HAHAHAHA. “The Ultimate Stone Pot House”


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