For the next two days, Luo Wencheng stayed in the villa, painting, reading and teasing the cat. Unsurprisingly, Luo Wenhao came, and came for two consecutive days, but Luo Wencheng never met with him.
On the third day, Uncle Ding, the butler, came back with something in his hands: “Mr. Luo, Luo Wenhao sent this and asked me to make sure to give it to you.”
Luo Wencheng saw that it was two invitations. When he opened them, it turned out that he was invited to a reception banquet in Lu Chong’s honour tomorrow night.
The other one was for Lu Chong, the honourable guest.
“A reception banquet? Will Mr. Lu go there?”
“That would be something to ask Master.”
Lu Chong was going out every afternoon for the past two days. Luo Wencheng was inexperienced and if he followed, he would just be a hindrance, so he stayed quietly at home. Moreover, he could see that Lu Chong was not in a good mood every time he went out and came back, and he didn’t want to annoy him.
“Then let’s talk about it when Mr. Lu comes back, I’ll do as he says.”
Uncle Ding cheerfully put away the invitations: “Master thinks highly of Mr. Luo. It is the first time in so many years that Lao Ding has seen Master take anyone in and keep at home to protect him.”
Luo Wencheng showed a hint of shyness and gratitude: “Mr. Lu is a good man. By the way, Uncle Ding, don’t call me Mr. Luo, just call me Wencheng or Xiao Luo.”
“Then I’ll call you Xiao Luo. Alas, Master doesn’t like to eat when he comes back these days, and it’s useless to persuade him. So sad.”
Luo Wencheng put away the book in his hand and asked in surprise, “Hasn’t he eaten? When I asked him, he said he had eaten outside.”
“That’s for you not to worry. Master rarely eats outside. He always doesn’t like to eat when he is in a bad mood. How can his health stand it?” Uncle Ding looked very concerned.
Luo Wencheng moved his lips and wanted to ask him why Lu Chong was in a bad mood, but in the end he didn’t ask and said, “Can I help? Why don’t I wait for Mr. Lu to come back and try to persuade him?”
He could see that the butler was telling him that for a reason, not because he was someone who liked to gossip; so he probably had an idea how Luo Wencheng could contribute.
Uncle Ding thought to himself that the child was really sensible, not asking questions he shouldn’t ask, and his impression of Luo Wencheng got a little better.
“Can Xiao Luo cook?” Uncle Ding asked.
“You want me to cook for Mr. Lu? I haven’t cooked much, and I don’t know if I can.” Luo Wencheng didn’t say no. The grand gift package was there. Even if he was a beginner in cooking, he wouldn’t do too badly. Moreover, in the past two days, he had nothing to contribute except for feeding and teasing the cat. Living here and eating for nothing was not okay in the long run.
Originally, he reluctantly made plans to warm Lu Chong’s bed, but after two days, he was sure that Lu Chong didn’t have the need in this regard. So the alternative was either to accompany Lu Chong to relieve his boredom, or help Lu Chong with something. He needed a certain position, otherwise he would be dispensable.
And now was an opportunity.
He thought for a while: “What does Mr. Lu usually prefer to eat?”
Uncle Ding said: “There is nothing Master particularly likes or dislikes. He is indifferent to everything, but he prefers to eat noodle soup when he has no appetite.”
Noodles were certainly easier than a dinner of four dishes and soup with a perfect balance of meat and vegetables.
“Why don’t I try? I probably won’t do it well, though.”
“It’s still a token of your appreciation, so Master should give you some face and eat a few more bites.” Uncle Ding was delighted and hurriedly pulled Luo Wencheng towards the kitchen.
The big cat, who was napping on the sofa, also jumped down and followed him, purring.
In the kitchen, the chef was worried about what to make for dinner, but when he found out that Luo Wencheng wanted to help, he welcomed him like a rescue mission and said solicitously, “What kind of noodles does Mr. Luo want to make? There are all the ingredients here, and the dough is also ready.”
Luo Wencheng looked at the different colours and textures of the dough on the board and said, “I’ll just make the simplest ramen, but since I want to express my heart with it, I’d like to start by making the dough myself. But my skills are too rusty, can I learn from the master first?”
“No problem!” The chef agreed eagerly. As long as he didn’t need to worry about today’s dinner, he was happy to let Luo Wencheng do the cooking.
Making noodles naturally started with mixing ingredients.
There was a lot to learn about how much high gluten flour to add, how much yeast to add, how much salt and how much water, how many times and when to add them, and how to knead the dough.
Since Luo Wencheng had to learn, he naturally needed to learn to be the most professional, so he was very serious and focused. He also learned well and quickly, causing the chef to praise him as someone with the potential of a good cook.
It took Luo Wencheng three times to master the technique, and the next step was to learn how to pull noodles.
Sprinkle some oil on the chopping board, cut a piece of the dough, knead and stretch it repeatedly, and when it is almost ready, the real pulling begins.
This is a very technical step. At first, the noodles will be uneven in thickness, or stuck together. But after a few times, you will be able to pull them out in a uniform, pliable and beautiful way.
The final step was the soup stock.
The stock Luo Wencheng made was the most complicated double-steamed stock. First, he made a plain broth, using a free-range hen and high-quality lean pork, boiling them over high heat to remove the foam, then added onion, ginger and wine and changed to low heat, keeping the lid slightly open.
Finally it had to be filtered twice and seasonings were added. Because it was cooked for a long time, it was called “double-steamed stock”. This kind of soup was of the best quality.
Luo Wencheng first made a bowl of noodles for Uncle Ding and the chef to taste. The two of them opened their eyes wide and again and again said it was delicious. Luo Wencheng smiled and tasted it himself. How to put it, it shouldn’t be considered the top delicacy, but eating it made one feel very comfortable. From the inside out, the whole person felt warmed up and refreshed, and all the fatigue and unpleasantness seemed to have disappeared at this moment.
Luo Wencheng thought to himself, the effect of the 20% bonus was extraordinary.
“Master is back!” Uncle Ding, who had gotten the news ahead of time, reported, “Five minutes to arrive.”
Luo Wencheng nodded and quickly started making the ramen. When the noodles came out of the pot, he also added a hand-fried poached egg and chopped spring onions.
He was a little nervous about handing in his homework: “Uncle Ding, please take it over.”
Uncle Ding: “Of course you should deliver the noodles you made. Master has already gone upstairs. He ate only a few sips of porridge in the morning and hasn’t eaten again until now. Go ahead.”
Luo Wencheng took a deep breath, picked up the tray and went upstairs. Ribs grunted and twisted her ass to climb the stairs with him.
The door of Lu Chong’s study was already closed, and Luo Wencheng went over and knocked on it: “Sir?”
“Meow.” Ribs also raised her paw and tapped on the door.
After a while, a low, cold voice came from inside: “Come in.”
Luo Wencheng opened the door and saw the man who had taken off his suit coat and was wearing only a white shirt, sitting behind his desk, massaging his forehead with one hand, his eyes closed. His brows were furrowed and there was a chilling aura lingering on his body, as if he was a lion taking a nap that no one dared to approach.
But Luo Wencheng could see at a glance that he looked a little pale, and thought to himself that Lu Chong really did look like he hadn’t eaten properly all day.
Lu Chong opened his eyes and saw that it was Luo Wencheng. His gaze eased and focused on the tray: “Did Uncle Ding ask you to bring it here? You don’t have to do this as a guest.”
Luo Wencheng said shyly: “Sir, I made this bowl of noodles. It’s my first time cooking noodles and I wanted you to try them.”
“You made it?” Lu Chong was a little surprised.
“Yes ah.” Luo Wencheng put the bowl on the table, opened the lid, and a wonderfully tantalising fragrance wafted out. Ribs jumped onto Lu Chong’s lap, then jumped to the table, squatted down by the noodle bowl and meowed, swatting her tail happily, a pair of round eyes staring at Lu Chong’s face without blinking.